THOSE QUIET FOOTSTEPS
If I listen, I can hear life flying
ever faster now -
Those quiet footsteps behind me -
death, it is you.
Before, you were far away -
I held you all too dear.
Now, when I long no more,
now you are there.
Dear death, there is in your being
something that comforts strife:
what do you care if one's grown great,
or wasted the whole of one's life?
Dear death. there is in your being
something that clears the air:
all that's the same in the good and the bad
you lay open, naked and bare.
Follow me and let me hold your hand,
it calms one deep and well.
The beautiful you make indispensably great,
The ugly you make small.
It's as though you wanted something of me,
I present you want, I guess:
a strange, small curious key -
the little word 'yes'.
Yes, yes, I want to!
Yes, yes, I will!
My piety I lay down at your feet
so life may grow more, still.
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.