Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tomas Tranströmer: Allegro (in English)

I wish to offer you a translation of the poem Allegro which I shared in Swedish in the previous post. This translation is provided by Lyle Daggett, and he has refined the translation of Robert Bly so that it sounds, at least to me, to be closer to the original Swedish. Some of you may have read it already in the comments to the previous post where I had just learned that Tranströmer had gotten the Nobel Prize of Literature.

Thank you very much for this, Lyle!

Here it is:


I play Haydn after a black day
and feel a little warmth in my hands.

The keys are ready. Kind hammers fall.
The sound is green, lively and still.

The sound says that freedom exists
and that someone does not pay tax to Caesar.

I shove my hands in my haydnpockets
and act like one who is calm about the world.

I raise the haydnflag -- it signals:
"We do not give up, but want peace."

The music is a glass house on a slope
where stones fly, stones roll.

And stones roll straight through
but every pane of glass is still whole.

* * *

There will be more Tranströmer in English on this blog. I can hardly wait to put it out!


Dimitris Leventeas said...

We do want more poems in English!

Anonymous said...

Very beautiful indeed! Thank you!