Göran Sonnevi  (translated by Rika Lesser)


from Mozart's Third Brain



Which is the time of music?  I know I exist inside it, liberated
As if this were the core:  the dance, the throat, the instruments

Listening, I play   Unknown music grows out of the instrument
Time grows out of me   All the more clearly, out toward the outermost tips of the galaxies
I am a comet, I imagined when I was little, dashing
around the schoolyard, arms outspread behind me like wings. . .

Stalin, too, loved Mozart   Thus even these forms are
completely empty   Interpretations know no limits
Nor shall we have any guarantees   Art is
not an insurance company, not a question of trust, and thus not politics
Disorder is complete   In Dante I find the word modern

The deep architecture of heaven, in its turnings   In music
I hear its deep mysteriousness   I hear its openness
The birds, in their movements over the planet's surface   I see the cranes,
on the banks of Ljusnan, on the field of brown earth, between
flat patches of snow   The water dark, streaming   Heaven's abyss
moves   The fragile, stinging stars rise   How do we
touch one another's souls   In severity's order   In what can only be grace

The skinny woman of about 50, in the May Day demonstration,
who said, never again would she vote for the Social Democrats
All over her face and body she bore the mark of someone betrayed
Who speaks now for the lowest?  And in which language?

Karl is dying now   M was there yesterday, to help out with
the shelves for the LPs   Karl lay in bed the whole time, did not want
to or could hardly speak, but was there mentally   Maybe it's
the morphine, I said, that's making it hard to focus, intellectually
I got the impression, said M, that Karl has now decided
it is time   I recall the severity in Karl's face, the enormous
seriousness, the first time I was up at the offices of Aftonbladet,
in 1967, with the poem, "To the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam";
he read it in my presence   His probing examination, his concentration
How I wondered if it would hold up   In the end almost
nothing does   Except for what exists in the time that is of eternity  

The music deeper and deeper toward darkness   The prelude to Siegfried,
the tubas, the basses   Again in Mahler, Scelsi   How this touches
Europe, invoked also in Dante, in The Paradiso   The third
age will come, according to Joachim de Fiore   But this, too,
will suffer decadence, before perfection in the Last Judgment   Here
all the ages move more rapidly, everything blended, confused   Realms
succeed one another   Within each human being his time   The vector cloud of times
moves, in the stream of people   Under the mountain of the heart hubris grows

from Mozart's Third Brain:  CVII, CXI, CXII, CXIV, CXV, CXVI, CXXVIII, CXXIX, CXXX

© 2008 Electronic Poetry Review