An Image Bergman Forgot to Film

William Doreski

Three thousand kroner reside
in my Stockholm bank account.
Because this lonely sum depicts
my international lack of wealth
so explicitly you snub me
in the cafeteria. Steam trays,

stainless coffins, hiss. Green beans
wilt in post-phallic dismay.
Squares of fish suffer in juices
that could have been squeezed from me.
Your streaked hairdo bobs table
to table as you count your friends.

You have too many, so drop me
like a crumb. I fondle the thick
paper I received from Sweden
only today. One kroner interest
added to my account. Running away
to indulge in Bergman's landscapes

seems unlikely. Snow falls outside,
where it belongs. Your camel's hair
coat will protect you against sneers
of weather; and the love of your friends
will warm you as the early dark
fumbles across the roughened fields.

Later we'll both watch Bergman films:
you'll ponder The Seventh Seal
while I suffer through Shame. Brandy
will invoke your favorite lover,
whose Greenwich house on the Sound
looks like an awkward French villa.

My cheap wine will endorse a dream
of shadow-figures bent over graves,
an image Bergman forgot to film

only because it required you,
ten years before your birth,
to assume the starring role.

As I sit writing this there is a record of the
Brandenburg Concertos on the gramophone,
and I can see my children playing in the garden;
men, women and children--families like
mine--are being burnt and blasted to death in
Vietnam, and I have absolutely no idea what
may be happening to me and the few people
I love ten years, five years, two months from
now. Shame is central to the experience I am living at this moment, and at most moments.

   --- Robin Wood, Ingmar Bergman

I would meet people on whom my film
had made an impression, or I would
receive letters from them which read
like a kind of confession about their
lives, and I would understand what I
was working for. I would be conscious
of my vocation: duty and responsibility
towards people.

-- Andrey Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time