A PALETTE OF WORDS, TONES, AND COLOURS Страница 3 of 13
This is the poem Allegro included in the 1962 collection The Half-Finished Heaven, the third book of poetry by Tomas Tranströmer. My choice of it is more of a spontaneous rather than an expression of some special preference, although the poem in itself is sufficiently well known and perfectly eligible to serve such function with its qualities. However, given the topic I have selected, I could easily suggest a quote from another poem, be it from the same or another of his books, starting from his debut collection 17 Poems (17 dikter) published in 1954 all the way through Secrets on the Way (Hemligheter på vägen, 1958), The Half-Finished Heaven (Den halvfärdiga himlen, 1962), Bells and Tracks (Klanger och spår, 1966), Seeing in the dark (Mörkerseende, 1970), Paths (Stigar, 1973), Baltics (Östersjöar, 1974), The Truth-Barrier (Sanningsbarriären, 1978), The Wild Market-Square (Det vilda torget, 1983), For Living and Dead (För levande och döda, 1989), The Sad Gondola (Sorgegondolen, 1996) to The Great Enigma of 2004. They are not so prolific against the backdrop of his half-century-long intense presence not only in the Swedish but also in the world literature - Tranströmer was known to work slowly and steadily on poems and often wrote only seven or eight a year. That may be one reason why his poems have so much weight and almost all of them contain enough examples to illustrate that emblematic peculiarity of his poetry, which is seen in Allegro, the musical epiphany that overwhelms through the trinity of words, tones and colours, and suggests, in his unique synthesis, not simply a mood but also a message, revealing his views on the world and identifying the milestones of his outlook and moral stance. Here the trust in the purifying freshness of nature once again reiterates Tranströmer’s tendency to saturate his works with the pantheistic ecstasy so typical of the Swedish poetry, as well his capabilities to reach cosmopolitan dimensions by drifting away from the parochial, the local, the peripheral so that to touch heights which are expressed symbolically and yet perceived realistically. Instrumental in this case are the direct linkage to the music of Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) and the indirect association with his oratorios The Creation and The Seasons or with some of his more than fifty sonatas which imbue the poet with the stamina to uphold his calm and positive thinking as an effective shield against the aggression in the surrounding reality coloured black in its attitude to the primordial human values; that thinking which is enunciated with the emotionally justified pitch of the F-tone, Haydneanly green and lively, sustained in the eponymous tempo.