OF THOSE WHO FELL TOO SOON


Happy he that marches
in light of waiting's dawn.
Happy he that falls
long ere victory was won.

Before the battling army grows a host,
beings of light with mighty weapons to ply:
all the faithful who fell ere the harvest was ripened,
all the young who never had time to fade to ash.

Happy he that exchanges
the narrow life he bore
for their empire
and their victorious power.

Like pillars supporting a bridge over the deeps,
freed from human limits by human longing,
they bear on their shoulders the weary who succumb,
lead with arms of security the weak who hesitate.

Happy he that falls
and lives none the less.
In souls his soul he makes
a thousandfold increase.

Rest and death never had a portion in the strong.
They are still here in our battle. Forever they are ours.
High above the hosts their lances flame like fire,
raised as promises and signs and banners to follow.

Happy we that follow
Happy we for their giving.
We are dust and soil
and they the living.


Translated into English by David McDuff in "Karin Boye: Complete poems".

Swedish original



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.