Fridays Are for Funerals

Transcribing Swedish? I’m just glad I can create an umlaut. Only 6 a.m. and that alone feels like a day’s work.

Dear Diary: Today I typed an umlaut. And went to a funeral where dead men make like gypsies reading minds. Tarots from the beyond. Or is it the mind’s heightened awareness when tuned to the frequency of death (aluminum foil coiled ’round a rabbit ear)?

Man-made music, knowing its place, plays here in a Key of Better-Not-Said, leaving the field to birds. The same hungry field with its open mouth, ready for bodies and umlauts and anything else you might feed it.

The earth. Does its hunger know any bounds? Rhetorical. And yet it is so patient. Seemingly indifferent. I can’t read it: kindly or quietly creepy?

In stanza two, I wonder about Tomas Tranströmer’s friend: “My friend’s voice lingered / in the minutes’ farthest side.” Was his friend a speaker graveside? Or the voice within, the mind reader from stanza one?

Of course, of course.

Today being Friday, you will no doubt drive home from work like T-Squared at the end of this poem: a summer day’s brilliance (despite its being fall — or spring, in the Southern hemisphere), rain, stillness. All shepherded by the moon.

Of course.


From July ’90
by Tomas Tranströmer

It was a funeral
and I sensed the dead man
was reading my thoughts
better than I could.

The organ kept quiet, birds sang.
The hole out in the blazing sun.
My friend’s voice lingered
in the minutes’ farthest side.

I drove home seen through
by the summer day’s brilliance
by rain and stillness
seen through by the moon.