Jeanette Lee Atkinson on Karl Ragnar Gierow (1980) page 4
A sceptic´s way
Gierow captured the imagination of his contemporaries with the 1937 volume of poetry Ödletid (Dinosaur Age). Foreboding of war is combined with a general criticism of civilization in the title poem, which takes its images from the prehistoric reptilian era. Gierow condenses geologic time in depicting the emergence of man as coeval with the decline of the great reptiles, but this enables him to draw a parallel between human arrogance and primordial, unabashed primitiveness. Despite Gierow’s critical attitude, his depiction of the monstrous reptiles and man’s monstrous presumption has a vitality that threatens to celebrate the regression he condemns.
Herd by herd
Wandering monsters excreted
Droppings like massive stones.
Breath by breath
Up from gorges and jungle-marsh floated
King Pythons death-dealing exhalation.4
Civilization’s unreflecting progress and progression toward war appear as a monumental regression. Gierow´s reference to modern man as the ”monstersuperman” (vidunderövermannen) in the sixth stanza might well be an allusion to the Nietzschean concept of the Übermensch, vulgarized by the Nazis. This perverse and presumptuous ”superman” has created a new ”age of reptiles.”
Once more the earth
Witnesses lumbering hulks in armor.
Once more sea spray
Dances round gray leviathans’ snouts.
Once more deadly
Dragons attack from the skies.
Once more from gorges and gloomy marsh
Death-dealing vapors stream.