lördagen den 31:e juli 2010
It's like, you know...
It's hard to express just what you feel sometimes. It's like, you know...
And that is the heart of literature, of art: wanting to explain something and not quite knowing how to do it. So you brood and brood. And then, after some days, or years, you've got it - you've found the way to express that certain emotion. And then you go on to create A Masterpiece.
By the way, what is the "corn" in "corned beef"? Have they "corned" the beef, and if so, how?
The same thing goes with "corndog", a sort of meaty fastfood, sausage aint it? What's the CORN in that one?
Corny I say.
I'm sitting here in the heart of the city, in the hubbub of the city... Yea, verily: hubbub, blub-blub... blowing bubbles under the water, like saying "blum-blub" when the Deluge hits us, should be due 2012 if all goes well. That'll be the end of this shitty civilisation, cleaning the slate for a new round, a new deal for sure, the wave fertilizing all the soil in the process. Until then, invest in gold and silver, pack your rucksack with waterproof bags, put on your moneybelt and sack and wait for the Deluge.
And then, start swimming! It'll be easy if you have some air in your rucksack bags.
So we live in the best of days. If there are problems, good, that'll only hasten the downfall, worsen the shit that'll be cleaned out by the Wave, the Deluge brought about by the passage of some megaplanet.
In 2012, watch the skies!
torsdagen den 29:e juli 2010
Recently I wrote about Coleridge's The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner. Now I'll go on with the show, even reaching some sort of conclusion.
In my first post I told about this and that, about the mariner going about some trials and tribulations on a certain sea voyage. He is for example freed from a certain curse but not entirely saved as his shipmates have become undead ghouls in the process. Anyhow, the journey continues. The ship is ushered on from beneath by a benign water-spirit, having helped the ship previously during the voyage:
Under the keel nine fathom deep,
from the land of mist and snow,
the spirit slid: and it was he
that made the ship to go.
Note the style here: a mix between lyricism and epic poetry. Epical poems went out of style soon after this one (or had already), i. e. in the early 19th century, but at the same time Coleridge was a lyrical poet so in this sense he was able to communicate with the modern audience. And today's audience too as his work is timeless.
The curse is off but still the mariner is surrounded by his undead crew mates, looking at him with empty eyes ("all fixed on me their stony eyes, / that in the moon did glitter"). On they go, gliding over the water's surface if by wind or magic I don't know, and then the mariner descries something familiar: the harbour town, his home port, the one they left so long ago for this fateful journey.
Oh! dream of joy! is this indeed
the light-house top I see!
Is this the hill? is this the kirk?
is this mine own countree?
Into the harbour they sail. And at the same time the souls of the undead sailors take leave of their earthly vessels, having become shiny seraphs aiming for heaven:
This seraph-band, each waved his hand:
it was a heavenly sight!
They stood as signals to the land,
each one a lovely light;
This seraph-band, each waved his hand,
no voice did they impart -
no voice; but oh! the silence sank
like music on my heart.
The conclusion is well nigh.
- - -
Yeah, verily: a pilot approaches - and the great ship suddenly sinks. The mariner is rescued aboard the pilot boat and is rowed ashore. And then he's off to tell his story to anyone he meets ("this soul has been alone on a wide, wide sea"...).
This poem has many esoterical, pious traits, like the water-spirit, the sea-creatures that become friendly and the penance with the albatross hung around the neck. And at the end we have a certain hermit along in the pilot boat: "He singeth loud his godly hymns / that he maketh in the wood." And:
This hermit good lives in that wood
which slopes down to the sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears!
He loves to talk with marineres
that come from a far countree.
He kneels at morn, and noon, and eve -
he hath a cushion plump:
it is the moss that wholly hides
the rotted old-oak-stump.
The framework of the poem is the mariner telling his story to a certain wedding guest, right before the ceremony is about to beging. That's where it starts off and that's where it ends, the mariner saying this to the wedding guest:
Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
to thee, thou wedding-guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
all things both great and small;
for the dear God who loveth us,
he made and loveth all.
"Love, yeah baby, that's the secret", as Louis Armstrong says in the intro to "What a Wonderful World"... I like this conclusion, I like the pious traits of it all. The Rime isn't just some romantical outing, some stylistical showing off - no, it's a downright religious, esoterical, finely vibrating piece of crystalline beauty, the religious feeling being expressed in symbolical terms and not going about it with psalm-song, priests and Bible-beating and all that jazz.
(Illustration by Gustave Doré for this selfsame poem. As for myself I own an edition with illos by Mervyn Peake, good ones I'd say.)
onsdagen den 28:e juli 2010
Samborombom a little town without street, not long from The River Plate...
I'm trying to translate som Evert Taube for you, a latter-day Bellman if you will. But never mind that.
I'm a Swedish Swede writing a blog in Bad English, or maybe not so bad. Maybe I'm just fishing for compliments...? I blog for fun, I blog for my own pleasure, but some comments could be fun. However, I KNOW there are some readers to this site, maybe just Swedes who read my Swedish blog Svenssongalaxen, but that's not so bad for starters.
Today it's wednesday. Or do you write that with a capital W, like Wednesday? In English you never know, there's a lot of conventions about spelling. Ho, hum.
Yesterday I wrote about Coleridge's Rime. I'll get on with that some other day. Today I'm just thrilled at being me, at sitting in my condo and listening to the traffic on Main Street. I live in a city somewhere, I call it City City when I feel like it - an archetypical town, a model city, a city that is every city. It's Anytown, forever soaring in the back of my mind - and yours - with its squares, fountains, towerblocks and terraces, its detached houses and shops, cafés, restaurants and industries, its harbour and railroad and motorway: "3-5-7-9, double white line" as Tom Robinson sang.
tisdagen den 27:e juli 2010
The Rime, The Rime, I love this Rime. All of it. But I can't just go on and quote it all, can I?
No. I have to begin with some random lines. Like the ones Iron Maiden quoted in their eponymous song, "The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner" on their 1985 album Powerslave:
Day after day, day after day,
we stuck, nor breath nor motion;
as idle as a painted ship
upon a painted ocean.
Water, water, every where,
and all the boards did shrink;
water, water every where
nor any drop to drink.
Catchy lines, vividly capturing the desolation of the ill-fated ship in these death-marked waters. It's the curse of the albatross, the bird that the mariner hath slain. And why did he do that? It's not clear, he just did it, a boyish deed that comes with bad karma. He shot it with bow and arrow, took the majestical bird down from its flight in the skies above the ship.
And there's more: there's Death itself approaching, or, to be precise, Death and Death-In-Life, whatever that means. Spooky it is though, and even spookier when some accursed sea-creatures surrounds the mariner's ship, the ship he now sails alone as the crew have been pixilated by Death's curse:
Beyond the shadow of the ship,
I watched the water-snakes:
they moved in tracks of shining white,
and when they reared, the elfish light
fell off in hoary flakes.
Within the shadow of the ship
I watched their rich attire:
blue, glossy green, and velvet black,
they coiled and swam; and every track
was a flash of golden fire.
O happy living things! no tongue
their beauty might declare:
a spring of love gushed from my heart,
and I blessed them unaware:
sure my kind saint took pity on me,
and I blessed them unaware.
The selfsame moment I could pray;
and from my neck so free
the albatross fell off, and sank
like lead into the sea.
Symbolic aint it? The bird hung around his neck falls off and light shines in, the curse seems to be lifted, allayed, tempered - but it's still there! The trials and tribulations are not over, this ride has many facets. The mariner still has to travel across many-a dark waters and desolate seas. More on this in a later post.
måndagen den 26:e juli 2010
I'm a singer and a poet, I sing in the loo.
that's what we sing in Sweden
in Eurovision and soo.
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine,
oh yes, oyez, you 'd better obey -
obey The Bey, Ardath Bey,
the wise ol' Egyptian,
the adept and scholar,
the mystic, the rustic,
the king of it all.
I sing for fun, I blog on the net,
writing my poesy for all and sundry.
This blog fares well, there are readers
and stuff, visitors in the night.
It all fares well - so I bid you,
for now, farewell!
You've just read a poem by me, Lennart Svensson, the editor and proprietor of this blog. There seems to be some visitors to this site and for that I'm glad. I mean, I haven't pushed it on the marketplace, haven't advertised it and exchanged links with other sites. The pure existence of an English language blog by Svensson seems to create buzz enough!
(Temple of Debod, Egypt)
tisdagen den 20:e juli 2010
It's striking how many secular songs are religious in all but name. Take for instance the ten-minute-or-so "A saucerful of secrets" by Pink Floyd (2nd LP) which ends in a section called "celestial voices", and of course that's what it is, celestial: a mind-rendering, uplifting, tear-drenching Bachian choir piece with organ and all. The Pink Floyd were never known for outright spiritual leanings, but here...
Then there's Judas Priests "Solar Angels" on their "Point Of Entry" album, a hymn about angels in a science fantasy context. Theres no mistaking about the soaring quality of the song, the hymnic quality. A religious song by an un-religious group, mainly singing 'bout partying and violence.
Then of course you could mention Beatles "Hey Jude": genuinely secular, not spiritual or religious in content - but in its heart it's got a religious feel to it.
Then we have Enya's albums ("The Celts", "Shepherd Moons") which to me seems to contain nothing but psalms, secular psalms, beautifully so. And we have the song "Wedding" by The Hep Stars, we have Hendrix electrical church music and, as some person suggested to me, "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" by Procul Harum. Maybe this one is genuinely religious with all its "Vestal Virgins" etc but it's hardly sung at church. But in its essence it is a religious song I would say, a hymn to higher worlds.
(Altar, Milan Cathedral)
måndagen den 19:e juli 2010
I'm a legend in my lunchtime, a poet and a pundit, a king and a clown, for ever seeking Harmony, Beauty and Spiritual Love.
I seek and I find, the journey's over, I've arrived. "Home is the sailor, home from the sea / and the hunter is home from the woods" as Stevenson put it. Or, as I myself am putting it:
The Pilgrim went out in to the desert
and there he found a flower,
who said "pick me, I'm nice".
So the Pilgrim picked it and
right then he just knew
this was the Flower Of Love.
Shall I stay in this desert he mused
or shall I bring this Flower Of Love
to the people, let them rejoice
in its beauty and marvel at the colours?
From desert plains I bring you love...
From desert plains I bring you love...
With these lines from Judas Priest,
those Metal Gods of yore,
the Pilgrim went along and headed
for The Great City, whose lustre
shone ever so brightly beyond the horizon
of the nocturnal desert.
(The lovely picture is "Desert Flower" by alien9875.)
söndagen den 18:e juli 2010
I'm flying on the wings of poetry. I soar across purple skies, mellow-yellow and bottle green, golden rose and misty blue. And dark grey ones too, pitch black and poisonous green, absinthe and neon red.
Whether foul or fine I'm all out there, dreaming of a song, a melody that haunts my reverie, a melody sung by H. P. Lovecraft in his collection of sonnets:
His solid flesh had never been away,
for each dawn found him in his usual place,
but every night his spirit loved to race
through gulfs and worlds remote from common day.
He had seen Yadith, yet retained his mind,
and come back safely from the Ghooric zone,
when one still night across curved space was thrown
that beckoning piping from the voids behind.
He waked that morning as an older man,
and nothing since has looked the same to him.
Objects around float nebulous and dim -
false, phantom trifles of some vaster plan.
His folk and friends are now an alien throng
to which he struggles vainly to belong.
To all you merry weather-messiahs out there this one might be a bit of a downer. But you can't always have sunny skies, there's got to be a little shade too so that you can fully appreciate the light.
I Wanna Be Seen Green
lördagen den 17:e juli 2010
He was totally out there. His imagination was 3-D, 4-D, you name it, gleaming in every possible and impossible colour of this world and the next.
The narrator is visiting a village where a certain Festival is about to take place. They dress in gothic robes, they gather at the church, they chant Hum-A-Drum-Drum and then descend a stair into a neglected cave.
Yea, verily. And finally there, in the murky depths of that cave, what do they see? They see this:
Out of the unimaginable blackness beyond the gangrenous glare of that cold flame, out of the tartarean leagues through which that oily river rolled uncanny, unheard, and unsuspected, there flopped rythmically a horde of tame, trained, hybrid winged things that no sound eye could ever wholly grasp, or sound brain ever wholly remember. They were not altogether crows, nor moles, nor buzzards, nor ants, nor vampire bats, nor decomposed human beings; but something I cannot and must not recall. They flopped limply along, half with their webbed feet and half with their membraneous wings; and as they reached the throng of celebrants the cowled figures seized and mounted them, and rode off one by one along the reaches of that unlighted river, into pits and galleries of panic where poison springs feed frightful and undiscoverable cataracts.
A man writing stuff like this this can't be sane, he must have some extraordinary quality of seeing things, a glorified third eye hooked to the grotesque and the arabesque. Love him!
The story in question is called "The Festival" and was written in the 1920's. And the author's name is of course H. P. Lovecraft.
fredagen den 16:e juli 2010
How sweet it is...! Oh I dare say.
What then, what do I say? I say: how sweet to express yourself in poetry. It's so tight, so dense, so full of information in the tiniest space possible.
So enough of my yakking, whaddaya say, let's boogie:
I search for tomorrow,
search for a read,
search for a blogpost,
search for some fun...
So how 'bout that apatia they talk about:
enjoy the silence, enjoy nothingness,
shûnyatâ... how is it done, how...?
Just sit down and dream, la-la-la...
think about nothing, the nothingness now...
I am nothing, I am void, space, infinity...
extinction - and expansion, evolution:
I have become Cosmos, the galaxy whirl:
"sarva-loka-pravriddha", dance with me Shiva...
torsdagen den 15:e juli 2010
I live in the Swedish county of Angermanland, by the Bothnian Sea. But I haven't always lived here; some 40 years ago I was born in the county of Lapland, situated inland and to the north-west of Angermanland.
Both Lapland and Angermanland are northern provinces. They are part of NORRLAND as we call it, a mythical part of Sweden just like Scotland of the Bristish Isles or, say, Texas or some other rough-hewn part of the U. S.
I'm a Northlander. "En norrlänning" as we say. The following poem tells about my northern heritage, with some references to the books by Castaneda that I always will treasure.
My voyage began in the heart of Lapland
among drumming noids and yoiking saamis.
I danced to the rythm, sang to the northern light,
praised my creator and began my journey.
I lived among the flowers and the trees,
I read about gurus past and present,
and skimming the shelves of fantastic libraries
I found the Book of Books.
It was about a man in the moon
who flew with crows, talked
with lizards and danced with Zacateca.
He jumped into an abyss, listened
to the flowers and talked with
a coyote. He was human.
The voyage continues. In the misty Andees
there is a beverage called "the black gold";
I have drunken it - and I have seen the promised land...
I'm just a human - I'm just a human -
I'm just a human - I'm just a human being...
Every day I brew some of that fluent gold
on my Brewmatic, and dream of condors
and eagles, silver crows, and giant butterflies
with golden dust on their wings.
My collection of Castaneda books dwells safely
on my shelf. The Laplandic sceneries of my youth
is always with me. The black gold is still worth seeking.
The voyage continues...
onsdagen den 14:e juli 2010
The five worst Philip K. Dick Novels, how about that for a controversy? Let me just say that I luuurv Dick, make no mistake about it, but to generate some comments I've decided to seek out the worst books by PKD.
And here they are.
A Maze Of Death - you've got it, death-death, desolation and drug-induced paranoia such as insects with guns... This simply doesn't rock. (However, I've still got the book and won't sell it. It still kinda "radiates quality". It's the magic of the author's name I guess.)
Dr. Bloodmoney Or How We Got Along After The Bomb - you can't write about The Bomb, it goes beyond human drama, then as well as now.
The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch - all in all a great book but I'm bothered by the setting in an Earth plagued by scorching sunshine. It doesn't contribute to the story, other than saying we shall pity the characters.
Eye In The Sky - again a good book compared to many others, however the framing of the characters (right-wing guy, prissy secretary, religious fanatic) is a bit too on-the-spot, a Simpson's-like satire, i e not hard-hitting at all. And all the railings against religion are trite; later on he learned better in that respect.
The Man In The High Castle - Nazis bad, Japs innately good, now that's "a bedtime-story for the children of the damned" I'd say.
Here Begynneth my new blog, an English blog for your reading pleasure.
The blog is written by me, small wonder eh...? And as for "me", well, I am me. Who are you?
"I yam what I yam" as Popeye had it. But to be a little less enigmatic I can say that my name is Svensson and I live where I live, in Härnösand, Sweden to be precise.
Today's date is the 14th of July. It's July, 14th. It's mid-July and the blog is up and running. I already have a Swedish blog, here you go.