Tomas Tranströmer’s recent passing has me reading back into his work. Always, I am taken in by the immediacy of his line.
In this week’s poem, “The Scattered Congregation,” this immediacy plays out in quick turns. Whether in nuanced phrase or illuminating flash of image, Tranströmer always makes me a believer. Makes me proud to be part of the “congregation.”
The Scattered Congregation – Tomas Tranströmer
We got ready and showed our home.
The visitor thought: you live well.
The slum must be inside you.
Inside the church, pillars and vaulting
white as plaster, like the cast
around the broken arm of faith.
Inside the church there’s a begging bowl
that slowly lifts from the floor
and floats along the pews.
But the church bells have gone underground.
They’re hanging in the sewage pipes.
Whenever we take a step, they ring.
Nicodemus the sleepwalker is on his way
to the Address. Who’s got the Address?
Don’t know. But that’s where we are going.
Happy don’t knowing!