Friday, April 10, 2009

Imagine Transtromer on a ship

Another picture taken during my grandson's visit. I thought this nautical sunset over San Francisco Bay (see a tower of the Golden Gate bridge on the skyline in the middle of the photograph?) would be a suitable accompaniment for the poem I read at the celebration of National Poetry Month last night.


Tonight I am down among the ballast.
I am one of the silent weights
which prevent the vessel overturning!
Obscure faces in the darkenss like stones.
They can only hiss: 'don't touch me.'

Other voices throng, the listener
glides like a lean shadow over the radio's
luminous band of stations.
The language marches with the executioners.
Therefor we must get a new language.

The wolf is here, friend for every hour
touching the windows with his tongue.
The valley is full of crawling axe-handles.
The night-flyer's din overruns the sky
sluggishly, like a wheelchair with iron rims.

They are digging up the town. But it is silent now.
Under the elms in the churchyard:
an empty excavator. The scoop against the earth--
the gesture of a man who has fallen asleep at table
with his fist in front of him. ---Bell ringing.

from Selected Poems, Tomas Transtromer, p93.
Translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton.
More about this and about the reading soon.

1 comment:

  1. So evocative and beautiful! I'll have to read it a few more times.

    Thanks for comments on my blogs!