Friday, 17 April 2009

Inga-Britt Wik: Three Poems

From what people who knew her have said, Inga-Britt Wik seems to have been a loner with feminist convictions. A strange combination, perhaps. And as a young woman she moved from the provinces to the capital to get an education. These qualities are hinted at in these poems:


When the telephone rings
she flicks back her hair
and answers: no he’s not at home
and stares absent-mindedly
into space as if listening.
Yes, she’ll be the same one
to come back to
with his nearness like torrents
in the blood and she is the same one
dully clattering the washing-up for
the world rests on necessities.
What the blood leaves as traces
in the mouth must be washed away daily.
The dark furrow of trust. Creased brow.
While ironing she kneads life
the heat emptying her mind.
Trapped in
the indifferent disaffection of the afternoon
she wanders through the backyards of memory
lays out their faces,
one by one, till she has discovered
another one she could have loved in order to
let the sudden fire quietly
deny its origins.

(From the collection: Fönstret, 1958)


PS from Mother Human Being

I’m the one that lives with you all
the one that is born with a feeling for the dark rooms
where life begins

you do all you can to get rid of me
lift me up onto pedestals
where I must stand and listen

it’s lonely to be worshipped
one is shut out
from ordinary life

one can’t take part in your
simple and impetuous arrangements
one is too “good” for that

I can take part in your festive days
but you are kidding yourselves
it’s not me standing there on your

pedestals – it’s only a childish copy
I myself am out there in life
with you all
it’s there you can find me

(From the collection Jack’s café, 1980)


Whether it was early or late
I don’t remember.
We ate grilled trout in a wide open
read Runeberg’s Idylls and Epigrams
to our coffee.
It seemed like the first time,
the resurrection poems speak about.

(From the collection: Skriver I dagarnas book, 2008)

These three poems come from a selection of ten, published in the literary magazine Horisont, 1/2009.

Translated from Swedish by Eric Dickens

1 comment:

David McDuff said...

I like the first poem, which really works in English, I think - it has a calm, discursive quality that masks a deeper unease.