How could you exist without us,
you great, slow one.
Where had you space to rise up from,
if not in our pride begun.
Your shelter and your rock-grave
are here our hands, tight-wrenched.
And hear, we pray, though not for mercy,
with teeth together clenched:
I can manage.
Around us clinging tough and blind
are lives, swarming and riven.
To man alone, highest and lowest,
was empty despair given.
That made most wondrously
has much too easy to blast.
Oh, bless our pride,
that holds to the last:
I can manage.
What had we else, that would endure
in lifeless wastes
and solace dare itself create
from unreal mists -
from chaos compel form
born of burning homelessness,
give tones to tears and words to screams
and save itself in this:
I can manage.
Here weighs a scale to give justice
to life and death.
How heavy it hangs, the cup of pain,
with our mutilated fates.
How light the other, with what is worth
our aspiration's call.
Put our holy pride in it, O Lord,
then gently it will fall.
I can manage.

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.