This poem conveys a political message, but with a humorous tone. For the poet, although playing the piano music of Haydn offers escape from the hard tasks of daily life, the music offers strength and resolve against oppression: "The sound says that freedom exists" and "I raise my haydnflag... We do not surrender. But want peace."
The video below is a live performance of Franz Joseph Haydn's Piano sonata no. 46 in E major, Hob. XVI:31. Vadim Chaimovich, piano.
Allegro by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Robert Bly. From Music's Spell edited by Emily Fragos.
After a black day, I play Haydn,
and feel a little warmth in my hands.
The keys are ready. Kind hammers fall.
The sound is spirited, green, and full of silence.
The sound says that freedom exists
and someone pays not tax to Caesar.
I shove my hands in my haydnpocket
and act like a man who is calm about it all.
I raise my haydnflag. The signal is:
"We do not surrender. But want peace."
The music is a house of glass standing on a slope;
rocks are flying, rocks are rolling.
The rocks roll straight through the house
but every pane of glass is still whole.