Elisabeth Berchtold

Elisabeth Berchtold was born in 1971, in Sweden. Her poems have appeared in various literary magazines. Marialucia, Norstedts, 2012, is her first collection of poems, widely aclaimed by readers and literary critics. Kära Svan, Norstedts, 2016, is her second book of poetry.

© image: Cato Lein


Excerpts from the debut volume, Marialucia, Norstedts. 2012

Translated by Johannes Göransson



I (We you) girls carry a large rat beneath the chubby arm large as a cat As a cuddle-animal pits in the flesh by the elbows it is stiff and dead with pink belly underside It is raining as always in the underground tunnels we slop around in mud water

We lead a prisoner also downward, you are Large and hit the roof of the tunnels, are fragile and moan a part of your jaw is torn off We force you to crouch there is no blood there glowing Two pointed teeth is all there is

Down at the very bottom the tunnel ends Here we stand you up and Then the operation takes place You are going to change sex with the ratBunny We tear loose yours and put in the ratbunny’s I then throw it away in the pink fog of pain down there

i meander around in the tunnels in the darkness humming and singing shivering about you and about me and about Our hair, how it sticks to our cheeks and forehead how it falls down in our eyes like snow, like black snow We spit three times before the animal gods the Spit sticks in the fur

It is snowing flakes of ashes in the air can only see beneath the Hair on the backside of the hair and eyes are dripping with it, it is a flood running on the inside of my Voice it sounds rough when it speaks Hair is in mouth

In the underground tunnels suddenly a face flashes Whose little face like fool’s gold (i know exactly how You look and how one touches you with hands) The hazy eyes hazy the rounded Cheeks round Breast a white stained how did the snout end up where it ended up?


Our Rose our Rose our roseRose our Rose,
our Rose Rose! on the way to roseParty in a carriage
of roses In our true Rose-nature you It are overshrouded
with glances that shout for beautiful – roses Rose! light
pink blood-red rose Red roses Rose! rose-words
echo out of our mouths – Roses Roses Roses
Rose! – Roses Roses Roses Rose! Rose Oh All
that falls from you roses
– We rose you Rose, we Promise!! you our
rose-voices Rose, rose oh Rose Glance-eye our red-hot
red-rosy Rose Alas so Rose we Sow the gaze in rosying
roundles in you Rose – Our Rose! Our Rose! Our Rose!
Our Rose Rose! draw In Rose-rosey roses
on Cheeks of Vase-head in the rosey-rose-table-
mirror Rose in Mirror Our Rose
in the rose-moment Rose!

And you feel Rose as if on rosy clouds as In
a rosy Dream of a dress Our Rose! Rest
rosyhappysmilingfacerose on the Rose-arm
the roseRed mouth rose-smiles in dance Rose rose
– your figure rosy! your Back-bent Rose-breast
rose-budded and illuminated in the Reflection Rose
in the Window where the rose-curtains flutter
on the blushing Facial leaves Rose! as a
Blooming Rose lips Glitteringly Gay – add a little
color On and around your eyes Rose! Rose hair lays
let out like a Flower a rose, Lip-roses Our Rose! your
Moist roseEyes look so smartingly Lovely the eyelash’s
tempting swollen Hills Rose Our Rose! two
Swelling buds Rose red
deep-red rose buds

– We walk close to you Rose against the window, Rose
against the frost-roses on the window pane behind the Rose curtain rose Our
Rosey Rose! – There behind the rose-balcony winds roses
Roses winding around the railing Rose! and behind
the rose-railing a rose glow in the sky
All that is mine is yours! Rose torn Rose Rosed
clothes torn by rose-thorns
– we hold On to you Rose we hold on To
your rose bones! Rose roses bloom Fit in roses
on the rose body on Rose decorates you, Our Rose Blooms!
bloom out bloom out bloom out naked on the skin like Roses Rose
bestrewn with Roses Roses Rose – Our Rose a Rose is
You bring us all! All that sticks to you Roses Rose
Full of rose
full of Bloom

you We had so enjoyed ourselves with ourselves Rose!
with your rosey speech Rose with your fragrance of roses One
Bloomingroseoil Dew Rose like a hot caress
Our Rose! on the skin-cheek Rose blooming Rose rose
in toward the rose Rose the red Our Rose! Flesh-rose Our Rose
Rose In the rosy Gap shouts Rose cut cut pink
rosy shouts

We rinse the rose
the rosy in the roses
Want so much in
Longs in to
the rose-bone