No. 4 & 5


Per Wästberg  

Translated from the Swedish by Hildred Crill  



We make signs to each other.
We are signs for each other.
Today becomes tomorrow yesterday.
We have to do everything now
and still leave everything undone.
We have to say everything
without betraying the unsayable.

The night capsizes. The sky is arched
gray blue like a seabird’s egg.
Suspended by Cardan, though that was prior to Polhem,
the Earth rests in its space.

The simple is part of the difficult to interpret,
part of a contradictory program—
as when the wick of a candle is split,
one strand becomes quickly charred,
the other burns as before.


If I think it was better before?
I haven’t gone so far that I have
a before. Hope it gets better later.
Illness, divorce, odd children, grief
and a breakneck vertigo in the world’s unbalance—
be prepared for everything! But I’m not prepared.
I withdraw from the storms, I want to adjust
the Barometer in Kalmar. That will do.

Determination of Place

Snow melt... water ashes...
Cranes turn over time’s valley of trolls:
the movement immeasurable according to Einstein
because no one knows its point of departure.
Existence without a fence.

On the seesaw: today and tomorrow.
Roads heavily trod. Nights like dark
mineral. No signs of welcome.
Small answers for big questions:
It doesn’t get worse, it doesn’t get
better than this.

Most things are given the wrong names.
The postal receipt counts like your own.
The Wagoner in his starry portrait loses
some burning buttons.
The beetle cleans his narrow tooth.
On a cucumber leaf somewhere
a place awaits us.



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