Waves of life: a letter to Brian

Cathedral of Linköping

Cathedral of Linköping












Hi Brian!
I’m fine thanks, don’t worry about me, I’m tough and creaky as an old shoe sole.

You wrote me in your last message you had just come home from playing the organ in a church. You have earlier told me you experience special bonds to Scandinavia and to Swedish music particular. And we chatted about the Wallander movies, which you have watched lately, especially the last one when Wallander has to face he got Alzheimer disease.

My answer to your message will be a bit different – I have made it to a blog entry. I hope you are okay with that.

Concerning Wallander, who we chatted about earlier and about his existential life… There is a discordant inequality between his analytical ability and his emotional skills, but I don’t think his emotional problems are correlated to his work as a police. And not to police work in reality, either. I don’t know, but I believe crime literature not tell much about real police work?

I think work is what keeps Wallander up. What he must see from crime scenes certainly must effect his mind, but I think he is good at filter it away. As a the portrait of a man in general and a Swedish man in particular, you have to remember novels and crime movies aim is not realistic in that matter, but have other aims. I know Mankell had the opinion he gave a picture of the Swedish society as he viewed it, when visiting here. But I can’t see that view when reading him, but I have only read a couple of his books. But I think the movies are better than the books as the actors playing Wallander are the best of the best, giving this deep existential angle to the character – that what we came to talk about.

There is an American character similar to the Swedish characters – it is Jesse Stone played by Tom Selleck. I really like Tom Selleck and him playing this character, but the character certainly not have the dimensions the Wallander character have. I actually think Jesse’s dog Reggie has more of an existential life than his master has. Yet, even if Jesse Stone simply is an alcoholic, I like him.

Now, as music being your corner of occupation, can you tell what music he’s listening to?

Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost (2011) – Tom Selleck – Policeman and Dog – YouTube

You wrote you had just came home from playing the organ in a church. It made me think of a poem by Tranströmer. A Swedish poet I read almost every night in bed before turn of the light – his lines lies close to. So if you say you that had played organ in church, my mind goes to Tranströmer.

I have only 2 of his books, so I use to borrow an anthology with his poems on the local library. To go there I have to pass the cathedral of Linköping.

The church is located in the city’s center, streets pass very, very close to the building. There are paths for walkers, lawns and park benches and the place is well visited. There is always people there and you can see both youngsters (often in groups sitting on the ground) (as the university is right next door). And you can see families, coworkers on a lunch break and dog owners passing. And older people resting a while on a bench, teenagers sitting talking whatever they talk about. It is certainly a very popular place for people in Linköping. This is especially for Linkoping Cathedral and I have not seen it in any other place. As said, I pass through the area every time I go down town and visit the library. I have never visit the church more than once, even though there is concerts there every week.

But this might be of interest to you?
American organist James Hicks makes double CD on organ in Linkoping Sweden – YouTube

Tomas Tranströmer and his family many years ago

Tomas Tranströmer and his family many years ago

Tomas Tranströmer was born 1931 and he died 2015. 2011 he got the Nobel prize in literature. This Swedish giant of words got a stroke 1990 at age 59, leading to aphasia and paralysis of his body’s right side. He lived 25 years with this condition, learned to play his piano with one hand and construct haiku poems. He was happily married with two daughters.



On this video you can see him as an old man playing with one hand. The voice though, is from his younger years. There is a translation to the poem in English. In general I hate the English translations of his poems. This translation by Robin Fulton is at least true to the words in original.

Tomas Tranströmer: “The Music Says Freedom Exists” – YouTube

As for translations, you know you are of copyright reason not allowed to do a translation of a poem and make it public without permission of the writer or survivor family. This translation below made by me, is therefore very much only for private use, as a part of my letter to you and not to be shared and spread out.

This poem is from the collection “Det vilda torget” (The wild square) from 1983.

A break in the organ concert

The organ stops playing and it becomes dead silence in
the cathedral but just for of a couple of seconds.
Then the low buzzing from the traffic out there
breaks through; the major organ.
Yes we are enclosed by the traffic mumbling that wanders
around the walls of the cathedral.
There slides the outer world like a transparent film and
with struggling shadows in pianissimo.
As if included among the sounds from the street, I can hear
one of my pulses beat in the silence,
I hear my blood revolve, the cascade hiding inside of me,
what I walk around with,
and as near as my blood and as far away as a memory from
the age of four
I hear the truck that passes by and gets the six hundred
years old walls to tremble.
Here is so unlike a mother’s arms as anything can be, yet
I am a child just now
hearing the adults talk far off; the winners and
the losers voices flows together.
On the blue benches sits a sparse crowd. And the pillars
rises like strange trees:
no roots (only the common floor) and no crown
(only the common ceiling).
I relives a dream. That, I stand a churchyard alone. Heather shines
everywhere as far as the eye can see.
Who am I waiting for? A friend. Why is he not coming?
He is already here.
Slowly death turns on the light from below, from the ground. The heath
shines purple, even stronger –
no in a color no one has seen… until the morning bleak light whines
through the eyelids
and I awake to that steadfast MAYBE that carries me
through the wavering world.
And every abstract picture of the world is as impossible
as a blueprint for a storm.
At home the omniscient Encyclopedia, one meter in the bookshelf,
I learned to read in it.
But every human get his own encyclopedia written,
it grows in every soul,
it is written from the birth and forward, the hundred thousands
pages are pressed against each other
and yet with air between! Like the trembling leaves in a
forest. The book of contradictions.
What is written there changes every second, the images
retouches themselves, the words flickers.
A wave rolls through the whole text, it is followed by
the next wave, and the next…

Yes, Tomas Tranströmer is dead but his encyclopedia still writes itself, the waves still rolls. Yet I miss him. But as I said, his poems are always on the table next my bed.

Latest years much has been written in media about the “waves of Refugees” coming to Europe. Thousands has died in the waves.

In Sweden, we have such treasures of highly educated and skilled people coming as refugees to us and of all kinds of occupations. They live here for years and even for decades, and where do we then find them in our society? Well – they drive the city busses or taxi cabs or work as cleaners…. Some makes a career as academics and writers, that is very true – but they are exceptions, most are out of jobs for years, living in the suburbs, their merits not countable. It’s such a disgrace, this “free and democratic” country even officially brags over having this people here, as if they should be grateful to only stay here, become second class citizens. Now their children grows up and they struggles to get merits to be able to emigrate to Canada or US to have a future. How can we be so blindfolded, just let this happen?

This is a Swedish bus driver’s story:

This below is quoted from Swedish Broadcasting home page:

Cellist Bashar Sharifa is 37 years old and studied at the Music Conservatory of Aleppo in Syria in both classical oriental music and Western classical music. He played in the TV, the Opera House and toured around world. …
Bashar Sharifa fled through Lebanon, Turkey, Greece and the Baltic Rich before he came to Stockholm and later to Gothenburg, where he now lives in the northern district of Angered. Bashar play at leisure in Bashar Sharifa and Friends, but is now bus driver for a living. …
“If I think too much about my friends and my family in Syria, I get so tired, so tired. If I play my cello then I feel better”.

بشار شريفة تشيلوهولاكو Bashar Sharifah Cello – YouTube



I promise my next answer to you will be short and not public… 🙂

Take care and see you

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2 Responses to Waves of life: a letter to Brian

  1. yasb says:

    I’m very happy you liked it – and even got inspired by it. 🙂 For other readers I will tell this piece of Brahms Jesse Stone listen to is available on Youtube videos.

  2. Brian Avey says:

    Thank you for this wonderful array of thought. The piece featured in the Tom Selleck clip is the Brahms intermezzo Opus 118, No. 2. Such a beautiful piece; and I used to play it many many years ago. Watching the clip made me want to get it out and play it again. Again, thank you!

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