Friday, 19 June 2009

Larry Silván: poems

The first sentence of Sven Willner's introduction to what, sadly, became the collected poetry of Larry Silván says it all: "Larry Silván var 21 år när han i august 1976 gick frivilligt in i döden". i.e. "Larry Silván was 21 years of age when he, in August 1976, chose to take his own life". Silván was a budding talent, but something went wrong. There are hints of schizophrenia. Nevertheless, he wrote quite a body of poems in his native Ekenäs before the perhaps inevitable end. Poems from the book appeared the next year in a collection simply entitled Larry Silván - Dikter:

native country

I am not a resident of Finland
I am not
a member of any fucking society
Finland and all
countries in the world can go to hell
I am
a child of the universe, a child of the sunset
I stand alone and see
my generation go astray in a
crazy labyrinth of machines and decisions
I see
my forest being annihilated by
a road that constantly becomes
ever wider and ever longer
by
a town that smells like shit
by
red lawn mowers that are
the pioneers of the new culture
Æsthetic beauty is promoted by
making animals extinct
Culture means
laughing at my generation
and locking it up in a madhouse

*

WHEN I REALLY DID CYCLE HOME AND PICKED CABBAGE AND TOOK DOWN THE WASHING FROM THE LINE

He had been in there for a fortnight
He'd been in there like this
and I can't describe it
But to break off
to Break Off
This is me is what I thought
my whole damned face
and I thought of going out again with the firewood
men suddenly noticed it

*

Ludde speaks about the revolution in Finland

What's wrong with Finland is that here
there are natural disasters far too rarely
said Ludde and I laughed
That's why the Finnish people are so introverted
That's why there is no real community
There is nothing that shakes people up
A big new war would be fine
Or maybe not that... but a revolution
Fucking hell how I'll laugh
the day there's a revolution
Think of all those people who are now
sitting around thinking of cuts
with their ridiculous problems
Imagine what a shock it'll be for
them when the communists suddenly take over
simply take everything from them
Everything will belong to the state and
they will be left empty-handed
Then they'll get a chance to think it all over
because they will no longer have anything to
to build up a crazy way of life around
Then they'll be forced to choose between
thinking and sinking

I forgot to ask what we would do if
there was a counter-revolution
***

Translated from Swedish by Eric Dickens

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post of Larry Silvan's poems. Beautiful and amzing poets of nordic and eastern europe countries usually we don't have access because the vacuum of translations. Another finnish poet of the same generation of Silvan which doesn't exist translation in english is Leif Farding (1951-1984). Thanks one more time! Regards.

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