Daybook Extract:

:: Prologue ::

Some would call them journal entries, but these Swedish musings are less so than stray thoughts now and then jotted down in the black notebooks I always carried with me at the time (and which I thought of as daybooks, hence the title).

I was eighteen years old in the summer of 1967 when I began these musings, and I kept them up through the summer of 1969 (when I left Sweden for Africa and places beyond).

In the mid-1970s, on a long ferry ride from Gothenburg to England, I read through these daybooks and typed up (again in Swedish) a generous extract of these musings. Twenty years on I translated these extracts into English—a rough one, as translations go.

In this collection I have made no serious attempt to analyze or clarify the feelings and thoughts behind these entries, but I have, on occasion, clarified and expanded the entries themselves where and as needed the better to let them say what—as it now seems to me—they want to say.

I’ve also corrected what translation errors I stumbled across.

Most of the original entries were undated and I have made no attempt here to date them. I have, however, done my best to sequence them as truthfully as possible, and wherever there is a date, I have included it.

The two sections: Before and After, reference a deeply significant spiritual experience that I had in the early fall of 1968.

This experience was profound. It changed everything.

Everything.

::

:: Before ::

Impending Loss:

I don’t know whether I am troll or human being; but I do know that the first page in this novel of a life was written long before life knew its origin; a life whose origin no one knows, but whose death everyone has dreamed.

In this play of life and love I have but a small part, but it’s uncertain whether I am up to it, for the solution to all intrigues and conflicts was never committed to paper and I can no longer improvise.

I experienced a moment when the hour’s seeing eye blinked, when the heart of time stood still. The ensuing mirage was immense, but my senses were incapable of realizing it. My dream was beautiful but the night far, far too short.

But my heart does remember and it tortures my soul with heavy beats that like the anguish of hindsight desperately urge my action.

But if time has betrayed me, has life then lived without me?

As the day drowns in the dark, as a play die with its last line, my verse fades into silence. Can a time that has ceased to exist house my anxiety? Can a country I no longer belong to afford me peace? Can a soul I have not touched interpret my feelings? Can a feeling I cannot control make me stay?

::

Drifting atmospheres among these tables. Who you are or where you stand, does it really matter?

::

We never cease to look life’s reasons, but all we find are its justifications. One very significant justification, however, is where thought and love unite; where truth and happiness mix to form life’s solution.

::

In a night pregnant with yearning we escaped into each other; once inside we shared everything purely: feelings, thoughts, dreams.

::

Awake

Consider

Squint

Wonder

Rejoice

::

Dream yourselves away, out of yourselves, leave your empty heads behind. Form there a picture of yourselves; even if warped, be proud, it is after all the only truth you know and own; the only picture you’ll ever see where you can trace your own stupidity through these long, hopelessly staggering and convoluted, empty, bizarre deeds.

::

Shipwrecked on the coast of death, stranded upon the cold white of her eye. I wish she could halt my flight, quench my longing that cries away. I wish she could force me to stay.

::

Within the unconveyed origin of an essence resides a look no one has dared to dread; resides a truth anyone can find; resides an openness so wide that space itself shrinks in shame; resides a word, a meaning that I’ve seen.

Here resides the poem I’ve written; resides the happiness I seek; resides the love I owned.

Here stands the house where I want to live, in peace, alone, until my much offending death.

::

This one yearning of mine was alive and well long before I knew life, even though I had yet to learn how to dream. Of course, the difference between yearning and dreaming may be hard to discern, but for a true symbol, but for knowing the joy of living, but for knowing events, but for sharing of scenes.

::

Everything exists now, as if I lived wide awake. This dream is so real, yet so illusory. I feel like we’re in a Disney fairytale. This is where we are while you sit in your armchairs, with your grogs, with your children, in your counterfeit warmth and say: “See, that’s happiness. Isn’t Disney wonderful? Such an entertainer.” But don’t forget to make sure your children understand that this is only fantasy, that this can only happen on screen. Don’t forget that, children.

::

I am a well that must be drawn from or I’ll dry out.

::

This night, the many roads and their bends and dead ends led to the entirely absent. My anguish was infinite, my thirst immense, my love so incredibly distant even though I could reach and touch her skin.

The night was replete with traps and thresholds and I stumbled and fell everywhere. Still, now, in the light of new morning, my dream is as pure as before, albeit stung and scratched by that yearlong rose hip thicket.

::

Soon even I shall curl up among the dark clouds to again, eventually, wake up to my dream.

::

I know I am but a miniscule drop in this universe; but who’s to say that this drop isn’t a fine gas, ever expanding, infinitely expanding, uncontained?

::

It begins as a feeling, as an essence within that soon assumes horrifying proportions as it hurls forward with a strength that is the entire universe, with a speed that is blind logic, when this mindless, reckless sprint of thoughts suddenly catch a reflex and explodes.

Out of the ashes rises an association, which, like all other thoughts, is elevated to immeasurable value, one that my body can hardly contain, while this insane labyrinth stretches from horizon to horizon.

::

Vacuum, it is a vacuum, an emptiness, filled to the brim by visions. Filled by events, happiness, by experiences of another human being etched on the naked walls, like paintings dreaming.

The feeling, the truth, the subdued and forgotten truth, blossomed and grew and became a paradise of the night.

::

I constantly condemn my own thoughts and roads, when suddenly I’m struck by a feeling, captured by a logic, captured by a conviction. Maybe the suddenness of the flood is a factor that magnifies the impression, or is it truth that bowls me over?

Temporal but constantly returning deaths cross the calm waters of night within these eyes that until then were mirroring harmony.

Life, I say, Life again! Fast! Now! Connect, obtain answers, share! No…, death returns.

The illusions, the doubts, the desperation, all conspired against my wishes. Think, I say, Think. Reason, follow up, don’t let go, don’t let it slide, don’t slide away. Oh, struggle. I feel my will suffocate from the speed.

And then, suddenly: , two separate worlds. So identical yet so irreconcilable. Please! I must feel the sharing. My mirrored world is obscured by my own frame. My understanding is wrongly aimed and falters. At some point the world must rejoin, eternalize. I must force my brain into battle, I must break the circle, I must run towards the openness ahead… Zeroed again.

The fear, the dread of loneliness, penetrated out into the extreme, unadorned and naked. We tried to swallow, to forget, but the lock had frozen. No keys. The brushstrokes of my panic formed two human beings, outside each other, outside everything, outside.

::

Two shadows fought for their souls in the petrified night. The ground swell is coming! The grips loosen. The thoughts slip and die. My nightmare is a sea of constant vacuum.

::

We’re at the edge of a forest, illuminated by a constantly following sun. We roam the magical forest of trials and fate.

::

I make my way through thoughts, harmonies, melodies, towards a new mood.

::

Finally, like a Samaritan, sleep came sailing. It was anticipated, but also resisted; before we thanked the day and the hours we wanted to rediscover the feeling. And, finally, benevolent fates let us decipher the code, feel the sound, continue living, and the trial ended.

::

Conviction returned us into each other. For how can an illusion die? An honesty that from its foundation was mutually created. Wrapped in a happiness so tender no flame can waver. Surrounded by laughter no happiness can dampen.

::

Believe me, I am convinced. I am elevated. The row of proofs is infinite. Clarities amass. Joy lives with her for me. Believe me, I’m surprised as well.

::

My road exploded, then resurrected in a loved doubled.

::

Deep inside my soul, a briar-lacerated field beside an overflowing goblet filled with love. The pasture, the morning of life, wavers, and the greenery drowns in love.

::

Her long dark hair fell, and the light separated so softly over her shoulder.

::

If I only wasn’t meat and blood. I see myself as a part of the music. Made of lyrics. The offspring and gift of beauty.

::

I see myself surrounded by my endless will to live.

::

I am now filled by compulsion. But that aside, am I not one of those who knows the least here. For who can feel more than the flower, love more than the stone, think more than the forest. Who can hate more than the hand’s conviction.

::

I’m in agony. Torn. My soul scents the spring of tomorrow and far away, but my heart wants to stay here, with her. Still, my disappointment in the many wrestles my emotions down against the chilly spring ground. To where can I escape? Where can I live? Where can I forget?

::

Freedom entices with her wonderful smile. Come, she says, Travel, take my hand. Dance with me. Caress the hair you breathe each morning. Drink my happiness, meet my friends, live with us.

::

The unsureness, an uncertain striving for happiness drives me away from home, compels me to escape. My essence cannot be contained within physical limits.

Now I want to rage like my thoughts.

::

To tie myself down physically is to follow the pretexts, the excuses to stay. Now that I stand free, free from society, free from responsibility, free from myself.

But the soul and the heart tear each other apart in their desperate war. The heart loves, as does the soul. The heart loves her. The soul loves freedom, the lack of roots. The rootlessness in her, the rootlessness flight.

::

I look around among the familiar and ingrained objects. I’m seized by a feeling combining nausea and sadness. They both torture my restlessness to action.

::

The thought of trying to live in the ashes of my own fragments is horrible. The thought of the fragments is frightening enough.

::

My fate impales me with her gaze and says: “You cowardly thing. Why do you force yourself to see beauty in the bizarre, in the severe? Why do you seek life in dead animals? Why do you seek movement in stones?”

::

The rain brings happiness. The sad, the untouchable. The rain whispers and sighs: “Come, look at me. I’m born, I live and die. Why do you think you’re the happy one?”

::

It is not a matter of time and space. It’s all about the now. It’s then up to the individual how long you want to make it.

::

The mood I sketched yesterday, I paint today.

::

Happiness consists of a stretched now.

::

Home has now ceased as an existing reality in space. The limits didn’t even leave a trace.

::

But then Marie rises in my vision. She smiles at me with her eyes and says: “Are you going now? Already?”

I vacillate and bend in the shadow of this wonderful child’s question. For how can I answer without lying?

::

I don’t know whether to share the picture of today, of yesterday, or of tomorrow. But what does it matter? The dream is always as wonderful.

::

The groundswells and memories of yesterday’s petrified night live today. Today’s dream will form tomorrow.

::

I continually use—repeating myself—words like: Happiness, Joy, Truth. But where lies the key? Where lies the echo of feelings, if not behind these windows?

::

One has to live, believe.

::

It’s not the outside polish that reflects. For what could live up to the ruggedness of honesty.

::

Music eases my desperate mood and it momentarily storms out in rhythms.

::

You claim that you, yourself, are one, and that the surrounding universe is infinite. But, assume the opposite: The universe is one. Can you still find yourself?

::

That the world can appear so differently, viewed through different thoughts. Are these views, these sights really dictated and limited by moods?

::

What is superstition, really? Is it something you can liken to the fixed idea,

or the dream, or religious conviction, or stupidity, or cowardliness, or spontaneity, or fate, or chance. Why not truth?

::

That everything one day will truly dissolve now seems to me a nightmare, as something I simply cannot seize and understand. For how can something so concrete suddenly simply bow down and die.

::

“Do you believe that I believe what I believe?” I ask her. She smiles, a little sadly, and nods her head.

I seek, then sense, faintly at first, but with growing intensity, how my prayer for understanding is fulfilled.

::

This conviction now fills me: The feeling is not real, does not live, until it has been conveyed through and adorned with solemn silence.

::

Under the wings of night, here and there, a force, as strong as death. One knows, and feels, and tracks, halts. But our aim is the nebulous. A cloud.

::

Another person’s doubts can, just like encouragement, arouse my hidden strengths, as I climb.

::

My road back narrows up ahead to an avenue lined with sleeping feelings. A wind, ripe with the tears of yesterday whips my back, and forces my yearning to leap. My coachman dreads the vision no one has seen, the purpose no one has ever shouldered. No one knows where my road leads, and no one is forced to follow.

::

The feeling of her, filling the entire now, may one day saunter back in time. But then, the memory of her will be caressed by a longing, stronger than the wind, deeper than the sea, purer than the star, larger than time.

::

When I so, finally, leave, I turn around, not only once, as I want to, almost desperately, see her one last time. I want, once more, to be filled by that inexplicable joy, the enchantment that has no equal. I will then, for the last time, kiss her with my hidden tears and remember. Only then can I die.

::

I will never stagnate in my eagerness, and one of the reasons is the every now and then glimmering vision of truth.

::

In the shadow of a drink, I love everyone, and everyone loves me. Sober again, I’m seized by anguish, yes, almost anger. I’m nauseated by my own

suggestive nature.

Ask me now who I love, who I see; and I reflect, look for words and say: “Love?”

::

To, in circles, words, stanzas, clichés, hours, try to catch an idiotic thought is indeed a product of alcohol.

::

Beer, bring out my happiness by force, my longing, my goal. What is there to catch, and where? Use surrogates.

::

The dream poisons’ vastness gives me impressions, thoughts, associations, labyrinths, throes, song, cries, anxiety, anguish, lethargy.

::

Just now I’m struck by a thought: Isn’t poetry an irrational search for symbols?

::

Newly caught, I grasp. In a desert the dream lives anew.

::

Don’t expect anything from happiness. Everything has a flipside even the universe.

::

Which one of us doubts? You, who own all gold, all land, all beauty, the solid happiness. Or me, the poet?

::

Judge. Look yourself in the mirror. Horrible, right? Too cowardly even for that. Fate can evict everything except stupidity.

::

I died yesterday. A thousand people watched. Saw him fight, outnumbered. Saw him fight these thousand.

::

My death shakes my friends. My torment pains my mother. My fate frightens my love.

::

He died last night. Died. Passed away. Last night there was a spirit among us. A shadow, a friend. Yet, he’ll be forgotten, ridiculed, but yet, some time, loved posthumously.

::

Honor my memory. Restore my body. For as long as I remain passive, will anyone ever awake?

::

Dream my vision world. Seek my golden treasure. It lies there, at the foot of my rainbow. First, you must find the rainbow. And you, who one day will find it, hang on to it, don’t let go. Fight for it. It’s yours as much as mine.

::

Lizards slither, snakes strike, but mostly in mire, marsh, soft flesh.

::

He died early, but lived long, longer than most.

::

I want to call us strangers. We, the crowd of timid beetles, the mob of shameful humans. Strangers, that’s us, that’s us. Unknown oafs, wandering fools. Unable to act, incapable of love.

::

How can I in my simplicity imagine happiness. Can it really be real?

::

I swam in intoxication, looking for words, stumbled on ugliness, and there, this essence arises: Understanding, suffer with me, go on living, but don’t forget, don’t judge.

::

You’re sleeping now, wrapped in those clouds of fantasy we normally call dreams. But you know better, the dream really begins when you once again awake. Few know what dreams entail; right now, you’re just floating in the skies of fantasy.

If only, somehow, I could touch you, help you, make you happy, in your dream. Then again, what do I know, maybe I am.

::

Empty your goblet, drink my life.

::

Like a hot avalanche I rush over the edge, down, towards the water. But I never land, never.

::

Now, emptiness covers me, spans my sky like a black rainbow. My world is bereft of meaning and clarity. That so much is rooted in the earth of her love stuns me.

::

A chase one night with javelins of pain became a wicked dream where words were torments washed away by longing’s tender stream. This Sunday night, evening of sighs.

::

I wish I could sing so beautifully that one and all were moved to tears. But that thought alone makes me cry.

::

I let my gaze drop, and it sank, dead, to the ground.

::

What do I find in the established. Anxiety? Yes. Longing? Yes. If I could only dream eternally. But there’s always an alarm clock nearby.

::

Swallow your questions and enjoy the ensuing happiness.

::

To write in the desert of feelings is like resting on the clouds of understanding.

::

A ring has two sides. One is tied to a dark memory. The other contains the rest of life. Why not choose life? The question remains: Who said the ring has two sides? Oh, I did?

::

Spread my song, the song of… (this is a cliché).

::

Then someone comes up to me and says: can you see in all directions? And I say: Use your inside.

::

Who dictates the conditions here? Bring him. Please. What? I’m sorry. Well, I’d like to have a chat. About what? Let me just talk to him. Immediately. Busy? Well, who’s covering for him? Oh, I see, I’m hated.

::

Why I write? Well, you see, when I arrive at something, I always ask myself a question. Then I question that question, and answer that second question. What you read is the answer.

::

Changes leave my body without spiritual equivalence.

::

Sometimes I imagine that I only exist in the shadow of my drink.

::

Pathetic pages, hollow truths, empty lines, fill me with disgust. That’s a tangible truth, isn’t it?

::

How do you pronounce life?

::

To leave your soul behind when you go away is also called love.

::

A very true feeling is that where friendship and love merge into life. A superb litmus for determining its purity can be found in a break, but mostly the dust swirls round and round.

::

Wander through many memories, into the castle of amnesia, out into the falling snow, down into the moist grave, our bed of happiness.

::

I wander along the side of pressure, a long stick in my hand. Now I have to lean against it for support. Now I have to use it to keep my balance.

::

What’s to say that a poet has reached far? Necessities of life? Parents? Critics? The person, or even his work? But in that case, what should his work contain? Tension, humor or truth? If truth, what is the truth of a poet? Analysis of self? Honesty? Clarity of vision? Ability to teach? But what should he teach? Etc.

::

My concentration is largely composed of harmony.

::

Sun, hide. Or the bomb will come and take you.

::

Angles that in the dusky haze dress themselves in veils are pierced by penal nails and forced to live this maze.

::

The torture of the soul seems to reach its end at last. The horizon hides the happiness I will never caress.

::

Deafness. Is it an illness or lack of willpower and culture?

::

Money. What is it really? Surely a poison. A completely failed surrogate for everything that has to do with life. The coward’s salary, bread for the lazy, the god of evil, happiness for the stupid.

::

When the abundance of friends overflows the depth of need vanity has taken hold.

::

My turnaround became a successful fiasco. It opened the door to understanding.

::

A collection of wonderful letters circulate in my brain. And not a single one seems uncomfortable.

::

If in a dream I would find a kind and loving girl. Sleep would unfurl.

::

The Pit

I think that this starts to look like a disgusting mud pit where worms like status and money and weariness of life crawl and twist around each other while the slime we call time is excreted.

Where am I now, drowned by doubts, in the grip of a father’s admonitions. Pressed by the lust of escape, but still influenced by the poison of cowardice, frightened by the responsibility of others.

Will my dream world survive the skepticism of my friends. At times I even doubt myself.

But then, what is the meaning? Where is my thought? Have I so suddenly lost my soul, my will? No, God, don’t force me to suffer for my cowardice.

Strength, you serenely happy yearning for freedom that I bear. Unfold! Grow! Conquer! Let me explode in flight.

::

Oasis

Last night I walked alone in the pitch black desert. A centuries old oasis was suspended above me. Miserable beings think it obscures the sun. But, Oh, it is the sun.

::

The Painting.

Now I want to paint. I want to give color and life to the feelings. I want to paint the sky green. Think about it, a green sky. An infinite symbol for all that lives. Look at the trees. Oh, the sky would be the garden of the giants, where all the giant children could play their spontaneous games.

Yes, I can seem them before me. They’re not at all unlike real children, just so huge. It is a moving picture, where happiness has been raised to an ungraspable power.

Some sit in the grass and sing. I’m trying to hear the words, but the distance, I’m sorry to say, is an insurmountable barrier. But despite that I can see how their lips are formed, now in smiles, now in laughter, as they, with the greenery as amplification, rejoice in a hymn to beauty.

A bit further down, with Orion as their horizon, sit another small group of, somewhat more serious, children. They’re also older than the first bunch, by the way. They’re discussing something. They talk and describe with an eagerness which is reflected by their hands’ painting gestures. They actually seem upset, because they’re shouting. I can even make out a bit here and there of their conversation. They are arguing, as far as I can make out, their understandings of beings they cannot understand, primarily humans.

A very beautiful, dark girl answers a question which I unfortunately could not catch: “Surely you must understand that time plays a part. Time acts like an compulsion.”

“Well, on the other hand,” said he who asked the original question, “I cannot believe, I don’t want to believe, that these, our images, can be so void of judgment and knowledge, so ignorant of their souls.”

Then I suddenly realized the original question. I’m filled with shame, and force myself to stop listening.

Three small girls are dancing in the chase of a galaxy. Their nets held high in the chase. They’re shouting to each other in a language that suddenly is very foreign to me, but I assume that they agree to surround the star system.

Completely absorbed by this joyful chase they rush blindly by the old man whose dreamy gaze tries to keep up with them. I’m so taken by the sight of this that I immediately lose all interests in the girls. This old man’s entire person emanates helplessness, which is something that I just had not expected to find here. He gives me such a distressing impression of hopelessness that I, with my entire soul, want nothing else than to help him somehow.

Then it strikes me that the man reminds me of the picture I had as a child of God! Yes, the long white hair, and the similarly white full beard. These mild, yes tender eyes. Even the tunic fits in.

All my powers to feel and see are now directed at him. Slowly, slowly, he lets his gaze glide out towards the deep green horizon, moving it again after centuries, barely noticeably. What can this picture of wisdom possess in his thoughts?

His gaze continues its slow circle, when I suddenly, in icy terror, find our eyes meet. He has discovered me. Oh, it feels like I’ve done something wrong, committed a crime. I slowly submerge into this hypnotic gaze, while terror and uncertainty fills me. I see, but cannot grasp, how he with a long sweep of his arm reach for and catch a comet, his eyes fixed on mine. He bends his arm back, and I feel how he summons his strength in the motion. The comet changes direction, and is crashing with the speed of insanity right at me.

I know it will hit me. It will crush me. But I cannot move. I am hypnotized.

::

Variations

I feel how my world of insights circulate around a nucleus of variation. Sometimes my soul is twisted upwards, towards space, where it dances in an eternal farce with the galaxies. Other times my memories are pressed together with worms and lizards in a damp grave of sighs.   In yet another mood I play and try to match the laughter of the wind. And that’s my true stage.

::

The Rope

At the end of a rope there clings a being filled with yesterday’s doubts; and now he hangs there and likens the rope to the thin thread life sometimes hangs on, although the contrast between the two is so obvious that only a human can be blind to it.

Anyway, so there I hang, and my hands have formed a grip which invites the thought of the tug boat which is being taken in tow by a luxury liner in the middle of this enormous ocean en route between two continents.

The connection between the two boats have been proven time and time again to support the reverse relation, still, uncertainty grows: Will this rope bear the little stresses that the waves of life bring to one and all?

::

An open letter to my friends:

Today, I noticed a cloud in the summer sky. “A cloud of worry,” you think. No, not at all. It was one of those little white puffs of a cloud, you know. It sailed into the room in a newly sewn crepe dress and wavy hair. And stayed there. Yes, she sat there; completely alone against the huge, clear blue sky, pretending she had no way of graying and growing. And who would even suspect, for the sun was shining.

::

A performance

A tone, a line, a caress, a pain, all evoke a vision of her, even the opposite. Everything can intoxicate. The symbol can overshadow the logical conclusion and replace a farfetched reasoning with silence. Why not fall, give in, bow down to this infinite row of proofs of beauty. Please let me be smart enough not to question the honesty and truth of an F, or a G, or an A7.

Please let me conquer my stupidity and admit the rhythm, the intervals of which are determined by her breath. Sometimes I even question poetry, to no avail, it always rises victorious from the last act. Oh, my dear pen. Don’t obscure my thoughts, don’t force my convictions into the bonds of silence. I want to convey, beautify and destroy.

But I’m still a poet who subjects himself to his own doubts. I now have my will, my inspiration, yes, even the frame around the writing itself, that which conventionally should surround the poet: a desk in a foreign city, the light from a candle spilling onto the page, a room where I sit, deeply immersed in either loneliness or love.

These concrete circumstances force conclusions, but I tell myself: “Please, for heaven’s sake stop drawing these damned conclusions, at least leave the groundless ones alone!” Having said that I don’t know whether I’m filled with clarity or compulsion, whether my mood, or my impressions will decide, take charge.

Will I be able to interpret my own thoughts, will my questions dominate my answers? When I now write I sketch the feelings of a carnival, where the diversions and objects of laughter vie for the visitors’ favor, and where probably the most attention is given to the announcer that proclaims:

“Now hear this! The phenomenal say-what-you-wish-written-and-I’ll-transform-it-into-poetry-poet will now appear!!” Come, buy tickets, don’t miss this wonderful performance. You don’t want to miss this!”

The slightly amazed mob begins drifting towards that part of the carnival, as the crier continues at the top of his voice. This was something new, and curiosity is spreading markedly. That part of the carnival soon becomes congested and the ticket lines long.

After many laughs, speculations, and skeptical opinions the announced curiosity will finally appear. And there he stands, all ready now for his entre. An indistinct murmur ripples the through the crowd as he exposes himself for scrutiny. Yes, here he comes, the poet…, but, oh my, what a miserable thing, look at him, so run-down. How could that little worn, humble body house poetry.

He slowly approaches the podium, where they’ve set up a small table and chair. He sits down and picks up the pen. Truth be told, he gives a very concentrated impression which however is somewhat muddied by the skepticism of the mob.

A shrill voice can be heard above the general buzz of the crowd as soon as the uncontrollable curiosity has wound down. “Describe my wife’s new necklace in rhymes!”

The silence spread with terrifying speed. Everyone wants to see what he’s made of, and the murmur turns to the silence of death. The poet feels how the eyes of the mob are nailed to him as if to remind him of the ticket price. He feels himself drowning by the doubt-filled expectations. “So, go ahead, write!” his inner audience cries, “Hurry up! They’re waiting.”

The seconds that now have stretched to centuries torment him towards mental destruction as he feels everything locking up. And it is with a relief-strewn panic that he hears himself say: “No, for God’s sake, I can’t. I cannot deliver rhymes. I’m not your poet. I’m a fake!”

At that he stands up blindly, and rushes down from the podium. The threateningly dissatisfied crowd reluctantly makes way for the fleeing poet, who in is wounded subconscious reads: “Am I a pretender, or does my art die in the demands of these humans?”

::

The Necklace

Against a green background lies a necklace of gold. If it really is gold is debatable, but who cares. I see in this necklace, which by the way is a bracelet and not a necklace, a long line of symbols, symbols with such contents that I cannot envision their use to be anything but a necklace.

The clasp is made like a book, where the pages of a life have been reconciled to a unity to be worn around the neck. Thirteen similar, but individual bodies, comprise the chain itself. Four of them are adorned by green, hanging pearls, probably plastic or glass, one on each side of life, altogether eight green tears. The other nine days are similarly adorned by sighs of falling gold.

As if uncertainty no longer imposes itself I feel how this vision seizes me and stirs my heart. I see in this necklace thirteen generations of thinking families, each one in a struggle to complete the circle. Each family fighting for what it believes in.

It is frightening to realize how the eleven inside families will never succeed in their fruitless struggle, and equally releasing to know the possibilities of the two end families.

Can this relation really have a corresponding reality? Can the thirteenth link reestablish contact backwards or forwards, whichever way, and whenever you want?

When the proof and experience have been inherited through sufficiently many steps I see someone suddenly stop and dream himself back to the origin, which although a result of honest aspirations has been discolored and mistreated along the way; the origin which eventually will make its trustee damn the gift. Who is the judge, and who the accused?

I see myself as a curious spectator, although my dream in many ways is meant as a foundation for coming generations.

::

Compulsion

When you sit down, pen in hand, completely determined to write yourself a Nobel-prize-winning masterpiece, you feel how wrong everything is without true inspiration. The only thing you can really get said is exactly what I’ve just written.

::

Human Frailties Sustain Each Other

A female acquaintance of a dubious friend once exclaimed in complete rapture: “You’ve got to copy that poem and send it to me!” Drowned by a similar fire I promise and swear up and down that I’ll do just that.

Days turn to nights, and hours to years. And we meet again. As a lightning in my brain I remember the poem. My face reflects shame, but that’s a feeling I cannot trace in hers, despite industrious attempts. I now see that she had forgotten my poem even before its last line had faded.

::

If thought is my only consolation, and the ability to share it my only gift: does my joy die in the lack of rhymes?

::

The Knowledge of a Tightrope Walker

One morning, I strung a rope between heaven and hell. Fate had, thoughtfully, unfolded a protecting arm which would catch me should I fall, but what fate had not told me is how I would recognize this safety net. All it said is that I must fall within the frame of a heartbeat.

Later, afternoon by now, I set out on my balancing act, the act I hoped would end in me successfully landing in the net; for to go the whole way is apparently impossible, even for God Almighty Himself.

::

Contrast I

Molded inside a diffuse brown facade lies a hidden mirror with the power to share its impression of the happy world. Long has the paining wind dug, and long has the tunnel of darkness covered its surface.

You crawling worms; three days and three years I traveled among the nymphs and clouds. I swam in the desert for three centuries. Three hours earlier the wind panted and died. The moon observed quietly and smiled.

My road leads up towards the silent evening where sounds shout and twist my thoughts. Never, never shall my road be crushed to dust by the beat of dark wings.

::

Contrast II

Now I am uplifted again. Up to a basket braided by the magic of the moon, where sadness is strength, and where love is filled by the ecstasy of enchantment. My feeling encompasses land and sea, mountain and wind, happiness within the width of my own vision where she is the artist who picks all my thoughts and gilds them with tenderness.

My own darling painting queen. How many feelings have you not found? How many shudders have you not begot? And how often am I not intoxicated by your warmth? Everything contributes to this contrast, this lovely refraction where light becomes shining, where hush becomes music, where kisses become wells of dreams.

This is where I want to travel to, and there is where I want to stay. Here is where I want to travel.

::

Newly Awake

Human beings, especially the lazy ones, often associate the expressions newly awake with tired. But this is so wrong. I want to compare newly awake with biting your lip or your tongue.

When you chew whatever it is, and suddenly happen to catch a piece of your tongue or lip, you can reflect, as soon as the pain has subsided, on the power with which you just hurt yourself. You’re wondering if you always chew that hard—which, of course, you do.

For me, waking up carries a similar mystique. I’m wondering whether I am in fact living life this intensely all the time.

::

Temple I

It’s a wonderful, peaceful feeling, mixed with the mockery of non-comprehension, that presses me to devout silence as I enter this temple.

What I can’t understand, or maybe don’t even have the prerequisites to understand, is how a belief can fill a human being so strongly that she erects such a building, such a palace. I would want to call the church the world’s most wonderful place of work, albeit with the somber knowledge that I myself could never work here.

I would compare the holy atmosphere that rests here with my feeling for poetry, and it truly is that calm that I seek here. My prayer is that similar symbols within poetry and music would move the many the same way that this glorious symbol of the many moves me.

On further reflection, I realize however that there is a link between religion and art. I realize that music and painting and even poetry saw some of their limbs born within these four walls, albeit with an almost frightening connection with the religion it celebrates.

With that thought as a backdrop, I find it incorrect to look at a painting of a biblical scene and call it true art. I ask myself: Since the artist has created this work under the influence of an extremely strong drug, how can I see the painting as the artist’s personal conviction about art itself?

Maybe my reasoning is faulty in the ears of many, but I feel that art should be able to live on its own blood.

::

Temple II

I see other people enter the door I just used; they look up; struck by awe. (I want to believe that they are filled by the same sense of might that rocks me). Then they look down again, to their sides, then, without breathing almost, proceeding slowly forward towards the altar, maybe the most beautiful thing in this whole building.

During a prolonged silence they continue their stroll around the church for maybe five, ten more minutes, but then they’re out of time, and tonight some husband will hear how his wife found a deafening calm etc. in the church.

I suppose I envy these people that can be filled to the brim by devotion in such a short amount of time, and I envy a church that possesses the power, even if temporarily, and with doubtful success as far as real sincerity is concerned, to fill so many with what poetry so often has cried tears of blood in its many failed attempts to do.

The fact remains that we have two separate feelings fighting each other in the battle for the soul. To me, the magic of the church is inexplicable, the message obscure and its ecstasy baseless, even for the initiated. This is where the human being can stumble upwards, secure in the knowledge that she will never have to work for true enlightenment.

Poetry, on the other hand, has substance, is concrete, as it turns towards the living with stories about the living, towards life about life, towards truth about truth.

::

Temple III

Not even here do we escape the underdeveloped swine; now I’m forced to view them in the form of souvenir hunters. A sign outside the door conveys: “Church open for visit and devotion.” On my advice I hear they’re going to change that to: “You can photograph at will!”

::

Happiness

Happily, my eyes, physically, are not capable of seeing detail at a distance. I’m spared sloppy details and instead I’m gifted a wonderful impression of the whole.

::

Success

Sure, the thought of success as a poet is wonderful, success and general understanding. And some form of break is needed—if we want to discuss that—if one is to survive as a poet. But that aside, I feel that the most important thing for me is to love and to be loved. The union that emerges from a true and pure relationship is, as far as I’m concerned, the same as the foundation for poetic intensity.

I don’t know whether I could write something happy and at the same time honest if that prerequisite were unfilled. Erase this part of me, and you would find a melancholy person who, although still with the drive to write, would only be a shell for a dreary soul. It is my success as a person that places the materialistic gains in a more or less unessential light.

::

The Tree of Silence

There stands a bare birch, top high above the rooftops. I see it from my window. The trunk seems to carry all this world’s silence on its branches, its tips, heavy with dumb ice, seem to gaze at death.

Once, these branches carried life; green leaves, beautiful symbols. Is it because it misses all this wonder that the tree seems to sad? I feel the tree’s presence, am influenced by it, fascinated. The thought that this trunk will once again carry life shakes me to happiness. The thought that nature has indeed created resurrection.

Right now it appears to me that the trunk is a corpse, the tree as a whole a grave yard. The thought that our dead will bloom again lifts my soul.

::

Hopelessness

Tonight my thoughts want to be replaced by words; words that together will form a large, jelly-like mass. In this mass of letters, everything will be compared to what I so often want to call the truth; and then this new, hard film will develop. So hard that not a single syllable can bubble out into freedom.

::

A Mother

I am always awestruck by the elation I feel after a conversation with a mother. Maybe not all mothers are alike, but most of all, and I would like to say all, possess the fine magic of motherly love. I feel it, am seized by it, elated by it. I’m filled by the thoughtfulness a mother radiates, and I grow to feel the hope that this love is directed towards all children, of all ages.

What, then, makes a mother? I think about my own, and find that all mothers are beautiful, if not always on the outside, a beauty which makes me dream about a divine love for sincerity and truth.

The mother I am now thinking of is indirectly a part of me since she bore the child I love so deeply, maybe that’s why she paints me the picture of woman with these gilded nuances.

I wish I were the son of all the world’s women, as I would then always be loved beyond my space of thought, and the prayer I now breathe is that all mothers, those who’ve lived, those who live and those who will live, always will remain what she is born to be; a symbol for life, with the enchantment of life’s happiness inscribed in burning letters in her heart.

::

Consolation

Night, but sleep refuses to obey. The peace I seek rushes away from me like a madman on the run. How deeply am I not longing for this release, this refuge. But not, the shackles of being awake have been forged to my feet.

And I can’t, despite many desperate attempts, find the source to my worry. Where shall I actually look? In the disgust of now or in the mystique of the past. Before me lies a dying world, a world that in sheer stupidity is racing towards an inescapable nightmare. When will it wake up? I ask for the world’s morning with the same tone as I ask for my own night.

Who created this hysteria? What is the root of this evil and this treadmill? The questions pile up in their efforts to force out of me whatever little oxygen I still have left.

When I look back at the departed day I see myself as a rootless shadow about to slip out of myself. Can nobody prevent me, can nobody stop this hot avalanche. What a swine I must be. Now, that happiness is at its peak I’m threatening myself with my own weapons. Still, everything seems like a phantasm, like a vision of hell. I don’t want to believe, and I can’t believe that this is life, it must be a warning: Don’t fly to high, you foolhardy humans. Don’t trust the clouds. They are dead, without a soul, without

understanding.

But who’s to say that a soul cannot find its way up there, up to the planet of universal love, in its chrysalis of happiness. That’s what I want to believe in; yes, that’s where my hope is trying to reach.

::

Divorce

Now that I sit down at my desk, I do so with the conviction that I consist of both body and soul. Notice that I say conviction. I certainly had strong suspicions before, but no inner proof.

The latch to my brain’s gate, for the last nineteen years frozen shut by rust, has been steeped in the oil of revelation and now opens with ease.

I look at my writings and find that my soul has been striving for freedom, and temporarily found it in my poems. It has even quite often called itself by name, but never with sufficient emphasis. I have now, however, in a long exchange of meaning with someone convinced, myself found this feeling of relief. With the help of occurrences, proofs and above all, logic, we led me forward to my soul; a poor soul, that for so long has been forced to live within a doubter.

The incidents of the last few months should already have led me to this knowledge, but the feeling inside was partially unidentifiable, and it has also been obscured by doubt, a doubt, although not strong enough to hide and suppress happiness and love; still a doubt. But now, when I view this from the side of light I want to equate yesterday’s incident to my first real sighting of the soul.

My darling, yes it is she who helped me, consciously as well as unconsciously. This gift from Happiness. Her homeland’s beauty knows no limits. The wonderful powers’ mercy that brought us together is so ungraspable that not even the brush of dream owns a right to paint them. My darling, who’s understanding and love has braided me an ecstasy high above all that can be described. She has helped me, and I must, as so often before, bow down and give thanks.

For a long, long time in our relationship my soul has made its presence felt without my direct awareness of it. Then, last night it stepped out in its almost feverish urge to prove its existence. We had met, enjoyed, made high love, shared feelings, dreamed, talked, yes, we had done everything that this fate-surrounded relationship has given our lives; when our subconscious agreed that we must part for a day. Of course, a day is only a day, its temporary, but it is still a parting. For both of us, this prospect took the shape of an unconditional trial, a necessary test of character.

Now, normal earthly logic may question the value in a twenty hour long divorce, but, oh, it was a test. It was a fight so filled with suffering and inward tears that not even a fraction of the contents of its width can be painted; a fight so filled with anguish that no one who doesn’t know his soul could even begin to fathom it.

And what, the bodily logic still wonders, could have evoked these torture-like feelings; I answer, after denying the pains, we felt it was right, we were convinced, and it was no real pain, despite the suffering; I answer that it was our souls.

It was our hidden ambers, those that most often without the body’s knowledge influence and is influenced. These concrete symbols for all feeling at this moment played a part that led their earthly shapes into the depth of each other.

We smiled, laughed, shuddered, cried, kissed and tore. Our eyes glowed with an inner glow that far surpassed the sun’s. Our tenderness was a direct manifestation of the spiritual contact we owned and own. This entire long row of expressions, now in hindsight, gives me a clear and enlightened picture of my soul. I know that it exists, and that it, together with hers, often will race out in a blissful dance in an unknown dimension.

::

Verbatim Translation of Charles Baudelaire, the poem:

A look of fiery yellow,

a spear of dread,

concealed in dark currents,

flowed and swirled out

of the body’s earthly dreams.

It slowly lowered itself

from the hidden halls of time,

as if to ask the soul to come

to where the voices of

past centuries are heard.

But the space of thought

froze to anguish

in the hypnosis of this death

as the soul still was too frail

to be torn from its stall.”

An attempt to make it a poem in English as well:

A fiery look, a spear of dread,

in dark and hidden streams,

it flowed and swirled,

and rose and fled

the body’s earthly dreams.

Then slowly sank towards my eyes

from past and hidden halls,

as if to bid the soul to rise

to hear the ancient calls.

But space of thought froze still

and quailed,

transfixed by this death’s fall,

as my soul was yet too frail

to rise and leave it’s stall.

::

In a Fight With Two Faces

I met a day. It was sunny and warm, and it shared all my happiness. It let my song echo out in painted feelings in her sky. “This is the life that so many without any reason want to make dark,” I thought. And the sun shone even more wonderful.

“Wonderful day,” I said, “you are the only one who understands to let my happiness echo in the soul.” Her answer stretched from the western shore to the eastern, and the sun gave my soul even more beautiful nuances.

“Wonderful day,” I said. “I always want to live like this. You and me. We will always help each other and make each other happy, even if my contribution most likely will be the lesser.” Once again the sky pearled a laughter from its rush of joy.

When I awoke the next day, I was still intoxicated by my days experience, and I rushed out of bed to greet my newly found friend as soon as possible, but my heart was filled by loving sympathy, yes compassion, when I saw my day’s heavily sad countenance from my window. Its entire sky was subdued by dark and rain-heavy clouds and tears ran in all grooves and crevices I could see down on the ground.

“Wonderful day, now it’s my turn to fill you up with happiness,” I said. “Yes, I feel now that you also need me. Lovely sky, wonderful day.” But my friend showed no sign of the happiness of reunion, the day continued to cry and the clouds remained dark. “But, my darling morning, don’t you recognize me, I’m your friend, don’t you remember? Don’t you remember the wonderful games we passed the time with before the sun set. I remember, I still feel. Take this, I still have all that happiness, take all you need, you can have it. Just don’t look so sad. I just want to help you.”

But the day sighed even deeper. “Listen to me, my lovely friend,” I said. “I’m willing to use all my strength, all my love, and however much loving patience is needed to make you happy again. I ask you once again. Please take this, look, you can have all my happiness, my tenderness. Or is there anything else I can do for you. Tell me?”

The day now sighed and cried so hard that my face stung. “Oh, my day, you break my heart. What can I do then? I’m suffering with you.”

And the young man went out and sat down in the wet grass and cried. His grief was honest as it sprung from love. His pain-filled longing tormented him towards the dark. The night came and covered the youth with a cruel sheet of cold. The tears turned to ice and the sighs to storm, but the faithful lover still remained in love-fueled sympathy. And so through the night.

In the early dawn the wind died and the dark veils floated away beyond the horizon. The first golden rays of the sun dressed the field in gold and made the dead youth’s hair flare up like a heart.

But the soul gave birth to me again and as a morning gift I this time received the most valuable of all, the key to love. The soul said: “Don’t let the gloomy day torment you to death, because it suffers with the strength of the universe, which makes it suffer within itself. Even if your tears would drown the rain, they may as well be lost in the sea, as you tears will never fully mix. Instead, let the day suffer for the day, and you for you. Then life will fill you again tomorrow, because you should know, the sun never dies.”

::

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