Thursday, July 7, 2022


TOMAS TRANSTRĂ–MER
"Streets in Shanghai"
____________________

1
The white butterfly in the park is being read by many.
I love that cabbage-moth as if it were a fluttering corner of truth itself!

At dawn the running crowds set our quiet planet in motion.
Then the park fills with people. To each one, eight faces polished like jade, for all
       situations, to avoid making mistakes.
To each one, there's also the invisible face reflecting "something you don't talk about."
Something that appears in tired moments and is as rank as a gulp of viper schnapps                with its long scaly aftertaste.

The carp in the pond move continuously, swimming while they sleep, setting an   example for the faithful: always in motion.          

2
It's midday. Laundry flutters in the gray sea-wind high over the cyclists
who arrive in dense schools. Notice the labyrinths on each side!

I'm surrounded by written characters that I can't interpret, I'm illiterate through and            through.
But I've paid what I owe and have receipts for everything.
I've accumulated so many illegible receipts.
I'm an old tree with withered leaves that hang on and can't fall to the ground.

And a gust from the sea gets all these receipts rustling.

3
 At dawn the trampling hordes set our quiet planet in motion.
We're all aboard the street, and it's as crammed as the deck of  a ferry.

Where are we headed? Are there enough teacups? We should consider ourselves lucky
       to have made it aboard this street!
It's a thousand years before the birth of claustrophobia.

Hovering behind each of us who walks here is a cross that wants to catch up with us,
        pass us, unite with us.
Something that wants to sneak up on us from behind, put its hands over our eyes and
        whisper "Guess who!"

We look almost happy out in the sun, while we bleed to death from wounds we don't
        know about.


Translated by Patty Crane

No comments:

Post a Comment