I lost a poet this morning for that’s how it feels: the death of the writer is personal. In this case the poet is Tomas Transtromer. I feel the loss of a friend. Perhaps I don’t experience this with every poet. But when a lyric writer crosses over there’s a stitch in my ribcage. With Tomas Transtromer I always felt I had a secret friend. Those of us who love poetry, who in small or large ways have endeavored to live through it—that transitive and delicate approach to phenomena we call “the imagination”—are heartened when a writer suddenly says the world is still being born as Transtromer does in his poem “The Half-Finished Heaven”:
Despondency breaks off its course.
Anguish breaks off its course.
The vulture breaks off its flight.
The eager light streams out,
even the ghosts take a draft.
And our paintings see daylight,
our red beasts of the Ice Age studios.
Everything begins to look around.
We walk in the sun in hundreds.
Each man is a half-open door
leading to a room for everyone.
The endless ground under us.
The water is shining among the trees.
The lake is a window into the earth.
Excerpt From: Tomas Tranströmer. “The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/WAORD.l
In these times we must be reminded of the mysteries of consciousness and water shining. Tomas Transtromer was a good friend, a fellow introvert who learned to live in the big world, who endeavored to do some decent work with damaged children, who came home at night in the Baltic dark and played Haydn on his piano, who whispered in our ears, each of us is still half open.