Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Once the memory of the Spring Flood had receded
I noticed that on account of "faulty navigation"
Noah's Ark had gotten stranded on the top of Mt. Big Aigert:
despite its considerable dimensions no one seemed to notice it
stuck there as it was with its stern tipped slightly upwards,
leaning over the precipice. All the mountain animals
had begun to pour out of its interior,
and seemed almost to tumble down the steeps–
lemming and lynx, bear, squirrel, fox,
otter, moose and wolverine and certainly not least the hare
who in the early morning sun down on the Dårra headland
was to lift his prayer to the rainbow
there among the twinkling waterdrops of the grass.
Rimbaud himself came walking down the mountain
dressed in a blue coat common among Laps
who lived and fished in Norway say a century ago;
he was bareheaded and his lank black hair
blew like wild in the western wind!
When we shook hands, I felt at once that his were strong.
He was in high spirits despite the grounding
and he told us he'd been heading "north-wards," Nor-wege–
towards Norway in the etymological sense–
to study fjords, rains, and sun right on the spot.
His real name of course was Rainbow!
That's why Tjulträsk Lake suited him so perfectly–
everything was here, and most of all there was a slope
which he was planning to use one day in his paraphrase
of the Gospel according to Matthew, where
Jesus feeds the people
on the mountainside: five loaves and two fish
would suffice, no need for a miracle at all
since there were only such a few of us
here at the tree line, among the increasingly whiter
Translated from the Swedish by John Matthias and Lars-Håkan Svensson
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
Reflecting on three monumental works of modernism—James Joyce’s Ulysses, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus—a hundred years on.
Both regulators and employers have embraced new technologies for on-the-job monitoring, turning a blind eye to unjust working conditions.
But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.