Thursday, July 07, 2016

F O T O, poems 91 - 100

Moon over a distant Indalsälven

[Image source: . Photo by Anders Lundh.]

91. (Indal where we swam)

Trees on a promontory. Around us the great river
massed, penned in by the great dam.

Someone lit a fire here once. We talked quietly
(it was afternoon), ate crisps, prepared to swim.

92. (In the river)

I am in the middle of Indalsälven, and the world.
The huge embrace of water is not clammy, it is complete.

I trod against the suck damwards...  or else I ransacked
the still, big surface; with joy in escaping and in doing it.


93. (Smiling in shadow of the bank)

A double dragonfly crackled in the reeds.
Chest-deep, my toes nibbled at the sloppy stones,

my mind still swimming. How soon to swim back into the light,
and be only my limbs again, local in the horizons!

94. (It’s freezing!)

The breath that ought to be in you is all
flown to the four winds, and you can’t get it back,

climbing in panic water and earning in gasps
a pinch of noise to tell me it needs a shriek.

95. (Sitting in the river horse-fly)

Wet skin looks untouchable, unscented:
the broms-noise stopped. Ouch, you joined the foodchain!

Rueful and laughing, that the broms slapped down so instantly
and got you. You snapped your towel, complaining. 

96. (Reflecting trees and sky)

Dammed up, the river spreads. On its surface
my vision flew back, reversed and crossed with ripples,

the aspens stepping down upon their tops,
the skyline cracked, the sky charged with the invisible.

97. (Flower-wreath on my head)

I am a fool, but picked flowers were always a crown
for tables or for hair. Passed from hand to hand, too.

That was the start of culture, but not those immortal monuments
we have tasted since. Just now, for me and you.  

98. (Playing mouth-organ in hammock)

Why should you, up there in denser and softer darkness,
mother me, bow to me, you childhood trees?

I’ll die with you, I promise. Those who can live with it,
those survivors, may they keep fit on our ashes!

99. (Swinging in hammock)

Adrift... adrift... big bird crisscrossing the moon you seem
a fixture, like the slow grey liverwort on the rock

where I sketched it yesterday. After packing, you slipped out to seem.
But soon, we’ll matter less than your lost sock.

100. (Sunset behind trees)

The sky rustled, smeared by the wind.
In our absence small yellow leaves would spiral;

the train sped through forests, a directory of trees.
We crouched on our bags, amusing a tearful child.


Back-story: Poems 91-97 The walk pauses for a swim in the Indal, just above the dam at Hölleforsen. 98-99 Final evening at the cottage. 100 Departure: the train south (from Sundsvall towards Stockholm).

Poem 98 refers to a poem by Edith Södergran.

When this sequence was written (1998-2002), each poem was linked to one of the 100 photos in a holiday album. Originally, I intended to write the poems into the album itself, like captions. But as time went by the poems became a public art and when I presented them I replaced the photos with brief explanatory titles in brackets. The missing photos, I hoped, would operate as a concealed presence whose form the reader can discern sometimes distinctly, sometimes more faintly.

The images accompanying these 2016 blog posts are unrelated to the original photos: they are taken from current internet sources.


Poems 1 - 10

Poems 11 - 20

Poems 21 - 30

Poems 31 - 40

Poems 41 - 50

Poems 51 - 60

Poems 61 - 70

Poems 71 - 80

Poems 81 - 90

Poems 91 - 100

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