Stig Dagerman never published a book of poetry but regularly contributed poems to magazines and newspapers. Fifty plus poems are available in Swedish in the collected works (Stig Dagerman. Dikter, noveller, prosafragment, No. 10, Norstedts, 1983). It includes one of his most well-known poems Jorden kan du inte göra om /The world cannot be remade/ (1954), written at the request of the Red Cross to support acts of compassion. It was published in syndicalist daily The Worker. Stig never gave it a title, and sometimes it is also referred to as En broder mer/A Brother Gained after the last line of the poem. Few of Stig Dagerman’s poems are available in English whereas several of his satirical verses have been translated (see Satirical Verse). An exception is an excerpt from Birgitta Suite translated by Thomas & Vera Vance (Poetry Magazine, January 1964).
I vilket vatten är den vinge doppad
som dryper svårmod över jordens panna?
In what water has the wing been dipped
that drips its melancholy over earth’s forehead?
Stig wrote Birgitta Suite for a close friend when he was struggling with the comple-
tion of his novel Wedding Worries in 1949.
Listen to Stig read Birgitta Suite in Swedish. youtube
FILM Birgittasvit. Short film (10 min), Sweden. Directed by Göran du Rees, 1987. En broder mer. Short film (20 min), Sweden. About Algerian refugees in Tunisia. Directed by Jan Troell and Bertil Rubin, 1962.
MUSIC Bengt Söderhäll and Urban Forsgren have put music to Stig’s poems and verses. Their first CD is called En broder mer. Bengt sings at the Stig Dagerman booth at the Gothenburg Book Fair [ Listen ]
Stig's poem En Broder Mer /A Brother Gained is one of his most well-known poems in Sweden, e.g. seen in Poetry-on-the-Way on Stockholm mass transit. Another poem frequently cited is Höst/Autumn. Stig wrote it only weeks before his death. The poem was published as part of his more casual verse series (Sw. Dagsedlar) in The Worker but reads, as quite a few of these verses, more like poetry. The first two lines are the most well-known and are inscribed on Stig tombstone:
Att dö är att resa en smula
från grenen till fasta marken.
To die is to briefly journey
from branch onto solid ground.