September 15th Birthday Love: Gunnar Ekelöf

Gunnar Ekelöf

Euphoria

You sit in the garden alone with your notebook, a sandwich,

                                            flask, and pipe.

It is night but so calm that the candle burns without flickering,

spreads its glow over the table of rough planks

and gleams in bottle and glass.

You take a sip, a bite, and fill and light your pipe.

You write a line or two and give yourself pause and ponder

the thin streak of evening red slowly passing to the red of morning,

the sea of wild chervil, green-white foaming in the darkness

                                            of summer night,

not one moth around the candle but choirs of gnats in the oak,

leaves so stillagaint the sky … And the aspen rustles in the

                                            stillness:

All nature strong with love and death around you.

As if were the last evening before a long, long journey:

You have the ticket in your pocket and finally everything is packed.

And you can sit and sense the nearness of the distant land,

sense how all is in all, both its end and its beginning,

sense that here and mow is both your departure and return

sense how death and life are as strong as wine inside you!

Yes, to be one with the night, one with myself, with the candle’s flame

which looks me in the eye still, unfathomable and still,

one with the aspen that trembles and whispers,

one with the crowds of flowers leaning out of darkness to listen

to something I had on my tongue to say but never got said,

something I don’t want to reveal even if I could.

And that it murmurs inside me of purest happiness!

And the flame rises … It is as though the flowers crowded

                                            nearer,

nearer and nearer the light in a rainbow of shimmering points.

The aspen trembles and plays, the evening red passes

and all that was inexpressible and distant is inexpressible and near

I sing of the only thing that reconciles,

only of what is practical, for all alike.

-Gunnar Ekelöf

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