From the great enigma: new collected poems
Translated by Robin Fulton
The Outpost by Tomas Tranströmer
I’m ordered out to a heap of stones
like a distinguished corpse from the Iron Age.
The others are back in the tent sleeping
stretched out like spokes in a wheel.
In the tent the stove rules: a big snake
that has swallowed a ball of fire and hisses.
But out in the spring night it is silent
among cold stones waiting for day.
Out in the cold I begin to fly
like a shaman, I fly to her body
with its white marks from her bikini –
we were out in the sun. The moss was warm.
I flit over warm moments
but can’t stop for long.
They’re whistling me back through space –
I crawl out from the stones. Here and now.
Mission: to be where I am.
Even in that ridiculous, deadly serious
role – I am the place
Where creation is working itself out.
Daybreak, the sparse tree trunks
are coloured now, the frostbitten
spring flowers form a silent search party
for someone who has vanished in the dark.
But to be where I am. And to wait.
I am anxious, stubborn, confused.
Coming events, they’re here already!
I know it. They’re outside:
a murmuring crowd outside the gate.
They can pass only one by one.
They want in. Why? They’re coming
one by one. I am the turnstile.