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:
Great poem, Jeff! Sharing this on Facebook.