Home > Poetry > From July ’90
Tomas Tranströmer
Translated from the Swedish by Michael McGriff and Mikaela Grassl
Published: Sun Apr 15 2007
Art: Paul TheriaultEver New (detail), 2022, acrylic and found paper on scavenged wood
From July ’90

It was a funeral
and I felt the dead man
reading my thoughts
better than I could.

The organ kept silent, the birds sang.
The grave under the blazing sun.
My friend’s voice dwelled
on the far side of the minutes.

I drove home seen-through
by the glassy shine of summer
by the rain and calm
seen-through by the moon.

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Tomas Tranströmer (1931–2015) was born in Stockholm. In 2011 he won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. A translator, psychologist, entomologist, and classical pianist, Tranströmer has become the most influential and revered Swedish poet of his generation. His many poetry collections have appeared in hundreds of editions in over sixty languages.

Michael McGriff is a former Michener Fellow at the University of Texas and a current Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His translation of Tomas Tranströmer’s The Sorrow Gondola is forthcoming from Green Integer Books in 2008. His poems and translations have recently appeared in Poetry, Crazyhorse, FIELD, and Northwest Review. (updated 2007)
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