Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What I Miss About Sweden


Jag saknar Sverige.
Have I
sentimentalized that long country?
To be sure. Still there's much
to miss specifically. How
Swedes listen and have known
silence to be a key component
of conversation. How
they're suspicious of people
who require attention and thus
of Americans. The ubiquitous

(or so it seems) aromas
of coffee and pastry and certain
spices. Small grocery stores
that sell small potatoes still
with dried mud on them. The

presence of the absence of war.
A multitude of drolleries.
Crunch of tires and boots
on snow. Bicycles through snow.
The practical national enthusiasm
for children as a protected class.

Group-thinking (but not group-
thought). The way the language
swings--no wonder that the Swedes
loved Duke Ellington. Certain shades

of yellow on large public buildings,
and of red on cottages. Order,
without mania. How light
is a Norse god. Pop music. Jazz,
blues. Cucumber sandwiches.
Herring, herring everywhere.
And the news, which is, as it
should be, presented with
suspicion and perplexity.

hans ostrom 2015


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