Reading a Swedish Poet
—poetry by Lou Lipsitz

Reading a Swedish Poet

This man, Werner Aspenstrom, was born
in the country but lived in the big city for years
and was never entirely comfortable anywhere.

That’s good. I like that. He went out
into nature, as we call it, the farmland,
thick forests, river valleys where
the torrents of snowmelt roar along.
He saw the black butterfly
with orange stripes on its wings alight
on a pile of deer droppings.
He noticed the spot of sunshine
that edged its way into a clearing
among the great fir trees. Some people
say such things help to heal us.

The Swedish poet is not so sure. I like that.
Ok, he says, this helps a little. We quiet down.
And a poem can help too, insinuating itself
into our chaotic and bewildered psyches
like a tiny man we make out on a distant hillside
waving his arms. He wears a bright blue shirt.
Is he signalling us to stop, to come over?

We begin to drive in his direction, but then
we lose sight of him and realize
we have to get back soon. We don’t
have time to keep looking. It’s
starting to snow. The tunnel’s
coming up; the glare of those headlights. Our
own headlights racing toward us from the future.

Lou Lipsitz is a writer and psychotherapist living in Chapel Hill, NC. His most recent book, SEEKING THE HOOK, is being republished and will soon be available on Amazon as is his first and best known book, COLD WATER. His website is

Lou's recent poetry has taken a strong turn toward psychological issues and the realm of men's feelings. His poems have appeared recently in The Sun Magazine, Southern Poetry Review, The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review and Kakalak, 2009. The poem "Reading a Swedish Poet," is from his latest (and as yet unpublished) book, IF THIS WORLD FALLS APART.

* "Reading a Swedish Poet" was first published by The Sun.