Featured Poem

Allegro

I play Haydn after a dark day
and sense an honest warmth in my hands.

The keys are willing. Mild hammers strike.
The tone is green, lively and still.

The tone says that freedom exists
and that someone does not pay the emperor tribute.

I push the hands deep into my haydnpockets,
mimicking one who quietly watches the world.

I raise the haydnflag — this means:
“We do not surrender. But want peace.”

The music is a glasshouse on the slope
where stones fly, stones roll.

And the stones roll right through
but each pane remains whole.


First Prize, MPT Poetry Translation Competition 2011

» Comment on this translation 1 comment(s)

About the translation:
» Read translator's notes
Poet:
Tomas Tranströmer
Translator:
Ingar Palmlund
Original language:
Swedish
Issue:
Series 3 No. 17 - Parnassus

Original poem

About the authors

Poet

Tomas Tranströmer

Tomas Gösta Tranströmer (born Stockholm, Sweden,15 April 1931) is a Swedish writer, poet and translator, whose poetry has been...

» Read more

Translator

Ingar Palmlund

Ingar Palmlund is a writer who lives in London. Given a pocket edition of Palgrave’s Golden Treasury for her fifteenth birthda...

» Read more

Allegro

Jag spelar Haydn efter en svart dag
och känner en enkel värme i händerna.

Tangenterna vill. Milda hammare slår.
Klangen är grön, livlig och stilla.

Klangen säger att friheten finns
och att någon inte ger kejsaren skatt.

Jag kör ner händerna i mina haydnfickor
och härmar en som ser lugnt på världen.

Jag hissar haydnflaggan — det betyder:
“Vi ger oss inte. Men vill fred.”

Musiken är ett glashus på sluttningen
där stenarna flyger, stenarna rullar.

Och stenarna rullar tvärs igenom
men varje ruta förblir hel.


From Den halvfärdiga himlen, Bonniers 1962

Copyright © Tomas Tranströmer 1962

Comment

A. Zaidi

13th Mar 2012

Wonderful poem, wonderful translation. The reticence and tonal restraint have been conveyed so well.

ADD YOUR COMMENT

Browse poems

By original language »

By issue of MPT »

Go Digital

Subscribe to the digital edition of MPT for access to all back issues and to the Exactly app.» View free trial issue

Back to top
Supported by Arts Council England

Copyright © Modern Poetry in Translation and contributors
Website design ashbydesign
Developed by Code Frontiers
Powered by Storemill