It’s been a while. It’s been so long, in fact, that it’s no longer particularly hot in Frankfurt (though it will return to your regularly scheduled 28 degrees this weekend, apparently).
Let’s start with a recommendation of actual good poetry, as I think all these posts should. This is kind of a repeat of a stream of Twitter-consciousness, so bear with me and skip this if you’ve heard it before.
One of the few poets of whom I can say I’ve read pretty much everything he published. It started with a kindly soul lending me The Sorrow Gondola, which I read through in two mad sittings (one standing on a tram). I think I’ve said before how I’m not sure how you’re supposed to read poetry volumes – in binges or savouring each offering like a fine, limited edition truffle. Tranströmer, however, I like to binge on. A while after reading The Sorrow Gondola and being totally mystified (and intrigued) by it, I came to Tranströmer’s New Collected Poems on my much-vaunted reading list. This was while I was in the UK visiting home, after having left my phone in Germany, and the poems which had once been so opaque and weird suddenly became everything. The poems of The Sorrow Gondola are also in New Collected Poems, and when I got to them I read them as though it was for the first time. I was finally in the zone. It all made, if not sense, then feelings and images so vivid they were almost concrete. I was almost in dream-Sweden. I was almost between time. I was almost between dreams and reality, slipped down that crack where so many of Tranströmer’s poems take place (if you can say they have a place).
He has a poem about drawing a piano keyboard on his kitchen table and playing for the neighbours which is so weird it becomes universal. Surreally relateable. Don’t ask me how, but it is.
Highly recommend. Here are ten poems of his to get a feel for him, though you might need more to recalibrate yourself to his wavelength.
And here’s the part where I regret showing you an actual poet before casting before you my own feeble attempt.
Er, this is a poem about how the summer has been very hot in Frankfurt lol. I’ve written a few of these, in a kind of loose, pretentious series. I’ll call it a Cycle when I’m done for maximum eye-rolling points.
Store in a Cool, Dry Place
It’s so hot that gravity has gone off.
The air’s got in
and broken the vacuum seal,
inflated the packaging
You can tell
by watching the overripe raindrops fall,
never hitting the ground.
They plunge into a mattress of air
to hang and smear
and attract the wasps.