From 'Lines from the Finnish, the desolate Scania, ja from West Bothnia'


by Freke Räihä

The full size of the tree can be seen from the ground up.
The path is not visible when I follow it.
The gazes strive at each other.
To obtain silence, equation, porridge.
In cork soles at home, rubber boots.
You never got to see me work,
you never got to see my work.
No overalls, no protective clothing,
no hardening principle.
The read carries weight
and it is into the silence you should listen,
I listen.


You, in yellow sheets. Where they at all yellow –
healthcare might have been white, blue.
Ja, you with nothing left when you were found.
Ja, you lay there, though I always imagined in the forest,
where no one would find you first.
The fingers coarse with tobacco. These roots. Like memory.
The clogs, black, studded. No shirt on.
This is not the purpose of the watercourse.
Not the river, not the passage.


As if there were no room for a centre,
the hand that sinks gets wet,
the still water lays to rest,
a marsh coating, ja decay.
You smiled. I smiled, I cast my eyes down.
Spread the innards on newspaper on the grass.
For the sea gull.
So that nothing goes to waste.


It was in the only pair I can remember.
As if greyed from black, from colour.
Mostly in the gestures of the face.
These marks that remained.
after the one who made them passed.
The body lets go. Gathers around the empty.
The scent of tar. The scent of tar.
Wood splinters ja grease, ja mountains, glasses –
that moved when you read.


You say something is needed to be felt during workdays.
There is no justice until everything is broken.
Then nothing. As if you have never lived.
I remember windows.
Other windows from the empty. Out in the empty. The dark
around the room, the empty.
You say that all windows are necessary.
I sing along although I do not understand,
to the scent of burned matches and sump.

About the Author

Freke Räihä. B. 1978 in Stockholm, lives in the rural Degeberga, Sweden and teaches poetry, writes poetry and translates poetry with three volumes out in English and some twenty in Swedish. Freke is the recipient of a five year working grant from the Swedish Writer’s Fund and has been published in several other languages — like Catalan, Bangla, Chinese and Hindi. Most of the poetry revolve around documents and memory.


Yilmaz Akin: Boras, Sweden, 2018 (Unsplash)

Comments are closed.