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This poem is taken from PN Review 181, Volume 34 Number 5, May - June 2008.

Three Poems (translated by Bill Coyle) Håkan Sandell

Translated from the Swedish by Bill Coyle

'I don't tolerate alcohol so well any longer...'

I don't tolerate alcohol so well any longer,
yet I stay here, where Vaterland's old wetlands drain
to the river, and it's well worth it with this combination
to pass the evenings, hash and coffee,
gone cold, that flushes the blood through my brain.
Those years with the children of the night - back then
there were plenty of them - have left me mementos,
a slight trembling of the hand when, outstretched
in only a shirtsleeve, it's reached by the spring breeze
simultaneously fanning the brushed out hair
of the Pakistani girls in the fair blue evening
where they stroll past fir trees whose lowermost branches
hide the few snowdrifts that haven't melted yet;

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