Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Lars Gustafsson

PARADISE

The swamp, forbidden to enter
Dangerous depths with purple loosestrife and bitter clover.
The salamanders that we caught
and called ‘water lizards’.

They were supposed to cause warts on fingers
Because they themselves had warts.

Surely extinct now. Who needs them?
Suddenly the boy was twenty years old.

Ahead of him, life,
extending endlessly like the plains of Kurland.

The creeks. The salamanders.
We took it all away.

No one else.

HET PARADIJS

Het moeras, verboden te betreden
Gevaarlijk diep met kattenstaart en waterplanten.
De salamanders die wij vingen
en ‘waterhagedissen’ noemden.

Ze zouden wratten op je vingers veroorzaken.
Omdat ze zelf vol wratten zaten.

Vast en zeker uitgestorven nu. Wie kan het wat schelen?
Plotseling was het joch twintig jaar.

Voor hem lag het lange leven.
Als de Kurlandse vlakte.

De beek. De salamanders.
Wij waren het die alles wegnamen

Niemand anders.

PARADISET

Kärret, förbjudet att beträda
Farligt djupt med fackelblomster och nate.
Salamandrarna som vi fångade
och kallade ‘vattenödlor’.

De ansågs ge vårtor på fingrarna.
Eftersom de själva var vårtiga.

Säkert utdöda nu. Vem bryr sig?
Plötsligt var pojken tjugo år gammal.

Framför honom låg långa livet.
Som kurländska slätten.

Bäcken. Salamandrarna.
Det var vi som tog bort alltsamman

Ingen annan.
Close

PARADISE

The swamp, forbidden to enter
Dangerous depths with purple loosestrife and bitter clover.
The salamanders that we caught
and called ‘water lizards’.

They were supposed to cause warts on fingers
Because they themselves had warts.

Surely extinct now. Who needs them?
Suddenly the boy was twenty years old.

Ahead of him, life,
extending endlessly like the plains of Kurland.

The creeks. The salamanders.
We took it all away.

No one else.

PARADISE

The swamp, forbidden to enter
Dangerous depths with purple loosestrife and bitter clover.
The salamanders that we caught
and called ‘water lizards’.

They were supposed to cause warts on fingers
Because they themselves had warts.

Surely extinct now. Who needs them?
Suddenly the boy was twenty years old.

Ahead of him, life,
extending endlessly like the plains of Kurland.

The creeks. The salamanders.
We took it all away.

No one else.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère