I was in the lift of the grocery store. There was only one person there with me: a man, perhaps in his mid-40s.
There was sadness pouring out of him and filling up the elevator. I pulled down my sleeves as far as they could go.
“Are you sad?” I asked.
“Is it that obvious?” he said. When the lift stopped, we got off, nobody around. He waited until the elevator doors closed as though someone were in there.
Of course, she was there.
He turned to me without looking and said:
“A friend took her life yesterday. We were in a group together. She was very bright. She was a geek and had a very good job. She could not live with the experience of her childhood.”
The North Americans say that the grasses remember with reference to the return of horses to the continent with the Spanish conquistadors.
The poet Tomas Tranströmer says the grasses also offer amnesty.
This poet was always between our reality; what is hidden and is probably going on; our memory; the memory which we did not ourselves live (our collective unconscious); our imagination; and possible change – possible – but only because cloud shadows move.
Open and Closed Space
Tomas Tranströmer, 1931-2015, Swedish
Translated by Robert Bly, The Half-Finished Heaven: Selected Poems, 2001, 2017
Hope is: Wanting to Pull the Clouds, 1992, polyester resin and acrylic on canvas. Sigmar Polke, 1941-2010, German. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
With his work as with a glove, a man feels the universe.
At noon he rests a while, and lays the gloves aside on a shelf.
There they suddenly started growing, grow huge
and make the whole house dark from inside.
The darkened house is out in the April winds.
“Amnesty,” the grass whispers, “amnesty.”
A boy runs along with an invisible string that goes right up into the sky.
There his wild dream of the future flies like a kite, bigger than his town.
Farther to the north, you see from a hill the blue matting of fir trees
on which the shadows of the clouds
did not move.
No, they are moving.
Detail of Hope is: Wanting to Pull the Clouds, 1992, polyester resin and acrylic on canvas. Sigmar Polke, 1941-2010, German. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC