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“The landscape of Tranströmer’s poetry has remained constant during his fifty-five year career: the jagged coastline of his native Sweden, with its dark spruce and pine forests, sudden light and sudden storm, restless seas and endless winters, is mirrored by his direct, plain-speaking style and arresting, unforgettable images. Sometimes referred to as a “buzzard poet,” Tranströmer seems to hang over this landscape with a gimlet eye that sees the world with an almost mystical precision.
Tranströmer himself has remarked: ‘I perceived, during the first enthusiastic poetry years, all poetry as Swedish. Eliot, Trakl, Éluard—they were all Swedish writers, as they appeared in priceless, imperfect translations … We must believe in poetry translation, if we want to believe in World Literature.’”
-Robin Robertson, Introduction, The Deleted World
Suddenly the walker comes upon the ancient oak: a huge
rooted elk whose hardwood antlers, wide
as this horizon, guard the stone-green walls of the sea.
A storm from the north. It is the time of rowanberries.
Awake in the night he hears - far above the horned tree -
the stars, stamping in their stalls.
from The Deleted World, translated by Robin Robertson
Here the walker suddenly meets the giant
oak tree like a petrified elk whose crown is
furlongs wide before the September ocean’s
murky green fortress.
Northern storm. The season when rowanberry
clusters swell. Awake in the darkness, listen:
constellations stamping inside their stalls, high
over the treetops.
from The Great Enigma, translated by Robin Fulton
VA w/ Alaina.
…Interred with other daughters, in dirt in other potters’ fields
above them, parades mark the passing of days
through parks where pale colonnades arch in marble and steel.
Where all of the twenty-thousand attending your foot fall
and the causes they died for are lost in the idling bird calls,
and the records they left are cryptic at best, lost in obsolescence.
The text will not yield, nor x-ray reveal with any fluorescence
where the hand of the master begins and ends.
I fell, I tried to do well but I won’t be.
Go tell the one that I love to remember and hold me.
I call, I call for the doctor
but the snow swallows me whole with ol’ Flory Walker
and the event lives only in print.
He said: “It’s alright,” and “It’s all over now,”
and boarded the plane, his belt unfastened;
the boy was known to show unusual daring.
And, called a “boy”, this alderman, confounding Tammany Hall,
In whose employ King Tamanend himself preceeded John’s fall.
John Purroy Mitchel was the mayor of New York from 1914 to 1917. At age 34 he was the second-youngest ever; he is sometimes referred to as “The Boy Mayor of New York.”
So we all raise a standard to which the wise and honest soul may repair,
to which a hunter, a hundred years from now, may look and despair
and see with wonder the tributes we have left to rust in the parks,
swearing that our hair stood on end to see John Purroy Mitchel depart
for the Western front where work might count.
O mercy! O God! God,
I will the hunter to decipher the stone,
and what lies under the city is done.
So look and despair.
Look and despair.
"At one point, we were going to write…the story of Ray Allen, the first black president, given the narrative and symbolic structure of the Gospels. Other players were in his cabinet and supposed to parallel apostles. Ron Artest was Judas."
The meteorite is the source of the light / And the meteor’s just what we see / The meteoroid is a stone that’s devoid of the fire that propelled it to thee
The meteorite’s just what causes the light / And the meteor’s how it’s perceived / And the meteoroid’s a bone thrown from the void that lies quiet in offering to thee