Cobblestone memory

Walking the streets of Stockholm’s old town we only notice tourists. These last day of spring they flock around the souvenir shops, snap selfies or pull their roller-bags on cobblestones. I remember how empty the streets may be in November, when the street glisten in the rain, and our hurried footsteps echo between medieval walls.

In November it’s easy to imagine the days after the Danish King had the nobility of Sweden executed. When (it’s said) the streets were wet from their blood, I can almost sense the reek of sewer spilled and mixing with the blood. I imagine I can hear sound of the undertaker’s cart. I taste the terror of the tyrant in the raindrops on my lips when suddenly three Russian ladies exit from a souvenir shop.

In May we only see the tourists and later I buy a pair of jeans at the department store.

yellow with pollen
sluggish water lick the docks —
pigeons seeking crumbs

Today Frank Tassone hosts dVerse Haibun and we are to write about memorial. Memorial day is not celebrated in Sweden, and any memory of veterans or war lie far back in our memories, but there are always things you can remember. Join us with your own haibun.
May 27, 2019

27 responses to “Cobblestone memory

  1. History is a long litany of wars, massacres and horrors. We pick out some to commemorate, and as they slip into the past, so does the need to remember. Times wipes all of these things clean. There are always new horrors to commemorate, because no, we never learn anything from history.

  2. I enjoyed your cobblestone memory and love the image, Björn. I haven’t visited Stockholm, although I did cross the bridge from Denmark to spend a day in Malmö. I love the atmosphere of the old parts of cities and towns: the architecture, the cobbles, which most towns seem to have, and I even enjoy them in the rain. I think most cities could tell us gruesome stories, like the ones you’ve recounted. We have stories of Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd in London, as well as various uprisings and executions. Your final paragraph brought me back to earth with a bump! Your haiku is superb, especially the sluggish water licking the docks.

  3. Yes, Bjorn, you did, indeed, broaden the lens of memorial! A wonderful reflection on the contrasts between times of war and peace! Beautifully rendered! 🙂

  4. It’s strange to think what happened in quiet streets a few hundred years ago, and stranger to think that terrible things are still happening not so far away. We are lucky to live in peace, I fear we are in danger of throwing it away. I like your haiku, it has weight to it.

  5. Over here it rains cotton shards from the Cottonwood trees, as well as pollen that clovers cars with sticky residue. Your poem is top notch, and the message is powerful. The Nazis invaded Norway and Finland; you were fortunate. They set up shop i\n Switzerland too.

  6. An interesting narrative! The spilling of blood seems to be in our worst nature! I will take tourists to soldiers in the streets any day!

  7. The two pillars, narrow streets echoing with slaughter and the chatter of tourists, are an almost surreal path upon which to walk. Two extremes. Your country’s path of no war since 1847 is an admirable one. I like the rich imagery in your haibun.

  8. I enjoyed the history you shared and envy your life without war. I’ve seen too many wars in my long lifetime, too many white crosses in too many military cemeteries, too many young lives cut short by the greed and ego of old men who send young men (and women) to war.

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