Gunnar Ekelof in Hadstock

I discovered this beautifully simple cabin/hut/den while walking through Hadstock, Essex, on Wednesday. The elegantly written text in Swedish can be literally (machine) translated as:

“I have written a preface to what I would have said.
But I have deleted it. – However, I wish
That before the dark pool over me
The last you see of me
Shall be a closed fist among water lilies
And the last thing you hear a word of bubbles
From the bottom.”

A creative transliteration renders it as:

“I have written an introduction
But it is now lost – But I hope
That before the waters sweep over me
You will see my triumphant fist among the lilies
And hear my last words bubbling up.”

It’s from ‘Among Waterlilies’ by Gunnar Ekelöf –
Read more of his (down beat) poetry –

Thanks to Dave Horan for the translation and sourcing

U3A Hadstock 5Photo: Hadstock, Essex, February 2015

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18 Responses to Gunnar Ekelof in Hadstock

  1. Sheila O'Neill Massoni says:

    Just discovered this author by reading latest lisbeth salandar book . I without gushing enjoyed your post

  2. Randy Pangborn says:

    I too discovered this poem while reading. The Girl Who Takes An Eye For An Eye. How quickly time passes by. It’s vitality important for all of us to enjoy each moment because, no one regardless of age is guaranteed seeing the sun rise tomorrow.
    Thank you, this poem is so meaningful.
    Read this as well and ponder upon its meaning.

    Robert Frost’s
    “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

    The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.

    This poem reassures me that whatever my problems-and I have more than a few, I have miles to go in my life and promises to keep

    • brianhuman says:

      Thank you, Randy, I’m pleased it struck a chord with you.
      Frost’s words are very moving, I’ve not come across them before.
      Yes, miles to go and no assurance that we will finish the journey, so each little step is precious.

  3. eunisb says:

    Is that the complete poem? I’ve searched and cannot find another reference to it.

  4. Judy Dayhoff says:

    I, like most of you, googled this poem after reading Eye for an Eye. I am not usually interested in poetry (much to the chagrin of my cousin who is a poet) but the phrase spurred me to find out more. I’m glad I did.

  5. Cass K says:

    Funny how nearly everyone researched this poem after reading eye for an eye. Cool!

  6. David Naylor says:

    Found your blog post after my uncle who lives just down the road form here in Little Walden sent me a photo of this very shed. (I myself live in Sweden.) I googled “Gunnar Ekelöf waterlillies” in hope of finding an English translation for him and found the same shed! Small world. =)

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