Tracks; written by Tomas Transtromer is a poem with a lot of imaginary and foresight themes. The poem portrays a strong visual image, then nearly pan-out speedily from it. It interrelates when someone has gone into a daydream or hallucination; so far that he will never recall he was there when he got back to his room. As when somebody goes into an illness so deep that all his past days become twinkling tips, a swarm, cold and weak on the horizon.

First, I think it is about being alone and detachment, as if the poet will perpetually see the world “through a glass mysteriously”, somehow always a contact removed and alienated from it – he observes from the locomotive that has stopped in the center of nowhere and all he can perceive are those lights “flashing cold” (S1). By S4, these points have turn out to be “few stars.” He can only scrutinize, and even his interpretation may not be precise. They are “cold and weak on the horizon” (S3). Second, it is about reminiscence or recollection and forgetting. The hallucination of S2 is forgotten and still unknown in the depths of the consciousness. The sickness or illness of S3 makes his earlier days twinkling points, a swarm – an illustration of confusion, all mixed up, and flickering. He cannot make logic of his life – his interior life and his outward understanding. Transtromer acted as a psychologist, so this notion of people unable to link with their pasts, and perhaps their early days experiences may have been significant to him. One daft notion – I wondered about Bly’s exercise of the words “twinkle/twinkling” in his rendition, whether Transtromer utilized the same expression in Swedish as children would employ for the nursery poem “Twinkle twinkle little star”, so linking the poem to childhood reminiscences, or whether “flicker/flickering” as employed by Fulton and in Hass’s manuscript is a more precise translation. Third, it is about an instant in time that has everlasting significance – this two o’clock in the daybreak experience when all is frozen and he notices his life for what it is – or somewhat he sees that he cannot see it, that connotation is hidden from him. He comprehends that he is unaccompanied in a dark planet with only flickering lights brimming in the distance for companionship – depressing, but maybe this knowledge for Transtromer’s storyteller is turning point or epiphany.

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There is a transfer from S1 to S4. The locomotive has “stopped” in S1 but positions “perfectly motionless” in S4. “Moonlight” changes to “full moonlight.” The illuminations of the city are now seen as stars, or possibly the narrator just occurs to have shifted his stare. Some particulars of S1 are lacking in S4, which is uncovered down, yet the details conserved have been intensified. Could the teller of tales be on the brink of lucidity? We can never know for sure. The title Tracks; is exciting. Obviously, there is the locomotive track on which the train has halted. However, there are others as well; the tracks one leave at the back that may have gray into the history. The traces that might still be experiential; the tracks that spot a progression from one phase of life to another rather similar to the twinkling lights if they might ever stop their spilling over and be arranged into some logical order.


This is a very interesting poem with a high level of poetry elements usage. Tomas uses the literature elements accurately to produce a poetry masterpiece. The tracks interlink the images perfectly to meet the theme and purpose of the poem.

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