Wednesday, April 15, 2020

the indolent

Nettle-leaved Bellflower (Campanula trachelium). Swindon, 29th March 2020.



first to you            who think yourselves innocent
you the indolent

a heavy burden        you bind to yourselves
heavier than the worst crimes           heavier than the earth can bear

on you the guilt          of all the evil that never was stopped
on you the guilt         of all the good that never was done

a heavy burden               that because of you

the world goes down

Common Gromwell (Lithospermum officinale). Swindon, 29th March 2020.


it's by our own heart           we are forsaken
and below its steep wall       is our camp in the night
we are those who from life       are condemned to living death
thirsting in torpor                   for the springs' water

our arms we clasp hard       round our knees
tense with strain               not with rest
above the wall coping      sway the fresh trees
under their roots         we hear the springs trickle

there our life is                there our soul is
you who come to punish          how will you free us
if you know the way in        then all will be well
but take us from the springs     the desert storm crushes us

bring no crocks          to these hot dry mouths
never shall we lift        our hands to business
never         till we drink from the innermost sources
by the walls of our hearts     we wait to be transformed

Green Hound's-tongue (Cynoglossum germanicum). Swindon, 29th March 2020.


You call, within me echoes
feebly a reply;
but deep in all my dales
is the repugnance, still.

It's something: one only
of all my people,
willing to serve you, o caller,
as your champion and advocate.

But see, I'm scared of violence
in the soul's world
and especially the strong's stupidity,
those who win by the sword.

Let my unnumbered slowly
be healed into one,
thus maybe one day our drop of blood
can answer your call!

How invincible would he be
in simple faith,
who succeeded in knitting together as one
in growing peace.

How powerless from his living skin
the day's dust would fall away.
How powerful his silent gliding
forth from the hurlyburly.

Pignut (Conopodium majus). Swindon, 31st March 2020.


All that is scattered and split apart
longs to be made whole
and yet prays in faithfulness.
You live among us.
Yes, though our doubt has held us bound
you too, Lord, were concealed within.

Seedlings of Green Hound's-tongue (Cynoglossum germanicum). Swindon, 5th April 2020.

A freely rendered extract from Karin Boye's uncompleted cantata The Seven Deadly Sins (De sju dödssynderna), posthumously published in 1941 in the collection of the same name. Probably relevant is the background of an imminent world war, as well as the author's own tormented struggle for integrity.

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