Saturday, 8 October 2011

Tomas Transtroemer and Lisbon

Tomas Transtroemer

Swedish poet Swedish poet Tomas Transtroemer has been awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature. Here is Portugal the news received with great admiration because he wrote a poem about Lisbon and Funchal. Here is the poem.


In the Alfama quarter the yellow tramcars sang on the steep slopes.

There were two prisions. One was for thieves.

They waved through the grilled windows.

They shouted to be photographed.

‘But here,’ said the conductor giggling like a split man,

‘here sit politicians.’ I saw the façade the façade the façade

and high up in a window a man

who stood with a telescope to his eye and looked out over the sea.

Laundry hung in blue air. The walls were hot.

The flies read microscopic letters.

Six years later I asked a woman from Lisbon:

‘Is it true, or have I dreamt it?’

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