The Nobel Prize in Literature 2011
In the green midnight at the nightingale's northern limit. Heavy leaves hang in trance, the deaf cars race towards the neon-line. The nightingale's voice rises without wavering to the side, it is as penetrating as a cock-crow, but beautiful and free of vanity. I was in prison and it visited me. I was sick and it visited me. I didn't notice it then, but I do now. Time streams down from the sun and the moon and into all the tick-tock-thankful clocks. But right here there is no time. Only the nightingale's voice, the raw resonant notes that whet the night sky's gleaming scythe.
From Tomas Tranströmer, New Collected Poems, translated by Robin Fulton (Bloodaxe Books, 1997/2011)
Poem selected by Lars Rydquist, head librarian, Nobel Library of the Swedish Academy