Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Name by Tomas Tranströmer

The Name

I grow sleepy during the car journey and I drive in under the trees at the side of the road. I curl up in the back seat and sleep. For how long? Hours. Darkness has fallen.

Suddenly I’m awake and don’t know where I am. Wide-awake, but it doesn’t help. Where am I? WHO am I? I am something that wakens in a backseat, twists about in panic like a cat in a sack. Who?

At last my life returns. My name appears like an angel. Outside the walls a trumpet signal blows (as in the Leonora Overture) and the rescuing footsteps come smartly down the overlong stairway. It is I! It is I!

But impossible to forget the fifteen-second struggle in the hell of oblivion, a few meters from the main road, where the traffic glides past with its lights on.

(Translated by Robin Fulton)

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