“Each man is a half-open door
leading to a room for everyone.”
~ from Half-Finished Heaven by Tomas Transtromer

“Contemplation” Photo taken in November 2017 at the Geology Section of the Peabody Museum, Yale University


To each is given an immortal soul

What is man to deserve such grace?

He is blessed beyond measure

even if he is at a loss with his gift.

He considers his world with half-open eyes

lost in the here and now, he seeks the door

leading to the eternal.

His heart yearns for home, his hands cling to fear

he takes shelter in that little room

where his self reigns supreme

trapping himself in a world too small

to make room for another soul

and everyone but himself

sees the way out.


Over at DVERSE, Amaya challenged the folks to give tribute to works of other authors via a poem called a Golden Shovel.  Here, I chose a couplet from Tomas Transtromer’s poem, Half-Finished Heaven.  I first heard about his poem while watching the opening scenes of the last episode of Season 5 of Wallander.   Kenneth Branagh, playing the role of Wallander, was reading the poem.  His voice, the scene, the words wrought such magic that I had to look for the author who wrote the poem.  It turned out that the poet, Tomas Transtromer, was a popular Swedish poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2011.  Here is the complete piece –

The Half-Finished Heaven

Despondency breaks off its course.
Anguish breaks off its course.
The vulture breaks off its flight.
The eager light streams out,
even the ghosts take a draught.
And our paintings see daylight,
our red beasts of the ice-age studios.
Everything begins to look around.
We walk in the sun in hundreds.
Each man is a half-open door
leading to a room for everyone.
The endless ground under us.
The water is shining among the trees.
The lake is a window into the earth.

If you want a bit of magic, and for the pleasure of watching and hearing the great actor Kenneth Branagh, look for that last episode of Wallander and put it on repeat.

Meanwhile, please bear with me if I also link the photo to WPC: Silence Challenge.  To observe the world, to recreate, both of which the photo shows, require some kind of silence.

17 thoughts on “CONTEMPLATION

  1. I so admire that poet and his work ~ Yes, the irony is not lost and often we need others to show us that greatness and grace are in us, within our reach ~

  2. I’ve not trusted my own self exclusively for a long time. To think that this is how some people trap themselves is haunting to me, and your poem ends as a horror tale, knowing I could very well be there.

  3. Very interesting poem. Thank you for sharing this. And….Kenneth Branagh in that last episode of Wallander is BRILLIANT! The final scenes when his mind is going are absolutely amazing. It takes a great actor to pull off something like that and have us believe him completely.

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