Poetry in Motion

New York


Tomas Tranströmer
A horizontal yellow poster with a colorful mosaic at the top features a poem titled Espresso, by Tomas Tranströmer. To the left of the poem is a steaming cup of coffee.


Black coffee at sidewalk cafés
with chairs and tables like gaudy insects.

It is precious sip we intercept
filled with the same strength as Yes and No.

It is fetched out of gloomy kitchens
and looks into the sun without blinking.

In daylight a dot of wholesome black
quickly drained by the wan patron...

Like those black drops of profundity
sometimes absorbed by the soul

that give us healthy push: Go!
The courage to open our eyes.

Translated from the Swedish by May Swenson and Leif Sjöberg

"Espresso," translated by May Swenson and Leif Sjöberg, from Windows and Stones: Selected Poems by Tomas Tranströmer. Copyright © 1971 by University of Pittsburgh Press. Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.