I can not resist the temptation to draw a connecting line between August Strindberg  and Tomas Tranströmer regarding the complicated blending of different kinds of sense-impression that typify their poetics and in which one type of sensation is referred to in terms more appropriate to another. “Sinnesanalogierna är syntetiserande snarare än analyserande, suggererande snarare än direkt åskådliga, inte sällan det språkliga uttrycket för den lyriska försjunkenheten i toner eller färger. Det är romantikens såväl som symbolismens typiska bild. Strindbergs attityd till omvärldens skiftande mångfald av färg- och ljudintryck är den rakt motsatta: han har naturalistens ambition att aktivt bearbeta sinnesintrycken, att analysera dem i så snäva termer som möjligt” (Kärnell 1962: 115).

The mentioned above is valid also for Tranströmer who loves to disturb our conventional notions: set the static in swift motion, make what appears to be dynamic into something absolutely still. Some of his poems remind us René Magritte’s paintings with their similar clarity of vision and the surrealist flow of associations, with the delightful reversal of perspective and observations of the reality “through the inverted periscope”. 

Our integration into the world that surrounds us is presupposed by the dialogue with our environment which is not however simply the physical world of things or objects. According to the French Philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) the human body is one reality which is at the same time material and spiritual defined among other factors by the inner and outer experience given to it by perception. Its field is specially chosen for investigation by Merleau-Ponty, a very important exponent of Phenomenology, who claims that the perception is a complex phenomenon based on a dialectical relationship between subject and object. His analytical view on the “sensation” as a unit of experience leads us to a new and better understanding of internal and external, of subjective and objective, of the fusion of body and consciousness through perception and to the experience of the world in its immediate entirety. This line of thought is developed implicitly in the literature and the arts and we can  trace it as a meaningful message in the poetry of Tranströmer.  

“At the outset of the study of perception, we find in language the notion of sensation, which seems immediate and obvious: I have a sensation of redness, of blueness, of hot and cold. It will, however, be seen that nothing could in fact be more confused, and that because they accepted it readily, traditional analyses missed the phenomenon of perception.

I might in the first place understand by sensation the way in which I am affected and the experiencing of a state of myself. The greyness which, when I close my eyes, surrounds me. Leaving no distance between me and it, the sounds that encroach on my drowsiness and hum “in my head” perhaps give some indication of what pure sensation might be. I might be said to have sense-experience (sentir) precisely to the extent that I coincide with the sensed, that the latter ceases to have any place in the objective world, and that it signifies nothing for me. This entails recognizing that sensation should be sought on the hither side of any qualified content, since red and blue, in order to be distinguishable as two colours, must already form some picture before me, even though no precise place be assigned to them, and thus case to be part of myself. Pure sensation will be the experience of an undifferentiated, instantaneous, dotlike impact. It is necessary to show that this notion corresponds to nothing in our experience, and that the most rudimentary factual perceptions that we are acquainted with, have a bearing on relationships and not on any absolute terms…