The soul of poets and authors - all artists - is formed by the blowing of the winds, the breath of the heaths, whispers in the wind, tiny gurglings, the voice heard in the flight and song of birds and the buzzing of flies - the quiet breathing of silence. People who sense these nuances, nature''''s orchestral arrangement, in other dimensions from other people, dress them up in various guises; in stories, songs, and dances, tones, colours and poems - sighs and death.
A carpenter forms the material, a farmer works the earth and the fisherman brings sustenance from the ocean. In these occupations you find the nature of toil. The same goes for the merchant, physician, priest, teacher, nanny, etc. Their jobs are something they have learnt, a life that is partly a calling. Artists are unbridled. Wild. Without friction. Do not stand on solid ground, neither on earth, floor, or deck. Because of this judgement of fate some people want to call them losers, eternally roaming. But they do not let such things distract or hurt them. They form their material ? their calling. Fetch it from the wind and waters, into the abstract, even if it may have had the markings of the toils of the everyday.
Sem vatn, er sytrar gegnum gisin þök
til gólfs í strjálum dropum, farvegslaust,
sem dapur ferill fugls í þröngri vök,
sem fis, er þyrla vindar undir haust?
[Like water, that drops through leaky roofs
to the floor in infrequent drops, without a path,
like the sad plight of a bird in a narrow gap in the ice,
like a scrap, thrown about by autumn winds?]
States the poet Kristján frá Djúpalæk in one of his poems. A true description of the ideology discussed here, the motto of those who seek to interpret the career of poets and authors, which are branches of the same artistic tree, planted by the muses of art a long time ago.
From this, it is clear that men cannot become poets or authors unless they have been bestowed with those gifts at birth. It is not a job you can study for in schools that give out diplomas. Only the outer circumstances shape the career of artists. Where they sometimes have the wind in their sail or it rages against them. From the seed sown by the artistic muses there grow both gnarly and crooked trees as well as straight ones that bask in the sunshine, tall and mighty. The growth depends on how well it is watered and tended by society ? but many authors die "In the shadow of of the long nights". Thus the career of the silent or not so silent fellows of the vineyard will always be quite varied.
It is without doubt no coincidence that a small boy, less than ten years old, completely soaks up the effect of the sagas, that had been written on calfskin some five or six centuries earlier, read to him by his mother on dark winter nights, when the stream by the farmhouse is frosen and his fjords, harbours, and boats await spring. These stories written onto calfskin nurture the soul. Are formative. The boy''''s tree starts to grow and stretch its young branches to catch the soul of the wind, the lakes, the fords - and that of silence. All that you find outside the window. His fate has been decided without his knowledge. Later he senses the words of Kristján frá Djúpalæk: "að eiga sýn til sólar, gegnum ský, / og sorg í hjarta, - það er skáldi nóg". [to be able to glimpse the sun, through cloud, / and have sorrow in one''''s heart, - is sufficient for a poet.]
To listen to, write, and see the written language is the essence of the lives of poets and authors. If they do not drink from these fountains constantly, their light will be extinguished. Success in public parks has no effect thereon. Whether they are putrid or sweet for a while matters not, neither the flow or riverbed. The birds of the heavens always look for their [breeding] grounds. An endless evolution until man''''s destruction sounds its funerary march.
Enn hefur tíminn
á gengna slóð
sem ver bæ þinn er var
fyrir báli norðursins
út á akurinn
Þá voru stjörnurnar
sem brostu glettin
og þú á móti
í barnslegri spurn
birtan hófst eina ferðina enn
tíminn lengir skuggana
spor þín að mást
gatan grær upp
en gott var
aðeiga þessi ár
[Yet again has time
made the shadows longer
the stars clearer
onto a trodden path
from the craggy fence
of the mountain
that protects your farm that was
attacked by the blaze of the north
out to the field
Then the stars where
that smiled knowingly
and you responded
in childish questioning
The day grew longer
the light started yet another journey
across the mountains
Time elongates the shadows
your footsteps to fade
the path grows over
but it was good
to have those years
Guðjón Sveinsson, 2002.
Translated by Dagur Gunnarsson.Back