In fear of labernum

When faced with a poem in school,
I giggled in boyish bravado
“how stupid: a man is a wind
and kissing the blood from her skin
he’s stealing a girl with his kisses”,
In boyish resentment of poems
we laughed at his musical words.

But in my stomach they settled,
his words of how seduction is easy
if he comes like a wind in the spring.

And his words of the wind
an evening in time of the lilacs
caressed by laburnum racemes
settled inside as suspicions and fear
and in spring perfumed with lilacs
I still hold you a little bit closer
and I’m careful with blooming laburnums.

My fear of the wind, of his kisses
and fingers tousling your hair
still lingers in shade of laburnums,
So I pick you a bouquet of lilacs,
let it fill our home with its smell
away from the wind of his kisses.

Yellow by Tony Hisgett, Birmingham, UK

Yellow by Tony Hisgett, Birmingham, UK

Today we have a guest-blogger at dVerse poetics. The task we’re given is to describe your very first poem that affected us, and thereafter write a poem about how that affected you and how it still affects us. When in school we read a wonderful poem “Kyssande Vind” by Hjalmar Gullberg, (“Kissing wind“) and together with the other boys I took an attitude against this and all other poetry, but his words are still lingering underneath my skin as an insecurity, and it probably still affects the style of poetry I write. Come and share your poem about another poem.

May 5, 2015

35 responses to “In fear of labernum

  1. Your poem and explanations have made me curious about Hjalmar Gullberg. I had never heard of him. When I was a child we had to memorize a poem a week. I wonder whether other countries had/have this tradition.

  2. I think a lot of young people thought it was foolish to study poetry, and few admitted they enjoyed it. You said ‘but in my stomach they settled,’ and I think perhaps this is what happened to many of us; and now we appreciate it!

      • Smiles, better late than never!! I was kind of a closet poet until the blogosphere came around. I think the blogosphere has made us all a bit braver with sharing.

  3. I think like a fine wine, your poetry aged within you and now we get to savor its richness. I know many teens scoff at poetry but how it “settled” in you is the telling tale. I have started a list of poets to check out and read. And here is another way of “where we are from”. smiling.

  4. i can imagine how boys at a certain age would giggle about romantic poetry.. glad that something of it stayed in your heart… i think it always does… i love the scent of lilacs…

  5. A wonderful illustration of how to tackle today’s prompt, brother. As for me, until I was 15 I thought all poets must have been homosexual dandys that spun silly or dumb historical verses. Whitman opened my eyes, became my mentor, & I have never looked back; but like Mary, I was a quiet poet who wrote protest poems that only a few friends read, and a few romantic ditties for girlfriends & wives. The blogosphere changed all that for me. We have shrunk the planet, ringed it with poetic laurels. I like your lines /his words of how seduction is easy/if he comes like a wind in spring/.

  6. Ah, poetry as a shameful activity… there does come such a stage in life. And I like the sound of the Gullberg poem – I may have to attempt my ‘blind’ translation exercise on it – it sussurates.
    And in yours there is a lilt with the lilacs and laburnums, a melodic enchantment.

    Coming from a fiery Latin culture, poetry was thought to be very romantic and the best way to court girls, so I had a lot of poems dedicated to me when I was in high school (not because of my beauty, but because they knew I liked reading).

  7. Love what you wrote about here and I am glad that first poem stayed with you, despite the usual attitude of boys.

  8. I think art has a way of settling under our skin even if as kids we make fun of it. I like your poem Bjorn it reveals as much about you as about your poet.

  9. Love the contrast between the boyish resentment/laughter over the poetry and yet the recognition of the way the words settled down into your stomach. So telling and genuine!

  10. I admire your journey into poetry Bjorn ~ It might have been uneasy but I like that it has settled and found a tempo with your pen ~ I specially like the bouquet of lilacs at the end ~

  11. Yes.. it’s funny how grown men and so called boys.. yes.. including me.. laugh at poetic expressions and dance.. until they find out what works with the fairer sex.. and the greatest surprise of all.. is when that love comes home.. and becomes tHeir own..:)

  12. There’s a lot of truth in those first words there, and then comes what I like to think of as vintage Rudberg. This fits you like a glove

  13. Poetry obviously appeals to certain people and not to others.If one likes to test one’s curiosity by writing and not just reading poetry makes the goal easier perhaps!


  14. Labernums were new to me. I like how you incorporated them.Very interesting work by Hjalmar Gullberg as well. I will have to check out some more of his work. I am so glad that you let poetry find you again.

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