AT FUNCHAL (ISLAND OF MADEIRA) - Tomas Transtromer Poems


Poems » tomas transtromer » at funchal (island of madeira)

    On the beach there's a seafood place, simple, a shack thrown up by
survivors of the shipwreck.  Many turn back at the door, but not the sea
winds.  A shadow stands inside his smoky hut frying two fish according to an
old recipe from Atlantis, tiny garlic explosions, oil running over sliced
tomatoes, every morsel says that the ocean wishes us well, a humming from
the deep places.

    She and I look into each other.  It's like climbing the wild-flowered
mountain slopes without feeling the least bit tired.  We've sided with the
animals, they welcome us, we don't age.  But we have experienced so much
together over the years, including those times when we weren't so good (as
when we stood in line to give blood to the healthy giant - he said he wanted
a transfusion), incidents which we've totally forgotten - though they
haven't forgotten us!  They've turned to stones, dark and light, stones in a
scattered mosaic.  And now it happens:  the pieces move towards each other,
the mosaic appears and is whole.  It waits for us.  It glows down from the
hotel-room wall, some figure violent and tender, perhaps a face, we can't
take it all in as we pull off our clothes.

    After dusk we go out.  The dark powerful paw of the cape lies thrown out
into the sea.  We walk in swirls of human beings, we are cuffed around
kindly, among soft tyrannies, everyone chatters excitedly in the foreign
tongue.  "No man is an island."  We gain strength from "them," but also from
ourselves.  From what is inside that the other person can't see.  That which
can only meet itself.  The innermost paradox, the underground garage
flowers, the vent towards the good dark.  A drink that bubbles in empty
glasses.  An amplifier that magnifies silence.  A path that grows over after
every step.  A book that can only be read in the dark.