National Insecurity

By Tomas Tranströmer b. 1931 Tomas Transtromer
The Under Secretary leans forward and draws an X
and her ear-drops dangle like swords of Damocles.

As a mottled butterfly is invisible against the ground
so the demon merges with the opened newspaper.

A helmet worn by no one has taken power.
The mother-turtle flees flying under the water.

“National Insecurity” from New and Collected Poems by Tomas Transtromer, translated by Robin Fulton. Published in 1997 by Bloodaxe Books. www.bloodaxebooks.com

Source: New and Collected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 1997)

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Poet Tomas Tranströmer b. 1931

POET’S REGION Scandinavia

Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

Biography

Tomas Tranströmer, one of Sweden’s leading poets, studied poetry and psychology at the University of Stockholm. His numerous collections of poetry include Windows and Stones (1972), an International Poetry Forum Selection and runner-up for the National Book Award for translation, and The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems (2006, 2011), translated by Robin Fulton. His longstanding friendship with poet Robert Bly, who has also . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION Scandinavia

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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