I love those white mountains, the marble white
with foreheads rinsed by the heavens' high blue repose,
and the storming glitter of the salt sea,
and Doric temples, and thought's cool crystal.
But I have also lingered by doors left ajar
and seen inside, into sounding twilight depths,
where the shimmer of altar candles quietly rejoiced
in the face of trembling time, Advent,
while the winter morning stared dark through vaulted windows.
Those radiant saints, those who overcame,
could be sensed, blessed, beyond the darkness,
and God's yearners
bent their knees in prayer, lonely in their hosts,
and saw with closed eyes the Only One's brilliance,
the soul's innermost worlds,
and mystical truths they learned listening.
If you have ever listened near burning altar candles,
then you will never forget God's silent, blossoming gardens -
you will kiss the stone of the gate-arch and turn away.
White mountains, marble white in dazzling sun,
beloved, distantly-seen, my home in presentiment,
I come to you!
Life is to cut and to break so that something may grow.
Everyone is so many people,
but more than one road no one goes.
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.