Sunday, April 05, 2015

Spring's Narcosis

Lupine on the dunes at Monterey Bay in the beautiful light near the sea.
Far away in Idaho, tulips and daffodils and the tiny grape hyacinths that still poke through
though they have been replaced by lawn remind me about the flowering dunes.

Silent fury scribbles inward on the wall.
Fruit-trees in blossom, the cuckoo calls.
It is spring's narcosis. But silent fury
paints its slogans backward in the garage.

We see everything and nothing, but straight as periscopes
handled by the shy crew from underground.
It's the minutes' war. The blazing sun
stands over the hospital, suffering's parking place.

We living nails hammered down into society!
One day we will come loose from everything.
We will know death's air under our wings
and grow milder and wilder than we are here.

Tomas Transtromer 
Inspired Notes; Poems of Tomas Transtromer
translated by John F. Deane, Dedalus Press, 2011, page 54.

I've come back once again to the rich poems of Transtromer, introduced to me in class so many years ago by poet Robert Hass. It is probably too late for me to learn Swedish, so I am lucky that translations of at least some of his work are available, and there may be more, since he won the Nobel Prize! He died this year, in March. Many years ago I had the good fortune to hear him read in a church in San Jose. He stood behind a lectern carved with a great eagle or hawk facing us. For me that carved eagle is indelibly associated with his persona.

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