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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism
(1969)

Sonnevi, Göran
Part VII: poems of vision and action: zero,   p. 425 PDF (792.2 KB)


Page 425

TWO TRANSLATIONS FROM THE
SWEDISH BY ROBERT BLY:
ZERO
by Goran Sonnevi
Lasse Sdderberg and Gbran Sonnevi are
two of Sweden's important younger poets.
Sonnevi is the most famous of the younger
political poets. Born in 1939, he studied
at the University of Lund and now lives
near Stockholm, spending his time entirely
in poetry and political work. His
sympathies lie with the Swedish National
Liberation Front. Lasse Soderberg is
slightly older, a long-time advocate of
political content in poetry. He is the
inventor of the American General Gluff-Gluff.
There's more light when I fall asleep than when I wake
That means:
my private death, but
also -the world's
economy spinning faster
life and death
going around wildly
There's more light when I fall asleep
I'm asleep now
No one can wake me
Facing the Alfa Laval factory a smaller plant:
once the Clio Works, now
The Scandanavian Gear Factory, Inc.
I feel the wheels
going faster, lights flashing on and off
once a minute, once a second
I'm alive in microseconds
I'm nearly dead
The bones in my skull
have stopped expanding
I'm shrinking
going around so fast
I look motionless and now:
zero!
The dark circle is opening disappears
The private agony is opening
all of us here
are vanishing Pain
is opening
We don't live any more
We start things
Start to open wake up
The bed, the house keels over, shaking, rocking
The sun goes on burning
through every window in the house
it rolls in
I've got in my skullbones, what is
waking up, what
is sleeping, wants to get out It is
the bomb
that I've got in my skull that wants
to get out
The private bomb Our only defense
against FEAR OF CHINA You've
got it You're afraid
WITH HEART-CHALK
by Lasse Sbderberg
Walt Whitman, what has become of your
America? What has become of that powerful
affection that you sang of
and the institutions that you distrusted?
You intimate speech-maker for democracy
what has become of your sons?
Led by moronic technocrats
they wallow in the odor of gold
and are swallowed up in the latrines
of racehate where the whitest grubs do best.
Your America is no longer yours.
Therefore using my own heart-chalk
I write the word Vietnam old Walt
Whitman swiftly across your name.
425


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