Eva-Stina Byggmästar, trans. Pamela Robertson-Pearce
from Locus Amoenus
Do you remember
the playful rose-glitter, but tell,
do you remember an emerald spring?
Yes, I remember red coral trees,
motley mussels and carp,
just like the dance of the Nereids
and the troll garden valleys.
Do you remember, you beautiful donna
in a crinoline, pointed shoes and a toque hairstyle.
I remember, how you floated around
with a small basket decorated with rosettes
filled with walnuts and dewy roses.
Remember how beautifully you read to me,
a poem about how everything buzzes,
breathes and laughs!
Remember, a room with high French windows
and an ottoman, a room scented with spices—
of carnations, ginger, cinnamon—and cocoa!
Remember, how you pulled me close,
while the Egyptian cat
walked past the fountain sculpture of Venus.
In that which you call your room
you put up
woodcuts and etchings
pelargoniums and peaches.
me in your nearness,
you want that I am with you
in the same way that water
ripples through the branches
of apple trees, and roses are scented.
The afternoon light fills
the oval room, making—
with its soft armchairs
and the small coffee table—
it shine with elegance
Oh, Rose! You see,
how much more I have to learn
of love, and self-forgetfulness
and of passion—will this life
be enough for my improvement?
I shall learn to speak
of only the pleasant and lovely things
in your presence!
I shall learn to speak
only of the garden of Eden where lovers rest on divans,
leaning on soft cushions, not suffering
from the heat of the sun nor the ice cold!
I shall learn to speak about the garden
where lovers gorge on fruits,
nuts and ruby red grape juice!
For ten thousand days and nights
I shall write poems to you filled with drunk love—
yes, until my very last breath I shall speak
of nothing else but love.
Eva-Stina Byggmästar (b 1967) is a highly influential Finland-Swedish poet, the author of eighteen books of poetry, from I glassksärvornas rike in 1986 to the selected works, Naturbarn: Dikter i Urval 1986-2016. She has earned numerous prizes and awards, including the 2013 Bellman Prize from the Swedish Academy.
Pamela Robertson-Pearce is an artist, filmmaker, and translator. Her films include IMAGO Meret Oppenheim (1988/1996), on the artist who made the fur-lined teacup, and Gifted Beauty (2000), about Surrealist women artists including Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo. IMAGO Meret Oppenheim won several awards, including the Swiss Film Board's Prize for Outstanding Quality and the Gold Apple Award at the National Educational Film and Video Festival in America. She has shown her work in solo exhibitions in New York and Provincetown, and in various group shows in the US and Europe. Born in Stockholm, she grew up in Sweden, Spain and England, then lived mostly in America—also working in Switzerland and Norway—before moving to Northumberland. She co-edited the anthology Soul Food: nourishing poems for starved minds (Bloodaxe Books, 2007) with Neil Astley, and worked with him on the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets (Bloodaxe Books, 2008).