Sunday, August 14, 2011


in one airplane flight
three thousand
four hundred
and twenty two miles
from the chafed skin of working class subsistence
to the heart of working class modernity

i am eight years old
looking through
a window
a large plate glass window
through which i can see
the very big american cars
travelling past the very big building
i now call home

my entirety contained
in two bedrooms
an l-shaped living room dining room and kitchen

and in that kitchen
a fridge and an electric stove
a bathroom with hot and cold running water
there's food in the fridge
in the cupboards

none of this possible
or even imaginable
twenty four hours earlier

in the same world
at the same time

mine and not mine
a beginning
and an end

my heart
to transparency


far off i found myself standing in front of one of the
new buildings.
many windows flowed together there into a single
in it the luminous nightsky was caught, and the
walking trees.
it was a mirror-like lake with no waves, turned on edge
in the summer night.

excerpted from "out in the open" by tomas tranströmer translated by robert bly


The Weaver of Grass said...

Steven - I think this sums up a child's view of moving to a new country very well - I had not thought about it in that context at all. Do you ever have any desire to come back or do you now feel totally part of that country? (it is my favourite country and if I was younger I would have definitely thought of moving there.)

erin said...

children, there is such a small and known world around them and so when they are pushed just a little everything is new. and this was no little push and so my god, what do we become?

even when i was a young adult, fresh out of University and in asian countries for the first time, stripped of my knowable environment i began to see how small and raw i really was/am without all of the vestiges of knowable clothing. we get stripped down and then we are able to become.

is this right, you began in England, then to the States, and then to Canada?


Reya Mellicker said...

I love being on a wavelength with you. At the request of a friend, I wrote about "home" today.

Happy Sunday, steven!

ellen abbott said...

I imagine moving to another country except what family I have is here. Mexico, Canada, the UK all places I would like to live.

Jo said...

Beautiful piece wonderfully illustrated by the music. Philip Glass is an all time favorite of mine.

So looking forward to catching up on everything on your beautiful blog.

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

nice story! at 35 i saw 1/4 of my blood when i went to taiwan for i am 1/4 chinese, now i am left of seeing the other half of me - spain.


Linda Sue said...

P Glass all time fave- Erik uses his music a lot for his little films. Loved your story, traveling from home to a mysterious new land. 'Heart stretched to transparency', I felt like i was going home the first time I traveled to England.