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A Winter Night

The storm puts its mouth to the house
and blows to get a tone.
I toss and turn, my closed eyes
reading the storm's text.

The child's eyes grow wide in the dark
and the storm howls for him.
Both love the swinging lamps;
both are halfway towards speech.

The storm has the hands and wings of a child.
Far away, travellers run for cover.
The house feels its own constellation of nails
holding the walls together.

The night is calm in our rooms,
where the echoes of all footsteps rest
like sunken leaves in a pond,
but the night outside is wild.

A darker storm stands over the world.
It puts its mouth to our soul
and blows to get a tone. We are afraid
the storm will blow us empty.

Excerpted fromThe Deleted World: Poems by Tomas Tranströmer, versions by Robin Robertson, published in December 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Copyright (c) 2006 by Tomas Tranströmer, translation copyright (c) 2006 by Robin Robertson, introduction copyright (c) 2011 by Robin Robertson. All rights reserved.

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