Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


After a Death

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.

Credit


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

Author


Tomas Tranströmer

Born in 1931, Tomas Tranströmer published numerous collections of poetry and was one of Sweden's most important poets.

Date Published: 2004-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/after-death