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Tomas Transtromer, the recently Nobel Laureated poet from Sweden, writes luminescent gems, perhaps cut with different facets in Robert Bly’s translations than in the original, but glowing nonetheless.  A friend gave me The Half Finished Heaven, in Graywolf Press’ edition. Better than toast with breakfast!


Morning Bird Songs

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.

Morning Bird Songs
Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Robert Bly
from Graywolf Press