Tomas Tranströmer (b. 1931)
Task to Be Who I Am
I'm ordered out to a big hump of stone as if I were an aristocratic corpse from the iron age.
The rest are still back in the tent sleeping
stretched out like spokes in a wheel.
In the tent the stove is boss,
The big snake that swallows a ball of fire and hisses.
It is silent out here in the spring night amongst the stones waiting for the dawn.
In the cold I start to fly like a shaman to her body, some places pale from her swimming suit
the sun shone right on us, the moss was hot
I brush along the side of warm moments
But I can't stay here long
I am whistled back through space;
I crawl among the stones
Back to here and now.
Task: to be where I am.
Even when I am in this solemn and absurd role
I am still the place where creation does a little work on itself.
Dawn comes, the sparse tree trunks take on color now
The frost-bitten forest flowers form a silent search party after something that
has disappeared in the dark
But to be where I am and to wait.
I am full of anxiety, obstinate, confused
Things not yet happened are here and now
I feel that—they're just out there—
A murmuring mass outside the barrier
They can only slip in one by one.
They want to slip in.
They do one by one.
I am the turnstile.