Candles I saw burning, yes, holy candles on the eternal
Blessed ones walked there in a trembling mystic light,
radiant with God as with the sun the falling drops,
radiant with sleep in worlds where time was not.
Woe is me, my foot is too heavy for those giddying high paths,
woe is me, who was formed from clay and whose thought is
steel and stone!
Never will I find a place among those dreaming holy
never will my head by seeing's halo be crowned.
You will I seek, my God, in the simple, the grey, despised,
you will I seek in the world, in the everyday's striving and
The sky's golden stillness, to which my heart aspired,
is it better than your labour, your holy, burning fight?
Lord, your bliss is yours. You gave, and you took,
and you hide yourself.
Give what you offer - not peace, but your fight, and
your spirit to fulfil.
Lord, on the world's battlefield like sword or bow I follow you.
Give me a throne, if you wish, or a cross, if you will!
into English by David McDuff in "Karin Boye: Complete poems".
Copyright © 2005:
Translation from Swedish into English: David McDuff
Published with the permission of:
David McDuff, translation.
May and Hans Mehlin, Layout.
For more information, please visit the website
of David McDuff and his
own pages with the translations.