I inherited a dark wood where I seldom go. But a day will come when the dead and the living trade places. The wood will be set in motion. We are not without hope. The most serious crimes will remain unsolved in spite of the efforts of many policemen. In the same way there is somewhere in our lives a great unsolved love. I inherited a dark wood, but today I’m walking in the other wood, the light one. All the living creatures that sing, wriggle, wag, and crawl! It’s spring and the air is very strong. I have graduated from the university of oblivion and am as empty-handed as the shirt on the clothesline.
Deep in the forest there’s an unexpected clearing which can be reached only by someone who has lost his way. The clearing is enclosed in a forest that is choking itself. Black trunks with the ashy bear-stubble of lichen. The trees are screwed tightly together and are dead right up to the tops, where a few solitary green twigs touch the light. Beneath them: shadow brooding on shadow, and the swamp growing.
But in the open space the grass is strangely green and living. There are big stones lying here as if they’d been arranged. They must be the foundation stones of a house, but I could be wrong. Who lived here?
No one can tell us. The names exist somewhere in an archive that no one opens (it’s only archives that stay young). The oral tradition has died and with it the memories. The gypsy people remember but those who have learnt to write forget. Write down, and forget. The homestead murmurs with voices, it is the center of the world. But the inhabitants die or move out, the chronicle breaks off. Desolate for many years. And the homestead becomes a sphinx. At last everything’s gone, except the foundation stones. Somehow I’ve been here before, but now I must go.
Tomas Transtromer, The Clearing