Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gunnar Ekelöf

Even Absentmindedness Is a Magnificent Landscape

Even absentmindedness is a magnificent landscape:
Fields where they plow with oxen, a dog who barks at nothing
a straw-thatched farmhouse whose well-sweep can be seen
blue hillsides with single pines and cypresses
a background to some absent Madonna
with an absent John and a child Jesus
who grasps at the breast in a gesture of emptiness--
Because not one of them is seen, except
in evening's own transparency--, which might be their
eyes seeing out over fields lying untouched and quiet
when all the visible birds already have left
and only the invisible ones are heard migrating, still, in flights by night.

--Gunnar Ekelöf

tr. Muriel Rukeyser and Leif Sjöberg

fr. Selected Poems of Gunnar Ekelöf
[New York: Twayne Publishers, 1967]


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