Göran Sonnevi  (translated by Rika Lesser)


from Mozart's Third Brain



How is the tower of memory now built?  Mnemosyne's city a growing labyrinth
A swift flies under the metal roof tile of the dormer facing
the heath   Out there is the sea, with its faraway gaze   Ormöga, Snake Eye, is inland
Farthest out on the spit we saw avocets, again, grubbing in the mire
with their upcurved beaks   Slender birds, fantastic in their beauty

In horizontal sunlight, a black swan swims alone
among blinding white ones   It is somewhat smaller,
with a narrower, slightly longer neck, its red beak shining   Always
moving toward the white swans, which swim away
The sea is very calm, beneath the white moon   The redshank
flies complaining   With friends we walk across the heath by the shore            
Patches of night-scented orchids shine   We discuss Convivio, the Banquet,
a kind of summation, a kind of philosophical commentary on poetry, concretely
executed, the book unfinished   I think about Dante's politics, his acceptance
of the highest office, in Florence of the democratic principle,
how at this time he shared responsibility for Cavalcanti's banishment,
how later he lost everything   During one period of time concrete hopes for
universal empire, before these too were lost, in practical terms
I wonder if I would have said to him, too, he was already dead
Dew falls on the grass   Cavalcanti virtually said this   I think about
my own politics   How I entered the tower of nothing   Perhaps there's no
way out of nothing   Thorn roses bloom all the time, these short weeks
we are here, almost over   The wine we drink is La Diva, from the valley of Paradise
Finally we hear news from Srebrenica, the enclave has fallen,
tens of thousands of people stream out into the landscape, in headlong flight

There are people who won't even accept the justice of the underworld
The dead shall be driven from their graves   This is a complete hunger
The moonlight's reflection in the sea shines through the pine grove; mystical silver light
There is no national liberation   Perhaps neither is there universal
The empire of love exists only between individuals, in its impersonal power
And the integral?  It only moves under its blinding darkness, its stars
In the summer night only one single star shines   We hear the corncrake;
from the grove with the thorny thicket a repeated shriek, maybe an owl chick?

In which direction does the movement go   Logos—answers, responses, questions—has
no direction, in its complete intellect   Love has no logos. . .           

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

© 2008 Electronic Poetry Review