THE WATER BABIES
Around our cradle billowed soft as seaweed
transparent water-sprites, intangible.
Timelessly happy we rested in windless depth.
Who tore us loose from our home?
Like eddying bubbles we sighed towards the light,
like gleaming silver fishes we glided in lead-grey sea.
Then we stood with dripping hair on the shore one morning
in an alien land.
Never will we find our way home.
We go forth as in a dream.
Our moist, dark eyes are shy of the sun.
Our cool and gentle hands are shy of action.
Our floating, yielding souls are shy of loving.
They wriggle like serpents away from all scorching heat...
We go as in a dream, our world is foam.
Our distant coolness is a greeting from our father's kingdom,
where the gates arch up from glass-green water - the gates
to eternal rest.
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.