Tomas Transtroemer Poem: Memories Look at Me

A Poem by New Nobel Laureate Tomas Tranströmer

A Poem by New Nobel Laureate Tomas Tranströmer

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Slate's Culture Blog
Oct. 12 2011 10:23 AM

Memories Look at Me: a Poem by Tomas Tranströmer


Last week, the poet Colin Cheney recommended the three books you should read first by Tomas Tranströmer, this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Among those three was The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems. Here is one of the poems from that collection, translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton, and reprinted with the permission of New Directions.

Memories Look at Me


A June morning, too soon to wake,

too late to fall asleep again.

I must go out—the greenery is dense

with memories, they follow me with their gaze.


They can’t be seen, they merge completely into

the background, true chameleons.

They are so close that I can hear them breathe

though the birdsong is deafening.