after a death …. tomas tranströmer

Once there was a shock

that left behind a long, shimmering comet tail.

It keeps us inside. It makes the TV pictures snowy.

It settles in cold drops on the telephone wires.

 

One can still go slowly on skis in the winter sun

through brush where a few leaves hang on.

They resemble pages torn from old telephone directories.

Names swallowed by the cold.

 

It is still beautiful to hear the heart beat

but often the shadow seems more real than the body.

The samurai looks insignificant

beside his armor of black dragon scales.

 

“After a Death ”

by Tomas Tranströmer

translated by Robert Bly

From The Winged Energy of Delight: Selected Translations by Robert Bly, published by Harper Collins. Copyright © 2004 by Robert Bly.

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