THE WAY IS NARROW
The way is narrow that two must go,
inhumanly narrow, it can seem sometimes,
and yet it is a human way, even so.
From buried things' primordial slime
rise monsters woken by the warmth,
and bar the way where you would climb.
No flight can make you free at last.
They appear again by new waysides.
You have no choice. You must go past.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The way is steep that two must go,
a way of degradation, it can seem sometimes,
and yet is a way of victory, even so.
Lonely path goes round in rings,
the same mirage in the same sand,
the same thirst for far-off things.
For two that strive, one gain know I,
more solid, heavier than the hermit's dreams:
the difficult growth to reality,
yes, all the way in to the innermost core,
where the person grows out of splintered nerves
and becomes a root and a mountain there.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The way is long that two must go,
a lost way, it can seem sometimes,
and yet has its goals and signposts, even so.
Has its angels, in lightning dressed.
They touch our dust with burning hand,
and heavy chains become breezes and mist.
With burning feet they touch earth's floor,
and create it anew in the morning glow
and full of health and solace and cure
and full of power over approaching fate
and intimate light, that two acquire.
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.