ur “Mozarts Tredje Hjärna” / from “Mozart’s Third Brain”

by Göran Sonnevi / translation by Rika Lesser


    Objective music  A concept I continually 
    return to  Or rather: a reality  Because the sound is
    inescapable, within me   Because we are
    palintropic beings?  What are they?  Returning, always
    recursive, time created again and again, in its interior
    spherical form   A hypersphere; of a growing number of dimensions
    Memory’s recognitions  Near-identity  For we are
    never alike  Or:  all-too-alike, in our mental automata
    But we transcend   The motorics of the fingers moves   The motorics
    of the soul  The selfsame movement  Until something breaks out
                                                                                         A wing
    From which pair of wings?  Birds fly at breakneck speed, in an uproar

    New wars   Rwanda  Yemen  San’a’ is attacked with Scud-missiles
    Bloated corpses float in the turbid river from which
    refugees draw water  While spring explodes here
    All the flowers, birds   The ash tree’s dark violet flowers
    In the ravine wood anemones, lesser celandine, and hollow-root, Corydalis
    , rare   Fragrant balsam poplars, grown wild
    From the bridge we see a big pike, streaking across
    the bottom in shallow water  Full of algae
    On the pike’s back some kind of thread-shaped growths  Parasites?
    A wild duck squeaks  We look for the mourning cloak in the still clear
    hazel thicket, but it is not there   The nuthatch calls
    In the evening we drink wine, make love, twice
    then we watch an old film, 8 1/2, don’t watch the news
    It doesn’t hold up   The circus people can no longer simply move on  Who
                                                                                      needs it?
    Stravinsky asked, about the new music  The chaffinches are singing
    I need the music  I listen to its unfamiliar sounds  There
                                                                         is no repetition
    I hear the resonance of war; its complete brutality; its
                                                             abrogation of value
    But that’s not it  Standing wounded before one another
                                                                   we can also open. . .

    The raging storm takes fire  When the wounds of political
    silence open up under the skin   The white
    hell opens   All righteousness   All pride   All
    shame  At what is on my hands, what
    cleaves to me  I am publicly thanked  But I can’t
    take it  No one has the right to thank me
    Yes, it’s true, I say, about my having written a poem in 1965
    about the war in Vietnam   That I then wrote several more,
    took part in the solidarity movement, onward to victory
    I add: Those years have left a deep mark on my life   I feel
    I’m not being understood; a smile comes to my lips
    Earlier I refused to recite the poem   I look at
    Bao Ninh, the author of a realistic novel about the war
    He sits absolutely quiet, drinks wine  Knows no foreign languages
    I myself feel utterly foreign  It is my lot to play host to
    all that is foreign  Unconditional hospitality  The conditions are the same
    I cannot repeat anything   But I know that I would
    do the same thing, again, against that war   I talk about you,
    dearest, who had come home in the afternoon and spoken about
    a 13-year-old Vietnamese girl you met at a school, who said
    there were two things she liked in Sweden: democracy, and
    that you were allowed to criticize your teachers   I tell this
    to my friends  With official representatives I cannot speak—

    For the first time a major reconciliation  Perhaps  Yesterday 
    Nelson Mandela took an oath as president of South Africa   In a
    simultaneous liberation of Africans and Boers  Never  Never  Never
    again, shall this beautiful land need to experience oppression, or
    suffer the shame of being regarded as the scum of the earth, said Mandela
    But we do not know   The white extremists suddenly seem to be few and
    The strength, the power of transformation  Amandla   With the same force as
    pain   But in the moment of liberation as if without resistance
    The light streaming from people’s faces, in lines at
    their polling places, with their same human value  That strength
    But all power is transformed   In the wear, the tear, toward other
    attractors   Once before I praised a victory; which became bitter
    This time it is something else   Law   Democracy   Peaceful means—
    I know, everything simultaneously carries its opposite   As does this reservation


The indirect quotation given in the Swedish text has been rendered here. Mandela’s exact words were: "Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world."