dream seminar / drömseminarium dream seminar, drömseminarium

Poetry Selections

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Memories Look at Me
Translation by Robin Fulton

A June morning, too soon to wake,
too late to fall asleep again.

I must go out-the greenery is dense
with memories, they follow me with their gaze.

They can't be seen, they merge completely into
the background, true chameleons.

They are so close that I can hear them breathe
though the birdsong is deafening.

Minnena ser mig
 

En junimorgon det är för tidigt
att vakna men för sent att somna om.

Jag måste ut i grönskan som är fullsatt
av minnen, och de följer mig med blicken.

De syns inte, de smälter helt ihop
med bakgrunden, perfekta kameleonter.

De är så nära att jag hör dem andas
fast fågelsången är bedövande.

from Den vilda torget I / The Wild Market-square, I (1983)
Madrigal
Translation by Robin Fulton

I inherited a dark wood where I seldom go. But a day will come when the dead and the living change places. The wood will be set in motion. We are not without hope. The most serious crimes will remain unsolved in spite of the efforts of many policemen. In the same way there is somewhere in our lives a great unsolved love. I inherited a dark wood, but today I'm walking in the other wood, the light one. And the living creatures that sing, wriggle, wag, and crawl! It's spring and the air is very strong. I have graduated from the university of oblivion and am as empty-handed as the shirt on the clothesline.

Madrigal
 

Jag ärvde en mörk skog dit jag sällan går. Men det kommer en dag när de döda och levande byter plats. Då sätter sig skogen i rörelse. Vi är inte utan hopp. De svåraste brotten förblir ouppklarade trots insats av många poliser. På samma sätt finns någonstans i våra liv en stor ouppklarad kärlek. Jag ärvde en mörk skog men idag går jag i en annan skog, den ljusa. Allt levande som sjunger slingrar viftar och kryper! Det är vår och luften är mycket stark. Jag har examen från glömskans universitet och är lika tomhänt som skjortan på tvättstrecket.
 

from För levande och döda / For the Living and the Dead (1989)
Further In
Translation by Robin Fulton

On the main road into the city,
When the sun is low.
The traffic thickens, crawls.
It is a sluggish dragon glittering.
I am one of the dragon's scales.
Suddenly the red sun is
right in the middle of the windshield
streaming in.
I am transparent
and writing becomes visible
inside me
words in invisible ink
that appear
when the paper is held to the fire!
I know I must get far away
straight through the city and then
further until it is time to go out
and walk far in the forest.
Walk in the footprints of the badger.
It gets dark, difficult to see.
In there on the moss lie stones.
One of the stones is precious.
It can change everything
it can make the darkness shine.
It is a switch for the whole country.
Everything depends on it.
Look at it, touch it...

Längre in
 

På stora infarten till staden
då solen står lågt.
Trafiken tätnar, kryper.
Den är en trög drake som glittrar.
Jag är ett av drakens fjäll.
Plötsligt är den röda solen
mitt framför vindrutan
och strömmar in.
Jag är genomlyst
och en skrift blir synlig
inne i mig
ord med osynligt bläck
som framträder
då papperet hålls över elden!
Jag vet att jag måste långt bort
tvärs genom staden och sedan
vidare, tills det är dags att gå ur
och vandra länge i skogen.
Gå i grävlingens fotspår.
Det blir mörkt, svårt att se.
Där, på mossan, ligger stenar.
En av de stenarna är dyrbar.
Den kan förvandla allt
den kan få mörkret att lysa.
Den är en strömbrytare för hela landet.
Allting hänger på den.
Se den, röra vid den...

from Stigar / Paths (1973)
Lament
Translation by Robin Fulton

He laid aside his pen.
It rests still on the table.
It rests still in the empty room.
He laid aside his pen.

Too much that can neither be written nor kept silent!
He is paralyzed by something happening far away
although the wonderful traveling bag throbs like a heart.

Outside it is early summer.
Whistlings from the greenery-men or birds?
And cherry trees in bloom embrace the lorries that have come home.

Weeks go by.
Night comes slowly.
The moths settle on the windowpane:
small pale telegrams from the world.

Lamento
 

Han lade ifrån sig pennan.
Den vilar stilla på bordet.
Den vilar stilla i tomrummet.
Han lade ifrån sig pennan.

För mycket som varken kan skrivas eller förtigas!
Han är lamslagen av något som händer långt borta
fast den underbara kappsäcken dunkar som ett hjärta.

Utanför är försommaren.
Från grönskan kommer visslingar–människor eller fåglar?
Och körsbärsträd i blom klappar om lastbilarna som kommit hem.

Det går veckor.
Det blir långsamt natt.
Malarna sätter sig på rutan:
små bleka telegram från världen.

from Den halvfärdiga himlen, V / The Half-finished Heaven, V (1962)
Fire-Jottings
Translation by Robin Fulton
Throughout the dismal months my life sparkled alive only when I made love with you.
As the firefly ignites and fades out, ignites and fades out-in glimpses we can trace it's flight
in the dark among the olive trees.

Throughout the dismal months the soul lay shrunken, lifeless,
but the body went straight to you.
The night sky bellowed.
Stealthily we milked the cosmos and survived.
Eldklotter
 
Under de dystra månaderna gnistrade mitt liv till bara när jag älskade med dig.
Som eldflugan tänds och slocknar, tänds och slocknar–glimtvis kan man följa dess väg
i nattmörkret mellan olivträden.

Under de dystra månaderna satt själen hopsjunken och livlös
men kroppen gick raka vägen till dig.
Natthimlen råmade.
Vi tjuvmjölkade kosmos och överlevde.
from Den vilda torget, III / The Wild Market-square, III (1983)
Leaflet
Translation by Robin Fulton

The silent rage scribbles on the wall inward.
Fruit trees in blossom, the cuckoo calls.
It's spring's narcosis. But the silent rage
paints its slogans backward in the garages.

We see all and nothing, but straight as periscopes
wielded by the underground's shy crew.
It's the war of the minutes.
The blazing sun stands above the hospital, suffering's parking place.

We living nails hammered down in society!
One day we shall loosen from everything.
We shall feel death's air under our wings
and become milder and wilder than we ever were.

Flygblad
 

Det tysta raseriet klottrar på väggen inåt.
Fruktträd i blom, göken ropar.
Det är vårens narkos. Men det tysta raseriet
målar sina slagord baklänges i garagen.

Vi ser allt och ingenting, men raka som periskop
hanterade av underjordens skygga besättning.
Det är minuternas krig. Den gassande solen
står över lasarettet, lidandets parkering.

Vi levande spikar nedhamrade i samhället!
En dag skall vi lossna från allt.
Vi skall känna dödens luft under vingarna
och bli mildare och vildare än här.

from För levande och döda / For the Living and the Dead (1989)
Preludes (II)
Translation by Robin Fulton
Two truths draw nearer each other. One moves from inside, one moves from outside
and where they meet we have a chance to see ourselves.

He who notices what is happening cries despairingly: "Stop!
Whatever you like, if only I avoid knowing myself."

And there is a boat which wants to put in–it tries just here–
thousands of times it comes and tries.

Out of the forest gloom comes a long boat hook, it is pushed in through the open window,
in among the party guests who danced themselves warm.
Preludier (II)
 
Två sanningar närmar sig varann. En kommer inifrån, en kommer utifrån
och där de möts har man en chans att få se sig själv.

Den som märker vad som håller på att hända ropar förtvivlat: "Stanna!
vad som helst, bara jag slipper känna mig själv."

Och det finns en båt som vill lägga till–försöker just här–
den kommer att försöka tusentals gånger.

Ur skogens mörker kommer en lång båtshake, skjuts in genom det öppna fönstret,
in bland partygästerna som dansat sig varma.
from Mörkerseende / Seeing in the Dark (1970)
Romanesque Arches
Translation by Robin Fulton
Inside the huge Romanesque church the tourists jostled in the half darkness.
Vault gaped behind vault, no complete view.
A few candle flames flickered.
An angel with no face embraced me
and whispered through my whole body:
"Don't be ashamed of being human, be proud!
Inside you vault opens behind vault endlessly.
You will never be complete, that's how it's meant to be."
Blind with tears
I was pushed out on the sun-seething piazza
together with Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Mr. Tanaka and Signora Sabatini
and inside each of them vault opened behind vault endlessly.
Romanska Bågar
 
Inne i den väldiga romanska kyrkan trängdes turisterna i halvmörkret.
Valv gapande bakom valv och ingen överblick.
Några ljuslågor fladdrade.
En ängel utan ansikte omfamnade mig
och viskade genom hela kroppen:
"Skäms inte för att du är människa, var stolt!
Inne i dig öppnar sig valv bakom valv oändligt.
Du blir aldrig färdig, och det är som det skall."
Jag var blind av tårar
och föstes ut på den solsjudande piazzan
tillsammans med Mr och Mrs Jones, Herr Tanaka och Signora Sabatini
och inne i dem alla öppnade sig valv bakom valv oändligt.
 
from För levande och döda / For the Living and the Dead (1989)
The Nightingale in Badelunda
Translation by Robin Fulton

In the green midnight at the nightingale's northern limit. Heavy leaves hang in trance, the deaf cars race towards the neon-line. The nightingale's voice rises without wavering to the side, it is as penetrating as a cock-crow, but beautiful and free of vanity. I was in prison and it visited me. I was sick and it visited me. I didn't notice it then, but I do now. Time streams down from the sun and the moon and into all the tick-tock-thankful clocks. But right here there is no time. Only the nightingale's voice, the raw resonant notes that whet the night sky's gleaming scythe.

from För levande och döda / For the Living and the Dead (1989)

The texts of the following poems are not used in their complete form in dream seminar / drömseminarium, but have helped shape the structure of the work and inspired design elements.


Dream Seminar
Translation by Robin Fulton

Four thousand million on earth.
They all sleep, they all dream.
Faces throng, and bodies, in each dream- the dreamt-of people are more numerous than us. But take no space...
You doze off at the theater perhaps,
in mid-play your eyelids sink.
A fleeting double exposure: the stage before you outmaneuvered by a dream. Then no more stage, it's you.
The theater in the honest depths!
The mystery of the overworked director!
Perpetual memorizing of new plays...
A bedroom. Night.
The darkened sky is flowing through the room.
The book that someone fell asleep from lies
still open
sprawling wounded at the edge of the bed.
The sleeper's eyes are moving,
they're following the text without letters
in another book-
illuminated, old-fashioned, swift.
A dizzying commedia inscribed
within the eyelids' monastery walls.
A unique copy. Here, this very moment.
In the morning, wiped out.
The mystery of the great waste!
Annihilation. As when suspicious men
in uniforms stop the tourist–
open his camera, unwind the film
and let the daylight kill the pictures:
thus dreams are blackened by the light of day. Annihilated or just invisible?
There is a kind of out-of-sight dreaming
that never stops. Light for other eyes.
A zone where creeping thoughts learn to walk. Faces and forms regrouped.
We're mobbing on a street, among people
in blazing sun.
But just as many-maybe more-
we don't see
are also there in dark building
high on both sides.
Sometimes one of them comes to the window
and glances down on us.

from Den vilda torget, IV / The Wild Market-square, IV (1983)
Allegro
Translation by Robin Fulton

I play Haydn after a black day
and feel a simple warmth in my hands.

The keys are willing. Soft hammers strike.
The resonance green, lively, and calm.

The music says freedom exists
and someone doesn't pay the emperor tax.

I push down my hands in my Haydnpockets
and imitate a person looking on the world calmly.

I hoist the Haydnflag-it signifies:
"We don't give in. But want peace."

The music is a glasshouse on the slope
where the stones fly, the stones roll.

And the stones roll right through
but each pane stays whole.

Allegro
 

Jag spelar Haydn efter en svart dag
och känner en enkel värme i händerna.

Tangenterna vill. Milda hammare slår.
Klangen är grön, livlig, och stilla.

Klangen säger att friheten finns
och att någon inte ger kejsaren skatt.

Jag kör ner händerna i mina haydnfickor
och härmar en som ser lungt på världen.

Jag hissar haydnflaggan–det betyder:
"Vi ger oss inte. Men vill fred."

Musiken är ett glashus på sluttningen
där stenarna flyger, stenarna rullar.

Och stenarna rullar tvärs igenom
men varje ruta förblir hel.

from Den halvfärdiga himlen, V / The Half-finished Heaven, V (1962)
The Clearing
Translation by Robin Fulton

Deep in the forest there's an unexpected clearing which can be reached only by someone who has lost his way.

   The clearing is enclosed in a forest that is choking itself. Black trunks with the ashy beard-stubble of lichen. The trees are screwed tightly together and are dead right up to the tops, where a few solitary green twigs touch the light. Beneath them: shadow brooding on shadow, and the swamp growing.

   But in the open space the grass is strangely green and living. There are big stones lying here as if they'd been arragned. They must be the foundation stones of a house, but I could be wrong. Who lived here? No one can tell us. The names exist somewhere in an archive that no one opens (it's only archives that stay young). The oral tradition has died and with it the memories. The gypsy people remember but those who have learnt to write forget. Write down, and forget.

   The homestead murmurs with voices, it is the center of the world. But the inhabitants die or move out, the chronicle breaks off. Desolate for many years. And the homestead becomes a sphinx. At last everything's gone, except the foundation stones.

   Somehow I've been here before, but now I must go. I dive in among the thickets. I can push my way through only with one step forward and two to the side, like a chess knight. Bit by bit the forest thins and lightens. My steps get longer. A footpath creeps towards me. I am back in the communications network.

   On the humming electricity-post a beetle is sitting in the sun. Beneath the shining wing-covers its wings are folded up as ingeniously as a parachute packed by an expert.

from Sanningsbarriären / The Truthbarrier (1978)
Vermeer
Translation by Robin Fulton
No protected world...Just behind the wall the noise begins, the inn
with the laughter and the bickering, rows of teeth, tears, the din of bells
and the insane brother-in-law, the death-bringer that we all musttremble for.

The big explosion and the tramp of rescue arriving late,
the boats preening themselves on the straights, the money creeping down
      in the wrong man's pocket
demands stacked on demands
gaping red flowerheads sweating premonitions of war.

In from there and right through the wall into the clear studio
into the second that's allowed to live for centuries.
Paintings that call themselves 'The Music Lesson'
or Woman in Blue Reading a Letter
she's in her eighth month, two hearts kicking inside her.
On the wall behind is a wrinkled map of Terra Incognita.

Breathe calmly...An unknown blue material is nailed to the chairs.
The gold studs flew in with incredible speed
and stopped abruptly
as if they had never been other than stillness.

Ears sing, from depth or height.
It's the pressure from the other side of the wall.
It makes each fact float
and steadies the brush.

It hurts to go through walls, it makes you ill
but is necessary.
The world is one. But walls...
And the wall is part of yourself -
we know or we don't know but it's true for us all,
except for small children. No walls for them.

The clear sky has lent against the wall.
It's like a prayer to the emptiness.
And the emptiness turns its face to us
and whispers,
"I am not empty, I am open."
from För levande och döda / For the Living and the Dead (1989)
How the Late Autumn Night Novel Begins
Translation by Robin Fulton

The ferry-boat smells of oil and something rattles all the time like an obsession. The spotlight's turned on. We're pulling in to the jetty. I'm the only one who wants off here. "Need the gangway?" No. I take a long tottering stride right into the night and stand on the jetty, on the island. I feel wet and unwieldy, a butterfly just crept out of its cocoon, the plastic bags in each hand are misshapen wings. I turn round and see the boat gliding away with its shining windows, then grope my way towards the familiar house which has been empty for so long. There's no one in any of the houses round about... It's good to fall asleep here. I lie on my back and don't know if I'm asleep or awake. Some books I've read pass by like old sailing ships on their way to the Bermuda triangle to vanish without a trace... .I hear a hollow sound, an absentminded drumming. An object the wind keeps knocking against something the earth holds still. If the night is not just an absence of light, if the night really is something, then it's that sound. Stethoscope noises from a slow heart, it beats, goes silent for a time, comes back. As if the creature were moving in a zigzag across the Frontier. Or someone knocking in a wall, someone who belongs to the other world but was left behind here, knocking, wanting back. Too late. Couldn't get down there, couldn't get up there, couldn't get aboard... .The other world is this world too. Next morning I see a sizzling golden-brown branch. A crawling stack of roots. Stones with faces. The forest is full of abandoned monsters which I love.

from Sanningsbarriären / The Truthbarrier (1978)