Tomas Tranströmer, Poems from the Wild Square Translated by Göran Malmqvist


The organ ceases to play and the church is dead silent but only for
a few seconds.
Then the faint humming noise penetrates from the traffic outside,
a greater organ.

Yes we are surrounded by the muttering of the traffic that moves
along the walls of the cathedral.
There the external world glides by like a transparent film with
struggling shadows in pianissimo.

I hear one of my pulses beat in the silence as if it mingled with the
noise from the street,
I hear my blood pulsate, the cascade that hides within me, and that
I carry along,

And as close as my blood and as far away as a memory from the
age of four
I hear the heavy lorry that passes by, causing the six-hundred-year
old walls to tremble.

Nothing could be more different from a mother’s embrace than this,
yet right now I’m a child
who hears the grown-ups talk far away, the voices of winners and
losers blend.

A sparse congregation sit on the blue benches. And the pillars rise like
strange trees:
no roots (only the shared floor) and no tree tops (only the shared

I re-live a dream: I stand in a church-yard alone. Everywhere the light of
as far as the eye reaches. Whom do I wait for? A friend. Why doesn’t he
come? He is already here.

Slowly death screws up the light from underneath, from the ground.
The shimmer of the heather grows more intensely lilac─
no a colour that no one has seen….until the pale light of morning
seeps in through the eyelids

and I wake up to that staunch PERHAPS that carries me through the
tilting world.
And every abstract image of the world is as impossible as the
blueprints of a storm.

At home the all-knowing Encyclopaedia occupied three feet in the
bookshelf, I taught myself to read from it.
But for every person an encyclopaedia is being written, it grows in
every soul,

it is being written from birth, and onwards, hundreds of thousands of
pages are pressed tight
and yet there is air in between! Like trembling leaves in a forest. A book
of contradictions.

What is written there changes with every moment, the pictures retouch
themselves, the words flicker.
A swell rolls through the entire text, followed by another swell, and


Men of the footnotes, not of the headlines. I find myself in the deep
that would be dark
if my right hand didn’t shine like a torch.
The light falls on something written on the wall
and I see it
as the diver sees the name of a sunken ship flicker before him in the
flowing depth:

He who made the organ spread its clumsy wings and rise─
It kept aloft for almost a minute.
What a successful experiment!

The writing on the wall: MAYONE, DAUTHENDEY, KAMINSKI…
the light falls on name after name.

The walls are filled
with the names of almost obliterated artists,
men of the footnotes, the unplayed, the half-forgotten, the immortal

One moment it feels as if they all whispered their names in unison─
whisper added to whisper, swelling into a surf that gushes through
the corridor
without knocking anyone over.

It’s no longer a corridor, for that matter.
Neither burial ground nor market place, but something of both.
It’s also a green-house.
Here is plenty of oxygen.
The dead of the footnotes can breathe deeply, they enter into ecology,
as before.

But there is much they escape from.
They escape from swallowing the morals of power,
They escape from the game checkered in black and white where the
stench of death is the only thing that never dies.

They are rehabilitated.
And they who can no longer receive
haven’t ceased to give.
They unfolded a length of shimmering and gloomy tapestry
and then let go their grip.

Some are anonymous, they are my friends
but I don’t know them, they resemble those figures of stone
carved on gravestones in ancient churches.
Mild or stern reliefs on walls that we touch lightly, figures and names
sunk into the stone floors, on their way to obliteration,
But those who really want to be struck off the list…
They don’t loiter in the region of the footnotes,
they enter the descending career that ends in oblivion and peace.
Total oblivion. It’s a kind of exam
that is taken on the quiet: to cross the border with no one noticing…


During the gloomy months my life glimmered only when I made love
to you.
Like the flickering of the fire-fly─you can follow its flight, glimpse
by glimpse
among the olive trees, in the dark of the night.

During the gloomy months the soul sat shrunken and lifeless
but the body went straight to you.
The night sky mooed.
We stealthily milked Cosmos and survived.


Tired of all who bring words, words but no language
I went to the snow-capped island.
The wilderness has no words.
Unwritten pages spread in all directions!
I come across prints of the cloven hoofs of deer in the snow.
Language but no words.


I drag like a grapnel across the bottom of the world.
Catching all that I don’t need.
Tired indignation, glowing resignation.
The excutioners fetch stones. God writes in the sand.

Quiet rooms.
The furniture is ready to take wing in the moonlight.
Slowly I walk into myself

through a forest of empty coats of mail.

Inga kommentarer:

Skicka en kommentar