Translation: Bernhard Hagen
The Strait of Tjuvholm and the whole bay is packed with ice.
Snow creaks under the feet, the sun sparkles in the back.
I squint, but anyhow see all the way to the horizon.
Earlier: I was in some way carefree, as if I had been spared.
But now I know that death can come anytime.
Even to a child. To live with that knowledge,
I am not really sure how one can do it.
The sharpness of the sun, the absence of sound.
I am here and now and then at the same time.
I remember how afraid I was to dip my head underwater as a child.
Millions of cells, programmed
to live a while and then rot away, disappear.
When I gave birth to my child, I let nature take over.
It could break anytime, but we held.
The ice that carries me.
I live in a mercy.
In the distance, the ice calves, splits into masses of water.
A cracking noise that booms across the whole bay.
Mercy is something else than I had earlier believed.
A temporary reprieve from the nothingness.
Grandpa died out here, in an ice hole.
Winter fishing, the recklessness.
Despite it being his land.
Ice is never sentimental.
One day it will cover everything again.
From water we come, to water we all shall return.
The blinding light that just lasts, the wind changes direction.
The whiteness reflects in the sun.
The almost unbearable spring light.
The too unpredictable ice.
My child shall live forever.
That is how it must be.
The beauty of creation: the utmost cruelty.
To turn around. The back, the memory away from the strait.
The foot sinks into the snow.
The sun in the eyes. All wetness that freezes into ice.
photographic ©: Martin Vallin
Cecilia Hansson (born in 1973) lives in Stockholm, Sweden. She is an author, poet, translator and freelance journalist. In 2017, she published Hopplöst, men inte allvarligt – konst och politik i Centraleuropa, a book which contains interviews with significant authors and artists from Austria, Hungary and Romania and has received favourable reviews in Swedish press. Her debut from 2002 (Revbensdagar, morgnar) took place in Vienna, and she has published three other volumes of poetry until now. She has also collaborated with several artists, with photographers and authors from Sweden and Norway. The translation of Monika Rinck, zum fernbleiben der umarmung (translated together with Anna Lindberg), was nominated for the Translation of the year in 2012. Hansson has a background as a radio presenter at Sveriges Radio (The National Radio in Sweden), has an MA in German Literature/Aesthetics/Philosophy and has also written several articles and essays on translation. She is a member of PEN and the Swedish Writers’ Union, where she is also a board member.