For Tomas Tranströmer

For Tomas Tranströmer

The ice on the road sees us with our own eyes
and is no better than we are at helping ourselves

as direction changes. In a winter far south of here,
the edge of still water is guarded by cypress knees,

like a tired army that lay on their backs for a nap
and never found a reason to get up. Beyond them

I heard the bellow of a bull alligator claiming the world.
By a cold spring corn field a thousand miles

away, watching the storm’s wind sprint across
before it could be heard or felt, I know everything

can be claimed, like these memories—are the endless
chances to say hello merely a shout over the slumbering?

Is the wind with its violence finally hearing us with our ears?
I will sit here with you for awhile and see what comes.


Re-posting this in light of the news of Tomas Tranströmer’s death. I consider it a privilege that this poem actually found its way into the poet’s hands earlier this year. See here for the translation of this poem into Swedish by film-maker (and Tranströmer’s longtime friend) James Wine, done spontaneously as he and Tomas read the poem together.

I could say a million things this night, but Elin Thor (@elinmiothor) said it best on Twitter today:

Saknar ord.


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