Monday, January 22, 2024




Right here, I was nearly killed one February evening.

The car skidded sideways on the glare ice

to the wrong side of the road. The oncoming cars —

their headlights—getting closer.

My name, my girls, my job

were quietly let go and left behind,

farther and farther away. I was as anonymous

as a boy surrounded by enemies in a schoolyard.

The oncoming traffic had enormous lights.

They shone on me as I steered and steered

in a transparent fear that floated like egg whites.

The seconds expanded—there was room in there—

they were as large as hospitals.

You could almost pause for a bit

and breathe easily

before being crushed.

Then something grabbed hold: a helpful grain of sand

or wonderful gust of wind. The car pulled free

and quickly lurched across the road.

A post shot up and snapped—a sharp clang—then

flew off into the darkness.

Until all was still. I stayed buckled in

and watched as someone came through the snow squall

to see what had become of me.


I've been walking around for a long time

in the frozen fields of Ostergotland.

Not a single person in sight.

In other parts of the world

there are those  who are born, live, and die

in a continuous crowd.

To always be visible—to live

in  swarm of eyes—

must lead to a certain facial expression.

A face coated with clay.

The murmuring rises and falls

while between them all, they divide up

the sky, the shadows, the sand grains.

I must be alone

ten minutes in the morning

and ten minutes at night.

—Without a program.

Everyone stands in line for everyone.




Tomas Transtromer

The Blue House

Collected Works

Translated by Patty Cline

Copper Canyon Press, 2023