Sunday, 29 March 2015

Black postcards from Tranströmer


Black postcards

I
The almanac filled in, future unknown.
The cable hums the folksong without a homeland.
Snowfall on the lead-still sea. Shadows
wrestle on the quay.

II
In the midst of life it happens that death comes
and takes a person’s measurements. That visit
is forgotten and life goes on. But the suit
is being sewn on the quiet.

2 comments:

John Irons said...

I never look at other translations of poems until I've done mine. I found a very elegant version on the Internet, but it doesn't really say what Tranströmer does in II. It leaves out 'it happens', writes 'your measurements' and finishes with 'on the sly', which to me can have a negative ring to it. But who am I to say? Read as many translations as you can find, and a common denominator may well emerge.

Anonymous said...

This is about the best translation of the poem that I have come across. I think it really captures the meaning and the language of Tranströmer extremely well. (at least to my understanding) thanks a lot!