I do not follow Dante down…

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“I do not follow Dante down…” by Håkan Sandell
Translated by Bill Coyle

I do not follow Dante down, who has hung
nine days in tree-shade, a shaman, to the gates
of the underworld, but stay here in the sun
observing idly how the light gold-plates

my silver ring, on the table a vermouth.
Before a shrouded Santa Maria Novella
the plague has caught up with some tardy youths
by the empty cathedral where, in the first twelve &

a half pages of the Decameron,
a little hope is kindled. That was then.
An American orates to his mobile phone
like the addict on the steps to an invisible friend.


Håkan Sandell: Jag följer inte Dante ner…

Jag följer inte Dante ner, schamanen
som hängt i trädskuggan i nio dygn,
till porten av det underjordiska planet,
men dröjer här i solljuset som förgyllt

min silverring, på bordet ett glas vermouth.
Vid trappen till Santa Maria Novella
har ungdomarna alltför försenade uppnåtts
av pest, vid branta byggnadsställningar

längs folktom dom därpå Decamerones
tolv första sidor det lilla hoppet tänds.
En amerikan orerar i mobiltelefonen
likt missbrukaren på trappan till en osynlig vän.


Håkan Sandell was born in 1962 in Malmö, Sweden. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Ode till Demiurgen (Ode to the Demiurge, 2013). The first English language volume of his work, Dog Star Notations: Selected Poems 1999-2016, recently appeared from Carcanet Press. He lives in Oslo, Norway.