Friday, February 21, 2014

Look up, look up!

You'll probably see a sky interrupted by wires, and clouds, sunrise or a sunset, or rain; so if you can, listen for bird sound. I tried several other sources I have marked for poems, and surprise, surprise, wound up with another Transtromer. . .this one translated by Robert Bly, who worked with him on many translations. This book of Bly's translations also has Pablo Neruda, Mirabai, Basho, Antonio Machado and many others! Each poet's selection is preceded by a short essay on the life and work by Bly. An excellent companion to dip into frequently!


I wake up my car; 
pollen covers the windshield. 
I put my dark glasses on. 
The bird songs all turn dark. 

Meanwhile, someone is buying a paper 
at the railroad station 
not far from a big freight car 
reddened all over with rust. 
It shimmers in the sun. 

The whole universe is full. 

A cool corridor cuts through the spring warmth; 
a man comes hurrying past 
describing how someone right up in the main office 
has been telling lies about him. 

Through a backdoor in the landscape 
the magpie arrives, 
black and white, bird of the death-goddess. 
A blackbird flies back and forth 
until the whole scene becomes a charcoal drawing, 
except for the white clothes on the line: 
A Palestrina choir. 

The whole universe is full! 
Fantastic to feel how my poem is growing 
while I myself am shrinking. 
It’s getting bigger, it’s taking my place, 
it’s pressing against me. 
It has shoved me out of the nest. 
The poem is finished. 

Translation by Robert Bly in The Winged Energy of Delight; selected translations, 2005. Kindle location 151 following.

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