Tuesday, February 17, 2009

On All That Glides in the Air

On All That Glides in the Air

This photograph has always reminded me of my favorite poem by my father. I publish it here, abridged, with the suspicion of his consent, and the hope that no publishing agency stooge will find me. It can be found in its complete form in the collection, Elegies and Other Poems.

"On All That Glides in the Air"
By Lars Gustafsson
Translation by Christopher Middleton

My grave is still nowhere to be seen.
Thus I too glide,
resting, without knowing it.
In an ocean of air
gliding with all that glides,
living with all that lives,
resting with all that rests,
and perhaps, too, not knowing it,
dead with all that's dead.
There is no word for this.
It is a way to glide
"in the ocean of air,"
as old-fashioned ballonists did,
and this ocean of air is yourself.


So all mortals glide in the interior
of their own picture, somewhere in the twilight,
and for this gliding there is no name.
So also the signs glide over the white pages,
so the rooks glide over the snow,
good times over evil times.

So everything glides, stands as the angels stand
in an unthinkable motion,
and for the flight of the world there is no name.

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