Espresso - Tomas Transtromer

I’ve been reading The Great Enigma - New Collected Poems by Tomas Transtromer.  He is the Swedish poet who won the Nobel Prize in 2011.  Hes quite old now but still writing and The Great Enigma is one of his more recent collections - 2004.  The book is actually part of a larger volume published by New Direction Books and translated from Swedish by Robin Fulton, containing all of his collected works.  One particular collection from 1962 called The Half-Finished Heaven contained the following poem.


The black coffee they serve outdoors

among tables and chairs gaudy as insects.

Precious distillations

filled with the same strength as Yes and No.

It’s carried out from the gloomy kitchen

and looks into the sun without blinking.

In the daylight a dot of beneficent black

that quickly flows into a pale customer.

It’s like the drops of black profoundness

sometimes gathered up by the soul,

giving a salutary push: Go!

Inspiration to open your eyes.