Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Last Goodbye in Grötlingbo on Gotland

By Susanne Jorn


I

My father died on May 1, 1973
Everyone knew it - except me.
Because I lived all the way over
on the other side of the Atlantic
and my siblings did not phone.

When I was told I wore mourning white far into May
and slept like a Sleeping Beauty for 28 years.
Slept black – until a Danish man planted
a kiss on my lilywhite lips
and I woke up ...


II


First the stalkers erected a gravestone
for Asger Jorn in Grötlingbo on Gotland.

Then Asger Jorn's youngest son removed the stalkers’ stone
and put up another for his father:
A base for his father's bronze sculpture
that bears the inscription "Kontemplatione Fatigata" ...

It went black and white for me
at Grötlingbo cemetery
as I stood before my father's grave:
the bronze sculpture "Kontemplatione Fatigata".

I ran a fever and my eyes stung as I unsuccessfully spoke to my father's ashes.


III


At Grötlingbo cemetery next day
I called out again –

addressing my father's ashes
in Erik Nyholm's blue urn.

The lid sprang open.
Up came the Spirit
my father's ghost in the sky.

Only then
was I able to say
The Last Goodbye.

Reaching out for
the spectral-blue ghost --
but it was already invisible.

Since then
my mood has been neither
black nor white,
but all colours.

translated from Danish by David McDuff

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