Poetry, Translation

Under tryck / Under pressure, by Tomas Tranströmer

Transtromer prefers still, pared-down arrangements that rely more on image and tone than, say, peculiarities of diction or references to local culture. The voice is typically calm yet weary, as if the lines were meant to be read after midnight, in an office from which everyone else had gone home. And his gift for metaphor is remarkable

(From: The New York Times, March 9, 2012)



Under tryck

Den blå himlens motordån är starkt.
Vi är närvarande på en arbetsplats i darrning,
där havsdjupet plötsligt kan uppenbara sig –
snäckor och telefoner susar.

Det sköna hinner man bara se hastigt från sidan.
Den täta säden på åkern, många färger i en gul ström.
De oroliga skuggorna i mitt huvud dras dit.
De vill krypa in i säden och förvandlas till guld.

Mörkret faller. Vid midnatt går jag till sängs.
Den mindre båten sätts ut från den större båten.
Man är ensam på vattnet.
Samhällets mörka skrov driver allt längre bort.


Under Pressure

The blue sky’s engine-drone is deafening.
We’re living here on a shuddering work-site
where the ocean depths can suddenly open up –
shells and telephones hiss.

You can see beauty only from the side, hastily,
The dense grain on the field, many colours in a yellow stream.
The restless shadows in my head are drawn there.
They want to creep into the grain and turn to gold.

Darkness falls. At midnight I go to bed.
The smaller boat puts out from the larger boat.
You are alone on the water.
Society’s dark hull drifts further and further away.

Tomas Transtromer: Selected Poems, 1954-1986

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