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Inom psykologin intog fjarilen lange en framtradande plats

pa grund av sitt larvstadium, sina svara hudomsningar

och i synnerhet pa grund av sitt puppstadium

som den totala handlingsforlamningens stadium:

med fascination studerade man larvens frustrerade drommar,

dess hogtflygande drommar som sa illa svarade

mot dess otympligt jordbundna kropp; man observerade

hur den till synes olosliga konflikten mellan drom och verklighet

slutligen mynnade ut i fullkomlig resignation

da larven slutade ata, spann ett holje kring sin kropp

och beredde sig pa att do. Men i djupaste vintern,

detta fortorkade tillstand som ocksa ar taxonomins

da puppan latt hade latit sig klassificeras

och placeras i glasmonter pa ett vindlost museum,-

djupt dar inne intraffade nagot ovantat, alldeles oforutsett,

som for ailtid ger oss ratt att tro pa det omojliga:

Georg Stiernhielm svingade penman, skrev "Silkesmasken"

och blev darmed fjarilslarans grundare pa svenskt omrade.

Med hans dikt tog psykologin ett stort steg framat,

lamnade puppstadiet och etablerade sig som flygfardig vetenskap:

psykhe betyder verkligen "fjaril" som du berattade,

den krop forsiktigt ut ur kokongen, sin forhistoria,

bredde ut sina vingar och overlamnade sig utan radsla at vindem,--

dikten ar bara holjet som lamnats kvar nere pa marken

dar dess elandiga skrynklighet utgor ett matt

pa den lysande triumf som mu fjarilens vingar

tillkannager dar ute i solijuset nar den antligen

flugit ut ur spraket och bejakar sin hisnande karlek.


For a long time the butterfly held a prominent place in psychology

because of its caterpillar phase, its difficult sloughing,

and especially because of its pupa stage

which is a period of total paralysis of the will:

fascinated people studied the frustrated dreams of the caterpillar,

such high-soaring dreams which corresponded so badly

to its ungainly earth-bound body; observed

how the seemingly insoluble conflict between dream and reality

ended at last in a total resignation

as the creature stopped eating, spun round its body a shroud,

and prepared to die. But in the deepest winter,

in the dried-out condition which is also that of taxonomy

when the pupa might have been classified

and placed in a showcase in some windless museum,

something unexpected, something totally unforeseen occurred

which gives us the right to believe in the impossible.

Georg Stiernhielm brandished his pencil, wrote "The Silkworm"

and thus became the founder of lepidopterology on Swedish soil.

But in his poem psychology took a great step forward,

left the pupa stage and established itself as a full-fledged science:

psykhe really means "butterfly," as you told me,

and warily it crept from its cocoon, its prehistory,

spread its wings and committed itself without fear to the wind.

So the poem is only the shroud left on the ground

where its miserable crumpled heap is only a measure

of victory announced by the butterfly's wings

now ablaze in the sun when it finally flies out of language

affirming its brilliant and dizzying love.


NOTE: George Stiernhielm (1598-1672), scholar, scientist, and public official, has been called the father of Swedish poetry. His main achievement as a poet is a didactic poem in hexameter, "ballets," and a number of sonnets, of which "Silkesmasken" ("The Silkworm") is one.
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Publication:Chicago Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jun 22, 1999
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