Your voice: in an old orchard a path half overgrown
with deep shadows and bright sun and birdsong
a path of untamed secret life and breeze and loneliness -
how strangely lone and wild, it is I alone who knows.
And when I wake at night, in it I waken then,
and I grow lost in green transparent shadow play again.
There I dwell for hours and hours and know that whom
you will follow and where you listen, here is my home.
Your voice: I have heard it for twenty years, and all that
you have said
has lain sunk in me, but charged with power yet.
Now I hear it word for word as yesterday, it fills night
It was the warmth of my veins. It was my heart, beating
What are these depths in us, where the past exists, all?
Or is it only your being, your voice I recall?
You were my life's fulfilment. How has its ripening passed?
A choked tree, a tree of agony, burst into leaf at last.
All say it: your time is short, I know.
I cannot imagine that you will ever go.
There is no world to live in, where you do not live.
My mind rejects the miracle. In my heart, belief.
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.