THE NIGHTJAR


Half awake the summer night broods
quietly on dreams that no one knows.
The tarns' glistening floods
reflect a twilight sky's
infinity, pale, morose,
Whiter grow the stars on high.
Afar, afar
the nightjar
sings alone her toneless, comfortless melody.

Never boldly, towards the heights she swings,
because of her lowness hovers low.
Downy twilight wings
seem bound to the earth,
by dust and soil weighed down below.
Woe to him whose wings in pair
cannot rise,
only linger,
helplessly drawn to the mud, whose colours they bear.

But the whitest of white among swans,
that travel in morning's bright space
their royal lanes,
never cherished a yearning
such as the nightjar has.
None has a longing so true
for the distant and far
as the nightjar
for the ever beckoning, ever yielding blue.


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.