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SŐDERGRAN, Edith


The Land That Is Not

I long for the land that is not,

For all that is, I am weary of wanting.

The moon speaks to me in silvern runes

About the land that is not.

The land where all our wishes become wondrously fulfilled,

The land where all our fetters fall,

The land where we cool our bleeding forehead

In the dew of the moon.

My life was a burning illusion,

But one thing I have found and one thing I have really won -

The road to the land that is not.

In the land that is not

My beloved walks with a glittering crown.

Who is my beloved? The night is dark

And the stars quiver in reply.

Who is my beloved? What is his name?

The heavens arch higher and higher

And a human child is drowned in the endless fogs

And knows no reply.

But a human child is nothing but certainty.

And it stretches its arms higher than all heavens.

And there comes a reply:

I am the one you love and always shall love.


The Big Garden

If I had a big garden

I would invite all my brothers and sisters there.

Each one would bring a large treasure.

We own nothing, thus we could become one people.

We shall build bars around our garden

letting no sound from the world reach us.

Out of our silent garden

we shall bring the world a new life.


Animalistic Hymn

The red sun rises

without intent

and shines the same on all of us.

We play like children under the sun.

One day, our ashes will scatter—

it doesn’t matter when.

Now the sun finds our innermost hearts,

fills us with oblivion

intense as the forest, winter and sea.



Jag

Jag är främmande i detta land,

som ligger djupt under det tryckande havet,

solen blickar in med ringlande strålar

och luften flyter mellan mina händer.

Man sade mig att jag är född i fångenskap -

här är intet ansikte som vore mig bekant.

Var jag en sten, den man kastat hit på bottnen?

Var jag en frukt, som var för tung för sin gren?

Här ligger jag på lur vid det susande trädets fot,

hur skall jag komma upp för de hala stammarna?

Däruppe mötas de raglande kronorna,

där vill jag sitta och speja ut

efter röken ur mitt hemlands skorstenar...


I

I am a stranger in this land

that lies deep under the pressing sea,

the sun looks in with curling beams

and the air floats between my hands.

They told me that I was born in captivity –

here is no face that is known to me.

Am I a stone someone threw to the bottom?

Am I a fruit that was too heavy for its branch?

Here I lurk at the foot of the murmuring tree,

how will I get up the slippery stems?

Up there the tottering treetops meet,

there I will sit and spy out

the smoke from my homeland’s chimneys.




Vierge Moderne

I am not a woman. I am a neuter.

I am a child, a page and a bold resolve,

I am a laughing stripe of a scarlet sun…

I am a net for all greedy fish,

I am a toast to the glory of all women,

I am a step towards hazard and ruin,

I am a leap into freedom and self …

I am the whisper of blood in the ear of the man,

I am the soul’s ague, the longing and refusal of the flesh,

I am an entrance sign to new paradises.

I am a flame, searching and brazen,

I am water, deep but daring up to the knee,

I am fire and water in free and loyal union …


The Last Flower of Autumn

I am the last flower of autumn.

I was rocked in summer’s cradle,

I was put on watch against the north wind,

red flames burst out

on my white cheek.

I am the last flower of autumn.

I am the youngest seed of the dead spring,

it is so easy to die as the last:

I have seen the lake so fairy-like and blue,

I have heard the heart of the dead summer beat,

my chalice bears no other seed than death’s.

I am the last flower of autumn.

I have seen the deep starry worlds of autumn,

I have watched the light from far-away warm hearths,

it is so easy to follow the same path,

I shall lock death’s doors.

I am the last flower of autumn.


Translation: David MCDUFF