UNSCATHED


Unscathed from smoke and fire
goes he that wills a work.
Listen, o spirit, adventurous one,
listen well and mark!

Wild-winged butterfly,
every bloom is yours.
Unpunished you stepped in
to death's bitter flowers,

flit childishly out of depths
where your need was most,
innocent and pure as fire
with your future-thirst.

laughing gently, gently
- for what way is worth tears? -
see life enticing
as discovery's voyage nears.

Without shame, without guilt
you weigh evil, you weigh good.
All that you sought and all that you found
were merely steps to you -

steps that led to deeds.
Listen, o my spirit, listen and mark!
Unscathed from smoke and fire
goes he that wills a work.


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.