Track (after Tranströmer)


Track (after Tranströmer)

2 p.m.: Sunlight. The subway flows
beneath us. Flecks of darkness
shimmer madly on the wall.

As when a man cracks a window into a dream,
remembering everything, even
what never occurred.

Or after skimming the surface of good health,
all his nights become ash, billowing clouds,
strong and warm, suffocating him.

The subway never stops.
2 o’clock. Filtered sunlight, smoke.

I’ve been dipping into Friends, You Drank Some Darkness, Robert Bly’s 1975 translations of Harry Martinson, Gunnar Ekelöf and Tomas Tranströmer, and I couldn’t resist playing with one of my favorite poems. A different darkness, a separate space, another landscape…

24 thoughts on “Track (after Tranströmer)

  1. Many poems have flashes of greatness. This one is infused with the stuff of immortality throughout. And now, by contrast, I must go squeeze a moment of pathetic wordsmithing into one of my micro-fairy tales. *thin smile*


    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have always enjoyed Bly’s translations of Transtromer, but I think I can only do so because there are other translations of TT as well. The fibre of Bly runs through all his translations. I like your adaptation here–the change from night to day, rural to urban, the frozen exterior to the isolated interior. Thanks for bringing some of this magic back–and check out the Robin Fulton translation if you have not already, in The Great Enigma.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll have to pick up a copy of The Great Enigma. Fulton has a handful of translations in For the Living and the Dead, which I’ll look at more closely. I also like Michael McGriff’s translation of Sorrow Gondola.

      Liked by 1 person

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