Mats Kristiansson
Haiku Poems 2004-2010
A Selection

© Mats Kristiansson 2004-2010
Written in Swedish 2004-2010
Translated to English by the author 2010

This translation of 45 of the 128 poems in Haiku Poems 2004-2010 (Haikudikter 2004-2010) is an attempt rather than a final version.

I will translate the remaining 83 poems later. I will probably also do some revisions of what I have translated till now, even though I actually believe that the translation is close to its final form already (surprisingly enough considering how much attention I give each and every syllable).

Furthermore, the numbers of the poems are the same as in the full version of the book. Some readers may find that confusing. Hopefully, more readers will find that helpful.

June 5, 2010.

The author.

1.The rickety chairs
at Skövde railway station
will not fall apart!
2.The weather is great.
Raindrops are cleaning the pane.
Hoary is the web.
6.Farmers in furrows
Cows are grazing by tethers.
Fields with no fences.
7.The cock and the fork.
By the wagon a donkey.
A wisp of hay falls.
9.The hill of garbage.
Sparkling colors are crying.
The big mystery.
12.By everything's end,
I'm confronted with chaos.
Deep divides the bow.
14.The eyes of the ships
can see what the coxswains can't.
Blind are some of them.
16.A room with a view.
To the right, death by drowning.
To the left, a mount.
17.White are the houses,
the walls and the conceptions –
darker the shadows.
20.The cat and the dog
hesitate when first they meet.
Waves against the quay.
21.Lanterns in the night.
Some moves towards the harbor.
Some are the harbor.
22.Theseus' slaughter guts.
Minotaurus' bellowing.
The palace trembles.
26.At the mountains' feet:
believers and skeptical.
Fire is raging.
28.Roses in the sun.
Shivering leaves in the wind.
Night by the border.
29.The bird in the cage.
White wings going round and round.
The cage in the bird.
30.Dust on golden thrones.
Shining sun and glowing stars.
Behold the shadow.
36.Open and hidden
in the faithful spider's web.
The deaths awaits you.
40.Abraded alleys.
Shiny rainbow mosaics.
Nordic people's lips.
41.Hot smell from glasses.
Backs are bent towards brewage.
The goblets of Death.
42.From the others life.
The rivers are petrified.
Well of Paradise.
43.From the pebbles life.
Walking against the torrents.
Backs and mood are crooked.
44.Charcoal is glowing.
Close your eyes in twilight wind.
Savor the corn cobs.
45.Rabbits in a cage.
Go down relieved from the scales.
Water-filled package.
49.The Sunday evenings.
The mongers have departed.
The women's evenings.
52.Water from the horn.
Dirt and dust from the pavement.
Rivers in the East.
54.The depths of the wells.
Sidewalks with multiple steps.
The palms are longing.
55.Bodies in bundles.
Cloth bags and sacks for garbage.
Burdens of train trips.
57.Quiet and cautious,
the sandwich cart are passing.
No mind your feet, please.
58.The train's conductor.
The sleeper on the pavement.
People with no home.
59.Kemal Atatürk.
Prayers from the minaret.
Tinsels in the stream.
60.Crescent-like bridges.
The star fading in the stream.
Steps towards Heaven.
62.The train at the edge.
Glances towards the ravine.
Stones in the river.
65.Bottles in windows.
Oxygen-filled compartments.
Modern and ancient.
66.The Sunday evenings.
The cleaners are at their homes.
Evenings of litter.
72.Amber is glowing.
Listen in the dusky wind.
The ancient pledges.
75.In through the window,
the passengers are flying.
Balls in the currents.
76.The platform's fortune.
To become one's own tombstone.
Sly poppies adorn.
77.Pennants at the quay.
Seagulls wobbling in the wind.
Brackish water stains.
79.From foam a fire.
It! it! and jarring clamor.
The world in the world.
80.The tear in the web.
The goddess' toga, obscure.
The end of the world.
Eidolon limbs are bleeding:
2008 ...
11 hearts in the grass:
2004 ...
97.Riddle of the paths.
Hidden wanderers whisper.
Cave of the riddles.
112.The slot in the tree
smilingly kisses the cloud.
Rivers are passing.
119.Behind the gazes
the caverns of secrecy.
Twinkling ancient depths.


The photo of the sky, the river, the towers and the bridge was taken in Salzburg 14/7 2005 at 21.03 pm and manipulated in a computer. The 40 pink petals and 40 green leaves used in the creation of the pentagrams were picked in Karstorp in Skövde 25/7 2005 from a dog-rose on which most of the flowers were green fruits already, photographed and manipulated in a computer. The numbers below refer to the numbers of the poems, the place names to where the poems were written and the dates to when the poems were written.

1. Skövde 29/6 2004.

2. On the train Göteborg – Malmö 29/6 2004.

6. On the train Poznań – Warszawa 30/6 2004.

7-10. On the train Budapest – Thessaloniki 2/7 2004.

12-14. On the boat Piraeus – Chania 3/7 2004.

16. Chania 4/7 2004. Such was the view from the balcony outside my room at the Hotel Alexis: the ocean to the right and a mountain to the left.

17. Chania 4/7 2004.

20. Heraklion 5/7 2004. A dog and a cat meeting, I saw in Chania. The cat brisled up, and the dog was scared. Waves hitting the quay, I saw in Heraklion.

21. Heraklion 5/7 2004. View from my hotel room late at night. A boat is heading for the port, that is illuminated by a large number of lamps.

22. On the bus Heraklion – Chania 6/7 2004.

26. Athen 7/7 2004. Written at Acropolis.

27-28. Pithia 8/7 2004.

29. Pithia 8/7 2004. At a coffee shop I visited, there was a yellow bird in a small cage and a white fan.

30-33. Pithia 8/7 2004.

36-38. On the train Pithia – Istanbul 9/7 2004.

39-41. Istanbul 10/7 2004.

42. Istanbul 10/7 2004. In the middle of Grand Basar, there is a well with taps, where you can wash your hands and feet. Towards this centre, pedestrian streets are flowing like rivers.

43-44. Istanbul 10/7 2004.

45. Istanbul 11/7 2004. I saw a man selling rabbits he kept in a small cage. Two of them were standing at the top of the cage. Why they didn't jump to the ground and disappeared among the crowd, I can't understand. All over the city, there are older men with scales, that for a smell fee will weigh you. These same men are usually also selling mineral water.

49. Istanbul 11/7 2004. Late on Sunday evenings, the streets are almost empty, but the few female street hawkers still faithfully linger. When they no longer are drowned out by the male hawkers, they can now modestly have a go at the former's tricks and dodges. They are, in other words, about as modest as the most assertive Swedish shopkeeper you can imagine!

52. Istanbul 12/7 2004. Here, sidewalks are rinsed and scrubbed with water whether needed or not.

54. Denizli 14/7 2004.

55. Denizli 14/7 2004. Written at Denizli Gar. The most commonly used luggage containers among train travelers here are perhaps cloth bags, often better used, and large black garbage bags.

57. On the train Izmir – Eskişehir 17/7 2004. The difference between Turkish and British sandwich wagon drivers are about as big as the difference between ice and fire.

58. Eskişehir 18/7 2004. In the morning just outside the railway station, I saw a sleeping man under a large, gray, not that clean coat with his face to the ground and added some thoughts to that impression.

59. Eskişehir 18/7 2004. The cult of Kemal Atatürk seems to be almost as big in Turkey as the cult of the Qur'an. One indication of that is that four of the about thirty different postcards I saw in Izmir represented Kemal Ataturk. Sparkles in a stream, I saw during my morning walk in Eskişehir.

60. Eskişehir 18/7 2004. Several crescent-shaped bridges with steps at the steepest parts (the two ends) crosses the small river – that may in fact be a canal – that runs through Eskişehir.

62. On the train Istanbul – Bukarest 19/7 2004.

65. On the train Istanbul – Bukarest 19/7 2004. On older trains, like the one I'm traveling with right now, the windows don't remain open, as they once did, but close themselves again shortly after they have been pulled down. However, a bunch of guys in their twenties had come up with a workable solution: to kind of wedge the pulled down windows with large, upright soft drink bottles. I thought that the bottles would come loose after a while and go out the windows or into the compartments and that the only workable way to get the windows to stay down was to do as I do, namely to wedge a multi-folded booklet or something like that in one of the window edges, but they didn't!

66. On the train Bukarest – Budapest 20/7 2004. On Sunday evenings, small mountains of rubbish cover Istanbul's squares and sidewalks. The reason is that people throw the remnants of what they have eaten and drunk where they walk and stand. There are of course no bins, but during my walk from Haydarpaşþa Gar to Sirkeçi Gar I see at least three bigger garbage bags, that an innovative kebab vendor has placed by the beach of the Golden Horn.

72. On the train Łósž – Warszawa 22/7 2004. Written while traveling towards the amber coast in northern Poland.

75. On the train Gdańsk – Szczecin 23/7 2004. From time to time during the trip, seed balls now and then flew into the compartment through the open windows as long as we were south of Vienna. Farther north, no such balls appear.

76. On the train Szezecin – Świnoujście 24/7 2004. Now and then, the train passes platforms that are no longer used and and about to be completely hidden by vegetation.

77. Świnoujście 24/7 2004.

79-80. Skagen 15/10 2004.

94-95. Södra Ryd 12/6 2008. Apropos the European Football Championships 2004 and 2008.

97. Södra Ryd 14/6 2008. Apropos a concert with Loreena McKennitt at the Alhambra Palace in Granada in Spain, in which she performed suggestive Celtic, Arabic, Greek and Turkish music with at least some traditional tones.

111-112. Södra Ryd 4/7 2008. Apropos a television program on monarch butterflies.

118-119. On the bus Södra Ryd – Skövde 11/8 2008.

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