Translator's notes


By Tomas Tranströmer

Some poems are instant pleasures, delights to discover and enjoy for a while. Others are poems to live by. Tomas Tranströmer’s Allegro is one of those. For years I have kept it in my desk drawer to look at when in need. It speaks of liberty but also of integrity, individuality and persistence in spite of headwinds. 

I live between languages. Some years ago I made my first English version of Allegro, but something subtle in the music and elegance got lost. MPT’s invitation to submit poems on the theme of freedom prompted another go. The compact Oxford thesaurus on my bookshelf helped me reformulate problematic lines. Suddenly all worked — syllables, rhythm, and meanings. 

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