FIVE Poems by Gungerd Wikholm


One morning, the painter has been up early, working
Now he washes his hands under the water jet
He wears a black beret, the thumb of his right hand
rubs the pinky of his left The water
sprinkles, throws itself into water, over and over
The painter looks at his hands, people walk by
Stuck in his back pocket, a book with gleaming covers
Has he read it or will he read it soon?
Does he read it over and over again, start at what page?

Water’s reply to water, all steps on the paving stones
It is morning in a small town, its name perhaps Vence


Authors are living or dead: now it is afternoon
and thunder in the air at La Cimetičre Marin, churchyard by the sea
Vessels coming in, vessels going out, cleaved water
A bloody world dimly seen in hot mist, it rattles
The quickness of lizards, the slowness of marble meet
and we stand where the dwellings of the dead shade into
those of the living, plants that climb the slope and cling
fiercely, secreting the greenest glue

“Beau ciel, vrai ciel …”, we too have changed
lost our way, blended into the blackest black, whitest white
Someone has placed a pink rose on the author’s white slab
Two fighter planes rush across the water, then again silence
The sea moves, “bites its sparkling tail”


In the river town the big wooden wheels move
to decipher the slow pattern of what is clad in moss
In the book shop windows, one picture after another
of the author, the town’s big-nosed son
Wave motion, green, as text
and water join, vaulting up
The submerged is raised, wishing wells

(Lawrence Durrell)

Down the tree-lined roads go the wagons
loaded with grapes
All our memories of
seeds and skin
The river’s water is
murky green and shallow
Let us stay here
under the leaf pattern
flickering over our faces
over our bodies
Behind high walls someone sleeps
fitfully, something barks
pants, whines
But here on a rock
the small snail, transparent
Head stretched out, unafraid
The afternoon’s tremulous light
over the vines in the fields

To spin gold out of straw as in the fairytale
wound into shimmering balls, thousands of hues
To choose one’s colors, see pieces of sky
treetops from mansard windows
Slowness, great density

Childhood’s tapestry, time overshadowed
by Belsen’s darkness, Hiroshima’s corrosive light
To dream of The Brocade City, a sanctuary

The silkworm’s riddle remains unsolved
The lady with the unicorn walks on the woven wall
La Dame a la Licorne

To spin gold out of straw
To weave Venice

Translated by Anselm Hollo

Issue Three

Editorial: The Swedish Army Knife

Gunnar Harding

Anselm Hollo

Marie Lundquist

Göran Printz-Påhlson

Göran Sonnevi

Jesper Svenbro

Pia Tafdrup

Søren Ulrik Thomsen

Tomas Tranströmer

Gungerd Wilkholm

Reviews of: Michael Anania

Reviews of: Wild Honey Press

And: The Word From Russia

Samizdat Magazine, © 2000-2001 R. Archambeau

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