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Wednesday, September 30, 2009


by Jan Keough

I would like to meet Ingmar Bergman on Faro,
his island retreat on Sweden’s Baltic east coast –
but he’s dead two years and five marriages ago,
his things to be auctioned at the end of the month,
people will travel from all over to bid on
his awards, furniture, pictures - all that he owned,
all to be sent away with the highest bidder
until that owner dies or decides to resell
the something that once belonged to a famous man.
The film ‘poet’ who quit for a time, accused of
tax fraud, who thought that every film was his last
so he’d be loyal to the film he was making.

I would like to meet Ingmar Bergman on Faro,
meet him walking the tip of this ragged island,
filled with the silence he loved and solace he craved.
Faro stole him and he thanked her by staying,
letting her rescue him from that bright, careless sunlight
he could never quite trust with his fearsome magic.
But he’s dead two years, five marriages, eight children
ago - some who seldom ever met their father
except as a name on the screen or when mentioned,
and maybe, too, they’ll read his last words about all this,
‘that no discussion or emotional tumult
must come as a result’ of selling off his things.

I’d like to have met Ingmar Bergman on Faro
before this great worldliness reached out to claim those
three hundred and thirty-nine things he left behind,
lost in the wake of death, sitting like closed-off feelings,
inert to any value since he is now gone,
waiting to be temporarily owned, again,
until death or decision sells them one-by-one
as something that once belonged to a most famous man.
And the conversations about them will circle
around profits and margins and who gets how much…
but his films are already dispersed and well-owned
by those who only knew his name in the credits.

Jan Keough’s poems have appeared in The New Verse News and, this summer, in the River Poet’s Journal. She is on the committee for the Origami Poems Project of RI and has contributed several poems. She’s still waiting for the Providence Journal to publish the article & her poem ‘A little encouragement’ but the Arts section has been severely cut down in size. Poetry and the economic turndown are not a good mix.