THE TREES

 
Alive as we are
and far far away,
so our word 'understand'
becomes empty smoke and wind.
Deeply inaccessible
to thought and sense,
though against our cheeks
your bark feels harshly kind.
Eyeless you shine
in delight and flowers.
Through what instruments
do you know your magnificence?
Through what secret,
creating knowledge
have you a share in the power
of visions and scents?
Leaning against the trunk
we are hardly noticed,
do not slip in to your
inner world's ring.
Or reach you, mirrored,
a scrap of our being,
to ourselves unknown
and frightening?
Though no doubt we were born
of the same ancestors,
not a glimpse of shared hours
our eyes have found.
Too many adventures
have divided us since,
too unknowable
is our simple ground.
Perhaps we still have
a meeting to expect,
on the road where life
to soil has returned.
Yet one more hand outstretched
between divided kin.
And we thank death 
because of that bond.
Our stuff, always borrowed,
we give it back.
Melt it down to your form,
and take and give!
Exchanged between us
like friendly gifts,
deep beautiful unknown
sister life!

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.