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STEFAN KARLSSON

LANDSCAPE WITH GODDESS

 

What we worship must have exotic form

                        -D. H. Lawrence, "Christs in the Tyrol"

 

Business drives farm cottages apart as usual.

The udder reigns over

these Tyrolese Alps, while the good people

of the valley nestle under

its dominion. A comfortable country,

the texts concur, to settle down

and take one’s life, or take a hike

across vaguely signed and unmarked margins.

 

The preponderance of clogs that once fueled

a competitive spirit among the cobblers

turned splenetic when she revealed

(or rather hid) her face in these, her new, parts.

In “June in the Austrian Tyrol” the big

rig we don’t see breaks the peasant’s back.

Travelers like us with pockets full

of harvested radishes must pause for

the white clouds tousled round the mount’s white skull.

 

Pfennigs lost in the grass-of-Parnassus,

strawberries, pine wood, schoolgirls with glasses:

In these early hours, myths stir the walker,

who presumes to preserve their autotelic telling.

The foothills’ gestures appear to recur,

albeit imperceptibly.

 

As evening snow obscures the worn out lines on the map,

we look up from the dwindling white page

to see the highway newly paved. The tractor

breaks off its dialogue with the valley’s cows––

How shall we stroke our radishes?

And eat them, too?

 

Luckily, we’re not pictured in the postcards we send.

Our guide stops and points to a blank plot

where a castle once stood.

The Alps must begin somewhere. By leaving

the ground, they are their own ground.

That much, from our moment of contact, is obvious.

Her premise is groundlessness.

 

 

 

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Circle Poetry Journal///Ministry of Obscure Knowledge  ©  2015