November 24, 2014KR OnlinePoetry

April and Silence

From The Kenyon Review, New Series, Summer 1991, Vol. XIII, No.3

Translated from Swedish by Robin Fulton

Spring lies desolate.
The velvet-dark ditch
crawls by my side
without reflections.

The only thing that shines
is yellow flowers.

I am carried in my shadow
like a violin
in its black box.

The only thing I want to say
glitters out of reach
like the silver
in a pawnbroker’s.

TOMAS TRANSTRÖMER, one of Sweden’s most important poets, has sold thousands of volumes in his native country, and his work has been translated into more than fifty languages. His books of poetry in English include The Sorrow Gondola (Green Integer, 2010); New Collected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2011); The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems (New Directions, 2003); The Half-Finished Heaven (2001); New Collected Poems (1997); For the Living and the Dead (1995); Baltics (1974); Paths (1973); Windows and Stones (1972), an International Poetry Forum selection and a runner-up for the National Book Award for translation; The Half-Finished Sky (1962); and Seventeen Poems (1954). Robin Fulton has translated work by many Scandinavian poets including Harry Martinson, Lennart Sjögren and Kjell Espmark from Sweden, and Olav H. Hauge from Norway. His work with Tomas Tranströmer culminated in the publication of Tranströmer’s Collected Poems (1987) and New Collected Poems (1997). He won the Bernard Shaw Prize for Swedish Translation for his translation Chickweed Wintergreen: Selected Poems (2010) by Harry Martinson.