Eva Runefelt

Eva Runefelt was born in 1953 in Stockholm, where she currently works as an art critic for the newspaper „Svenska Dagbladet“. „She has a tone that is calm and composed yet constantly surprises the reader when she writes about the consuming immobility and silence of grief and about the way in which life carries one, letting time repeat.“ She has published a novel, The Gap (1975), short stories, Stopped Time (1974), and six collections of poetry, which include: A Coming Time of Life (1975), Along an Unfinished Moment (1986), Soft Darkness (1997) and Thirteen Steps (1998). For the past few years, Runefelt has been working together with the choreographer Efva Lilja and the saxophone player Jörgen Pettersson.

Your pulse, getting it to beat in the mouth
merge with me
Breaths switch mouths
Eyelid, little cheek in the mouth, feeling the gaze inside
here it comes, with you, out of the black pupil

To lay all the faces in water
warm features, spreading out, brushing
A stretch there, where shoulder strokes shoulder,
there is room enough inside,
To become a being with four eyes
four legs, two voices
chewed into sounds
Be still
Flicker of the eye, little cheek in the mouth.
A crocus yellow. Your gaze in my mouth.
placing it under the tongue.
Be still now
This white hour
is spinning in the darkness
a bite, glittering.

Hand out of sound
clasping the back of the neck

Small shudders come pressed
out of the stillness,
ink, apple,
cumin, sweat
A chink, a mouth
to fall into and in the mouth
a sound
I want to pass
into the sound
Be still

translation Frank Gabriel Perry


Hour before departure
One hand absently weighing
the coffee steam
Rain outside
Hour before departure
each on their own chair
in a heated space filled
with travelers
The indolent air changes season
and the territory we had claimed
has drifted with the wind, shifted

Later in the aeroplane
someone dreams open-wide
of the Rocky Mountains
and the hand’s inside shrinks away
hiding a tired scent of iron

We said:
in the earth cicadas linger
heavy and certain with darkness
briefly to be filled
by a light they have never seen
but keep in mind
There is a time that is counted
along an unfinished moment
In leaving myself at rest
in the earth, we are recovered
without weight
Perhaps that is why
heavy and certain
we go without
astonishment at one another

Hour before departure
Rain outside, we take shelter
in the returning rain

translation Frank Gabriel Perry

The Idle Dead

They walk in the days
with an absence of mind
that absorbs the room
Soon the dead find something
to polish to a shine
and can withdraw
They sleep enclosed in patterns
in the heads of the living
Blue and white edging, yellow tunes
They wake up when
someone smoothes away a scent,
hems a cloth
There we are, in their midst
taking turns to remember
one another
To bowl round and quiet
passed from hand to hand

Unwinding in the bowl
the cloth that holds thought back
translation Frank Gabriel Perry