Five Poems by Tomas Tranströmer

Back

The Nightingale in Badelunda

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)
http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/

Poem selected by the Nobel Library of the Swedish Academy.

To cite this section
MLA style: Five Poems by Tomas Tranströmer. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2019. Mon. 11 Nov 2019. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/2011/transtromer/25708-five-poems-by-tomas-transtromer-2011-2/>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.