Saturday, December 26, 2015

By the River by Tomas Tranströmer

By the River

Talking with contemporaries I saw heard behind their faces
the stream
that flowed and flowed and pulled with it the willing and the unwilling.

And the creature with stuck-together eyes that wants
to go right down the rapids with the current
throws itself forward without trembling
in a furious hunger for simplicity.

The water pulls more and more swiftly

as where the river narrows and flows over
in the rapids—the place where I paused
after a journey through dry woods

one June evening: the radio gives the latest
on the special meeting: Kosygin, Eban.
A few thoughts drill despairingly.
A few people down in the village.

And under the suspension bridge the masses of water hurl
past. Here comes the timber. Some logs
shoot out like torpedoes. Others turn
crosswise, twirl sluggishly and helplessly away

and some nose against the riverbanks,
push among stones and rubbish, wedge fast,
and pile up like clasped hands

motionless in the uproar . . .

       I saw heard from the bridge

in a cloud of mosquitoes,
together with some boys. Their bicycles
buried in the greenery—only the horns
stuck out.

(Translated by Robin Fulton)


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