Observations placeholder

Tranströmer, Tomas - The Forgotten Commander



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Forgotten Commander

We have lots of shadows. I was walking home
one September night when Y
after forty years climbed from his grave
and joined me.

At first he was entirely hollow, only a name,
but his thoughts could swim
faster than time could run
and caught up with me.

I set his eyes to my eyes
and saw the ocean in wartime.
The last ship he captained
rose beneath us.

The Atlantic convoy moved behind and ahead-
those destined to survive
and those who had received the Mark
(no one could see it).

Meanwhile sleepless nights relieved
each other but no one relieved him.
Life-jacket fat under his slicker.
He didn't make it home.

It was internal weeping that drained his blood
in a Cardiff hospital.
Able at last to lie down,
he turned into the horizon.

Farewell, eleven-knot ships! Good-bye 1940!
The history of the world ended here.
The bombers remained in air.
The heather went on blossoming.

A photo early in the century shows a beach.
We see six boys dressed up.
They have sailboats in their arms.
What serious faces!

Boats for some become life and death.
Even to write about the dead
is also a play that turns heavy
from the weight of what is to come.

The source of the experience

Tranströmer, Tomas

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps