Brick 80

Breathing Room: July

Translated from the Swedish by May Swenson
Brick 80
Lying on his back under tall trees
he is also up there. He rills into thousands of twigs and branches,
is swayed back and forth,
as if in a catapult seat outflung in slow motion.

Standing down by the jetties he squints across the waters.
The docks age sooner than men.
Made of splintered silver grey planks, and with stones in their bellies.
The blinding light rips its way straight through.

Sailing all day in an open boat
over the glittering bights,
he will fall asleep at last inside a blue lamp
while islands like great nocturnal moths creep over the glass.

Brick 80

Tomas Tranströmer’s poetry has been translated into fifty languages. His most recent collection is Den stora gåtan (The Big Riddle). Robin Fulton’s English translation of Tranströmer’s entire body of work, The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems, was published in 2006.