When you are gone, then wildly hungers my soul.
When you are near, I yearn even so -
in despair I see,
stiffened, closed,
how empty and vain
the minute flows.

Your being's proud, royal flower-scent fine
I would secretly drink, a holy wine -
but mortally heavy I stand
as in dreams,
with thirst like Tantalus'
in clear, bright streams.

In solitude's time my tongue has burned
to tell you the beautiful things I knew and dreamed -
but in your nearness
my thought drowses, dumb.
my gate is closed,
and my heart goes numb.

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.