Lina Ekdahl, poet and dramatist, born 1964, lives in Gothenburg, Sweden
Books: Fyrahundrafyrtio år 2018, Diktsamling 2012, Sprid glädje på Sjömansgården Anette 2007, Vad är det som skall utföras 2005, Nuförtiden 2002, 59 dikter 1999, Människan pratar 1997, Fram på dagen 1994. CD: ”Dikter och musik” together with Martin McFaul 2002.
Writes also for Radio, Magazines and Newspapers. Writes plays for children/adults and poems for dance theatres.
 Has read her poems on stage since 1984. In Sweden, but even in Cambodia, Croatia, Ukraine, Serbia, Ireland, Germany and Norway.


What do you want

Why did you come here. Why are you here. What are you doing. What are you doing here. Who are you. What’s your name. What do you want. What are you thinking about. What do you wish for. What do you want. Why are you standing here. What are you waiting for. What’s your name. Where is your mum. Where is your dad. What’s his job. What’s your job. What do you want. What do you eat. Do you eat meat. Do you eat fish. Do you like spicy food. Do you like mild food. Are you in good health. What health problems do you have. What health problems have you had. Do you know how to read. Do you know how to write. Do you know how to whistle. What language do you speak. Do you know Finnish. English. German. Portuguese. Do you understand Danish. What do you want. What kinds of clothes do you like. Are you interested in sex. Are you sad. What are you doing. Why are you standing here. Why are you not talking. What do you want. What do you like to do in your spare time. Do you like going to the beach. Swimming. Diving. Mountain climbing. Fishing for crabs. For crayfish. What do you want. Do you ski. Are you from Skåne. Gästrikland. Småland. Jämtland. So where are you from then. What’s your best colour. Why. What do you want. Who is your best friend. Where do you live. Who are you. What are you doing. What do you want. Are you in love. With whom. What do you want. What’s his name. Hers. Why are you standing here. When did you arrive. Are you hungry. Do you want cookies. Do you want a spanking. Do you want cock. Do you want to have fun. What do you want. Why are you not laughing. Who are you. Where do you live. Why are you standing up. What are you thinking about. What do you want. Do you make things. Songs. Music. Do you play an instrument. Do you like travelling. Where are you from. Are you happy. Why are you not laughing. When did you arrive. When are you leaving. What do you want. How much do you cost. Who pays. How much do you eat. How are your teeth. Your stomach. Nerves. What do you want. Who is going to pay. Where do you live. Where do you sleep. Who are you. What do you want. Me. Us. Why did you come here. Do you know where you are. Why not. What do you want. What health problems are you going to have. Are you creative. What do you want. Are you horny. When did you arrive. Why are you standing here. What’s your name. What do you want. Why do you act. How long are you planning on staying. Did you bring sheets.

Conflict resolution

I’m telling you for the last time now.
Stop it.
If I see any of you shoot one more time
there will be no dessert.

Didn’t you hear what I said?

I’ll take your pistols
Your rifles hand grenades and cannons.
You just can’t keep them
if you’re going to shoot at each other all the time.
Enough is enough.

I don’t care who started it.
That doesn’t matter.
Stop killing now.
Stop making war.
I’ve had it.
Enough is enough.

Just look what a mess you’ve made,
houses destroyed, children abandoned, dead bodies all over.
There’s nothing to eat, everything’s in ruins.
You’ve got to stop now. You’ve got to say sorry.
Do it.
Say sorry to each other.


Yes of course.
I forgive you is what you say when someone says sorry.

Now we’ll work together to rebuild the cities,
take care of those who’ve lost their loved ones,
heal the wounds
and never, never, do such stupid things again.

Now let’s have our rice pudding.
(from Human Beings Speak)

Finding out

Know nothing about iguanas
Or how iguanas behave
or about dogs
how dogs greet you by barking
I don’t know much about the constellations
but I do
The big dipper    Orion’s belt        the North Star

the stock market I know very little about
know almost nothing about the crash
or what difference it makes
when it falls like it does

I know almost zilch about science fiction
Darth Vader
crime novels
don’t get offside
or why
the referee blows his whistle

know hardly anything about mussels
what mussels are like
how many bones we have in our body
how many bones do we have in our body

when they rub noses
are saying hello

I’m going to find out
If    we are
and in that case
who are     they
(from What Needs to be Done)


If someone comes
a little someone
maybe dressed in gray
no bigger than a mitten
than the thumb of a mitten
a friendly little someone
with a little pipe in his mouth
and a little walking stick
and maybe a little hat
with a little flower on the brim
a little tiny bell
a little messenger
with a message
one of those little fellows
maybe with a little hat
little plume
one of those friendly little ones
and maybe with a little bag
can I be counted on
to notice

(from What Needs to be Done)


Annette rolls down the hill
she’s got eggs in her pocket
then she rolls

it’s just as astounding as can be
and attractive too

things like that
can only happen nowadays

nobody has to do that
like they did
in the old days
nobody does that any more
old isn’t something we’ve got to grow
hardly even older
and not sick either
tell us Annette
so tell us
that we won’t have to get sick
or fall to pieces either
who’s going to promise us that
now is the time of resurrection
and insurance policies
it cost a bundle but it’s gorgeous
we’ll never fall to pieces again

you can’t roll like that you know
you can’t roll like that
with eggs in your pocket
yes it’s attractive
but it’s very very dangerous
tell me what insurance
would cover that Annette
you’ve got to read the fine print


you roll
or else you’ll find yourself
in pieces
and the happiest one of all

(from Spread Happiness at the Seafarer´s Center, Anette)

Translations: Linda Schenck

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