Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Till Linnea Via Leonard Cohen” (For Linnea Via Leonard Cohen).

Hey people! 🙂

Today I thought that I’d share with you one of the songs that Cornelis Vreeswijk wrote to a woman called Linnea. All these Linnea songs are more or less erotically charged, and I always liked to think that this Linnea is at least based on his second wife – the actress Bim Warne – whose actual name was Birgitta Gunvor Linnea, and because I’ve always got the impression that, despite all the usual relationship storminess that was pretty much the norm in his life, his relationship with Bim was best out of his three wives. Besides, the album “Linneas Fina Visor” (Linnea’s Fine Songs) on which most if not all (can’t remember exactly) of the Linnea songs were released, came out when they were still a couple. And I still don’t know whether that is actually the case, but years later I read something that implied quite strongly that it’s possible. Especially that he based a lot of his characters on real life people. There’s also another version of this song called Till Gunnel. Honestly though, I’ve always been intrigued by what’s Leonard Cohen got to do with this, and I can only assume that, since Vreeswijk borrowed a lot of songs or melodies or motives etc. from other artists who wrote and/or sang in other languages, that includes “Nancy” by Cohen, so perhaps in some way it’s also the case with this one, perhaps it’s based on some song that was originally Leonard Cohen’s or something like that. But because I don’t really have much of an idea about Leonard Cohen’s music, I’ve no idea if this is true.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to write a translation for this, but I did it, and it wasn’t even all that difficult, though I did have several issues witt it. There’s one line that I absolutely cannot make out what it’s supposed to mean so I had no better option than to leave it out. In some places I feel like my English wording is a little off but I had no better ideas. Then there is the line that I translated as “Of my mother’s only son” but have a problem with the “of” because there’s actually the Swedish word “på” used in the original, which is typically translated as on, but it doesn’t really make sense to me. I of course know that prepositions work very differently from one language to another, but even in Swedish I feel like the word “av”, which would literally translate as “of” to English, would make much more sense here. So either my Swedish is a lot less advanced than I think (not that I think it’s actually, properly Advanced, but you don’t have to be extremely advanced to understand prepositions in a language I believe 😀 ), or I don’t understand the sense of this line, or perhaps “på” can be used instead of “av” in some more poetic contexts like here.

Another line I had ann issue with was about the pen that floats, where I left out a word because I had no idea what to do with it. The original word is “värdig” and it literally means worthy. Can a pen be worthy? Perhaps it’s supposed to mean something like that that it’s dear to him in a way, or deserving of appreciation, because it’s the pen with which he writes songs for Linnea and no other pen would suit this? That’s what came to my mind, but I doubt that it’s actually true. Perhaps in this case “värdig” is meant to be an adverb, but then it should be “värdigt”. You can have adverbs that look like their adjective counterparts in Norwegian, but I don’t think I’ve seen it in Swedish (well, unless an adjective ends with a “t” but that’s irrelevant here). So what is most likely imo is that the word “värdig” must have a wider scope than what I’m aware of.

Here’s the translation:

 

Linnea, what do you want to hear?

I forget it every time

I have something in my ear

That maybe can become a song

It quivers in the guitar

It asks for a beautiful grasp

Now I open the case

And kiss your lower lip

Sit still and quiet, Linnea

Here comes a beautiful verse

(…)

Chases me here and there

A crumhorn and two timbals

Disappear far away

The guitar shivers in the arms

Of [?] my mother’s only son

An Eskimo opens a window

Then the whole room becomes cool

Out flow seductive vapours

That rhyme was ingenious

You know I can keep the heat

I guess you know that I know it

I am as hot as Saturn, at least

And strong as a magnet

Now this song is soon over

You notice it already yourself

My pen floats forward (…)

Like the timber in some river

Sit still and quiet and wait

Remain in your picture frame

Because when I am done writing, Linnea

The pen is as good as lame [?]

Now all the stars become matt

And stiffen like tinfoil

On the deserts dry and flat

Watering holes spring up

Darkness gives way to the night

And it is not day yet

Linnea, here is your song

Linnea, and here am I

Music Monday Care & Love – Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Vaggvisa För Bim, Cornelis Och Alla Andra Människor På Jorden” (Lullaby For Bim, Cornelis And All Other People On Earth).

It’s definitely not a beginning of the week now, but despite it I decided that nevertheless I’m gonna participate in Music Monday Care & Love

at Bee’s.

I haven’t participated in it for a while due to my laptop being fixed and now I’m happy to get back to celebrating my achievements and doing some self care together with Bee and all other participants, though I was afraid I may not do it this week too as I’ve been a little disorganised lately, mostly due to feeling a bit unwell physically. But now I hope I’m back on track and things will be getting better.

So here’s my very rambly post.

This week, Bee suggests us to go back to basics and simply celebrate ourselves with a mug of our favourite beverage, and she also encourages us to journaling.

As journaling is a part of my routine and helps me a lot with figuring out my feelings and other things, it wasn’t difficult to do this. And hopefully I’ll be having one of my favourite beverages tomorrow.

Recently, my Mum is crazy about protein shakes – she has some natural protein supplements and she makes drinks of almond milk, lots of fruit, a little honey and coconut oil and melts that protein in it. I also tried it, and it’s cool, but it made me think of shakes at KFC. 😀

I had a shake from KFC only once in my life, I guess I was in my early teens, I was at the boarding school at the time, and I was in touch with a girl who was studying typhlopedagogy and writing a dissertation on the blind in integration schools, basing it on my case. So we were seeing each other every now and then and talked about my experiences but also other unrelated stuff and one day she suggested to me that we could go out to the city and have a real treat. She was a big eater – herself working in a fastfood restaurant, and she told me we could go to a few of such places and eat whatever we wanted. That sounded cool and of course I was always happy to leave the boarding school with someone I liked and do something nice, so we did it, and I can remember that we visited really quite a few fastfood locals, and I was quite amazed at how much she can eat, while I felt stuffed already after we left the first one haha. At the end of our fast food trip, we went to KFC and I remember that I had a shake, and it was soooo yummy, but so terribly sweet and as I said I was way too stuffed, so I wasn’t able to drink much of it. I really regretted though haha.

Overall I am not a big fast food eater, I do like a lot of junk foods, but I can’t remember when was the last time I was at MCDonald’s or KFC, it’s not a regular thing for me. And although after that big fast food trip I remember I even had dreams involving vanilla and chocolate shakes, I never actually thought about that whenever I was at KFC after that.

But now my Mum’s shakes reminded me of that and I thought to myself that finally I have to get myself a shake at KFC. And tomorrow Zofijka wil be getting a takeaway for us all, because when I mentioned shakes she said she got very hungry and wants to KFC now, so finally we decided we can wait one day longer. 😀

I’m curious to see whether I’ll stil be so impressed with this shake and whether there was really something to regret or was I just idealising it because I was happy to be free from the boarding school atmosphere for a while and simply have nice memories of that time. 😀

So yeah, that’s gonna be my very healthy self activity of the week, lol – drinking a chocolate shake from KFC.

Oh, and there was another self-care activity that was very important to me this week, and much more healthy.

I finally went horse riding! I was a bit hesitant, because of that skin infection on my leg I’m having and about which I was writing earlier, how I was frustrated with it and that it won’t let me ride. I’m still dealing with it, though it’s not as painful now, I’ve been having also quite low blood pressure this week for some reason which makes me feel a bit crappy and groggy, so I was worried whether it would actually make sense to go riding in such state, but I just couldn’t resist and say my instructor that again I can’t go. I told her about my issues and so she told me that we will cut it to only half an hour for now, the more that I wasn’t riding in months, so we should have an easy start.

I didn’t regret that I went, even though it was rather intense and we were repeating all we’ve done before. It wasn’t only a big restart for me, but also for my instructor, as she wasn’t riding or doing anything at the stud for months as well, due to her other duties and issues.

The ride was great. I was happy to see Rudy – my horse, and my instructor too. I was doing very well despite my leg not being in the best condition and was feeling great at the time I was riding though.

Afterwards though, I felt yucky again and like my bp was dropping, but luckily my Mum already was there so we left quickly. I was a bit scared by that episode as I felt really shitty and weak for some time and whenever I was standing I felt like I was going to pass out or something, which luckily didn’t happen, I was afraid I maybe did too much or that it wasn’t wise to go riding when I wasn’t feeling too good.

I went to bed for a while and then I felt much better after some rest, so I guess it wasn’t that bad in the end, though my Mum was rather worried too. We both think now that it was just that I did too much at the start.

I hope next week is gonna be much better for me and I can’t wait for Friday to go ride again. 🙂

OK< so that would be about my self care, now let’s get to the music.

Bee asks us to share some music that reminds us about our successes. That also wasn’t hard for me to think about such piece of music.

One of the successes I treasure the most in my life, is thatI translated some of Cornelis Vreeswijk’s poems and songs.

This one I’m going to show you, is particularly important to me because it was the first one I translated, and funnily enough, with not very big knowledge about Swedish language. I started to learn Swedish when I was 10 and was learning it for about two years, at the time when I was in the integration school, but then had to leave both the integration school and Swedish  for a long time, there was no possibility for me to learn it at the school for the blind. When I translated this song, I guess I was about 16, still going to the school for the blind, my crush on Vreeswijk was very fresh and I was even more determined than before that I am going  to learn Swedish again, whatever it takes. But all that I had at that time was some bits and pieces of Swedish that I learned as a child and still remembered, some other bits and pieces that I forgot but that came back to my memory with Cornelis’ music, and some new vocabulary that I tried to learn just of curiosity of Cornelis and his songs and poems. So that wasn’t much.

When I first heard this song, the little bits of its lyrics that I understood made me very curious what it’s all about. So when I came home next time I tried to deciffer the lyrics, not without a difficulty. Finally I understood them more or less though and was in awe, because it is a really beautiful song!

I scrolled through the lyrics over and over and over again, and at some point I started to a bit unconsciously translate it to Polish so that the lines would be equally long as those in the original. How surprised I was to see that that little mishmash of words in my brain was actually becoming a logical construction that was even rhyming! I was so excited and very spontaneously decided to write a translation of it. Just for fun, but I wanted it to have the same rhythm as the original.

In all that excitement I felt, it went really quickly once I started, or so it felt. HOnestly it felt kinda as I was on drugs or something, I never felt that way before hahaha. When I was reviewing it years after writing it, I always saw some shortcomings, some pretty significant, and I still feel like I could improve a few lines but just don’t know how. Though, as such an early thing, with such a low level of Swedish I had at that time, I think it was great! And I am so extremely proud of it. I was elated for weeks after I did it. And my Mum hung it over her bed in our previous house. 😀

OK, but I guess I should now tell you a bit about the song itself. I tried to translate it to English, at least very literally, or find a translation, but there doesn’t seem to be any and I found it a bit too difficult to translate such a thing to a language that I’m not completely fluent in. So I’ll just tell you a bit aboutit.

It is a beautiful lullaby, one of Vreeswijk’s lighter poems and in my opinion one of more beautiful ones. It is dedicated for Bim – this nickname belongs to Birgitta Gunvor Linnea Warne who was his second wife, I love this nickname by the way  – Cornelis – yeah, how cool is that, to dedicate your own works to yourself 😀 – and, how thoughtfully, all other people on Earth (I feel so honoured to be included! 😀 )

In each verse, we can see different people and other beings sleeping.

In the first verse, we see Staffan and Stina asleep. I’ve always imagined this couple as bee-keepers, because straight after that we get to know that the hive is asleep, and the bees in it. The dachshund is sleeping in its basket, and even the joy and sadness are asleep. Only darkness is awake, painting the roof black.

In the second verse Kenneth and Marit are sleeping, who, as I understand it, are factory workers, and during their sleep are away from the stress and the economy, rent and hysteria, away from worries about children…

Then we see Lasse and Pia, who are free, because the sleep, or dreams, are free. And then Greta and Ellis are mentioned, though we only know that they are dreaming, and finally Bim and Cornelis, also dreaming…

The refrain says, as I understand it, because it is hard to translate literally for me, that although we have many troubles and limitations of all kinds, we sleep in freedom, “so sleep, sleep”.

That’s an interesting point of view in my opinion, that only during sleep we can be fully free.

I could argue now, and talk in length about my sleep paralysis and other rubbish, but overall it’s so true! Plus it’s Cornelis, so I feel like I shouldn’t argue with him, even if my views are often dramatically different than his were, hahahaha.

OK, so I’ll leave you with this song, and… sleep well, at leastif you’re in my time zone or similar, and I wish you peaceful dreams full of freedom.