"I give the word"

At times the strongest commentary to a situation is the indirect one and following the massacre that took place last night in Paris, I immediately thought of the as yet unpublished (but oh, must it find its publisher soon) collection of poems and drawings Songs to Sissera by Riber Hansson.

Sissera of course refers to the Biblical figure, but another struggle surfaces when reading of his demise: That of the artist creating. The voluminous ink splotch, soaking the paper, running and growing to all sides of the picture plane at once controlled and yet not at all so. It seems to speak of destruction by its very massiveness before us and yet it is its very creation we are seeing.

It is the artist on whose command everything is destroyed. Or as it is, created where nothing was to be found before.

Riber Hansson, Songs to Sissera, No. 28: The Bay, November 11, 2013:
"Runt vikens grunda vatten flockas husen,
en törstig boskapshjord av trä och sten.
En dyning vaggar lyktors milda sken.
Ord korsar vattnet. Mänskor har i tusen 
år fått njuta sin idyll, där ljusen
nu tänds en sista gång. Ett enda ord
från mig och mina män gör grus och jord
av byn i natt. Jag lockar på en frusen 
hund, erbjuder den min matranson
och värmer djuret innanför min rock.
Den slickar handen lätt, en tacksam kyss.
Jag säger ordet och trumpetens ton
utlöser krigets raseri. Snart ska ett lock
av tystnad gömma friden som dog nyss".

"Around the bay's shallow waters the houses are flocking,
a thirsty herd of wood and stone.
A ripple rocks the gentle glow of lanterns.
Words cross the water. Humans have for a thousand
years been enjoying the idyll, where lights
are now being lit for one last time. A single word
from me and my men shall make gravel and soil
of the village tonight. I invite a freezing
dog, offering it my food ration
and warm the animal inside my coat.
It softly licks my hand, a grateful kiss.
I give the word and the sound of the trumpet
triggers the rage of war. Soon a cover
of silence shall hide the peace which died just now".

The words and drawing are courtesy of Riber Hansson and must not be reproduced without his permission.

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