52 SONGS

...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tomas Transtromer

THE SCATTERED CONGREGATION

                        I
We got ready and showed our home.
The visitor thought: you live well.
The slum must be inside you.

                        II
Inside the church, pillars and vaulting
white as plaster, like the cast
around the broken arm of faith.

                        III
Inside the church there's a begging bowl
that slowly lifts from the floor
and floats along the pews.

                        IV
But the church bells have gone underground.
They're hanging in the sewage pipes.
Whenever we take a step, they ring.

                        V
Nicodemus the sleepwalker is on his way
to the Address. Who's got the Address?
Don't know. But that's where we are going.
 - trans. Robert Bly

source, w/ notes

[In the version of the poem found at the link, the poem ends w/ a question mark. I'm familiar with the poem from this book, which ends the poem w/ a period. I prefer this version.]

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