GriegMusicScandinavian Music London

On Swedish poetry

By January 1, 2018 No Comments

I am a real Swedish fan and I do enjoy singing in Swedish. And somehow along the way I have found that I love the poetry of Bo Bergman. The poem Melodi helped me to be positive when my Dad was dying of cancer. It ran through my mind every day and showed me a land that is a gentle and beautiful threshold between life and death. It helped me to enjoy my last moments with him before I had to leave.

I love all the markerna, parkerna, händerna. strängarna ängarna sounds going on in this poem. They are simply definite article plural nouns fitting neatly into the text. And these are sweetly spun from prosody into melody by Stenhammar. The phrase left hanging in the air at the end is; “tell me who gives you the power which becomes melody”. You cant help but notice the gorgeous turn of Stenhammars melody here and so the question kind of blows me away.

I also love Bergmans poem Moonshine. The lingering radiance of the moonlight causes the houses to dream behind the closed shutters of their eyes. Similarly the radiant waves of sound cause shimmering enharmonic cadences that seem to lead into nowhere. Here reality almost diverges into fantasy and then, a second later we turn back into the home key again. We are in the park (the park!) listening to the cry of a forlorn bird. In verse four we actually glimpse Puck the Fairy, because not only us, even the moonbeams are losing their way and he is waiting in ambush.

I have been looking at another Bergman poem; Bon til Natten set to music by Stenhammars close contemporary, Ture Rangstrom. And again I listen to Bergmans simple words. But at line seven I get that lurching feel that I am learning from his wisdom. “You who alone take pity and give answers”. Night heals us and also gives us dreams that shed light on our harshest problems. Night is like a god, but we are not just flinging out adulation, we are approaching its truth. When I look carefully at this poem I notice the extra rhyme mid line that Bergman has put in and feel the sympathetic vibration of his gentle humanism. Or as Melodi has it; ”Hor jag din stammas, vaggande vagsorl til trost”.

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