Tomas Tranströmer 1931—2015

After Someone’s Death

Once there was a shock that left behind a long pale glimmering comet’s tail. It contains us. It blurs TV images. It deposits itself as cold drops on the aerials.

You can still shuffle along on skis in the winter sun among groves where last year’s leaves still hang. They are like pages torn from old telephone directories— the names are eaten up by the cold.

It is still beautiful to feel your heart throbbing. But often the shadow feels more real than the body. The samurai looks insignificant beside his armor of black dragon scales.

—Tomas Tranströmer. Translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton.

Published in Time of Grief: Mourning Poems edited by Jeffrey Yang.

Image by New Direction