Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Chickweed Wintergreen

There used to be a time when I was living in Gothenburg but spent most of my days on trains going back and forth along the west coast of Sweden. Back then, I was in the final stages of my PhD at Lund University and from all those indistinguishable train rides I remember equal measures of writing block and creative flow. Yesterday, as I took the high-speed train from Umeå to Stockholm, I was fortunate enough to only get the upside as in one long captivating flow. By the time the train passed through Uppsala, I felt almost ready to submit my teaching portfolio for review.

Once in Stockholm, I applied for a visa to Russia, did some essential paperwork and had a fabulous dinner with Ally high above the November dreariness before taking the night train back to Umeå. A thousand kilometres later I am in my office reading poems by Harry Martinsson, “Chickweed Wintergreen”. Sometimes it is good to take a break.

Never luxuriates.
Yet manages, sparingly
and neatly in the moss.

The flowers are delicate
but know nothing of the sweet pliancy
  you would foist on summer
The determination of the fragile
is no less than that of the oak.

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