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The Couple By Tomas Transtromer. Three Translations

Here are three translations of the same poem. The first is mine. The second by the American poet Robert Bly. And the third by Robin Fulton.

1

The Couple

They turn off the light. Its white shade
glows for a moment and then disappears
like a tablet dissolving into darkness
in a glass full of water. Darkness rises and
the hotel walls go along with it into the dark sky.

Their love movements have now grown gentle and
they turn to sleep, but their deep secrets thoughts meet
meet and flow into each others', like the colors of
a school boy's painting run on a wet paper.

It is dark and silent. The town has become close knit tonight.
The houses have moved nearby, with windows shut
like a crowd of people with blank faces, waiting.

***
2

The Couple

They turn the light off, and its white globe glows
an instant and then dissolves, like a tablet
in a glass of darkness. Then a rising.
The hotel walls shoot up into heaven's darkness.

Their movements have grown softer, and they sleep,
but their most secret thoughts begin to meet
like two colors that meet and run together
on the wet paper in a schoolboy's painting.

It is dark and silent. The city however has come nearer
tonight. With its windows turned off. Houses have come.
They stand packed and waiting very near,
a mob of people with blank faces.

***
3

The Couple

They switch off the light and its white shade
glimmers for a moment before dissolving
like a tablet in a glass of darkness. Then up.
The hotel walls rise into the black sky.

The movements of love have settled, and they sleep
but their most secret thoughts meet as when
two colours meet and flow into each other
on the wet paper of a schoolboy's painting.

It is dark and silent. But the town has pulled closer
tonight. With quenched windows. The houses have approached.
They stand close up in a throng, waiting,
a crowd whose faces have no expressions.
Friday, April 2, 2021
Topic(s) of this poem: couple
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