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POEM OF THE DAY -- "The Blue House" by Tomas Transtromer

Today's "Poem of the Day" is the first of several celebrations of the life and poetry of Tomas Transtromer which we'll feature in our blog.   A famous and influential Swedish poet, Tomas Transtromer, was born in 1931, and passed away earlier this year. A recipient of numerous awards and accolades, Including the Nobel Prize in 2011, Tranströmer has been universally
acclaimed as one of the most important European and Scandinavian writers since World War II.

Critics have praised Tranströmer’s poems for their accessibility, spirituality - and I find, an amazing ability to clearly mirror many of the inner thoughts which we all have - in our quest to find meaning in life and our place in the world around us.  I also find that each poem takes us on a familiar inner, spiritual journey.  

Tranströmer wrote of the dualities of the inner and outer worlds we each carry with us in our journey through life, the small moments in a life when a window of perception magically opens.

The following poem is one of his most famous works (there are many) and it touches on the material (the house) and the spiritual...and the connections between what was, who was, and what or who may be yet to come...and how something like a house can actually be alive...enjoy.

The Blue House

by Tomas Transtromer

It is night with glaring sunshine. I stand in the woods and look towards my house with its misty blue walls. As though I were recently dead and saw the house from a new angle.

It has stood for more than eighty summers. Its timber has been impregnated, four times with joy and three times with sorrow. When someone who has lived in the house dies it is repainted. The dead person paints it himself, without a brush, from the inside.

On the other side is open terrain. Formerly a garden, now wilderness. A still surf of weed, pagodas of weed, an unfurling body of text, Upanishades of weed, a Viking fleet of weed, dragon heads, lances, an empire of weed.

Above the overgrown garden flutters the shadow of a boomerang, thrown again and again. It is related to someone who lived in the house long before my time. Almost a child. An impulse issues from him, a thought, a thought of will: “create. . .draw. ..” In order to escape his destiny in time.

The house resembles a child’s drawing. A deputizing childishness which grew forth because someone prematurely renounced the charge of being a child. Open the doors, enter! Inside unrest dwells in the ceiling and peace in the walls. Above the bed there hangs an amateur painting representing a ship with seventeen sails, rough sea and a wind which the gilded frame cannot subdue.

It is always so early in here, it is before the crossroads, before the irrevocable choices. I am grateful for this life! And yet I miss the alternatives. All sketches wish to be real.

A motor far out on the water extends the horizon of the summer night. Both joy and sorrow swell in the magnifying glass of the dew. We do not actually know it, but we sense it: our life has a sister vessel which plies an entirely different route. While the sun burns behind the islands.

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