The clouds hang heavy,
ripen in tepid darkness, where they're concealed,
night-blue clusters of grapes,
heavy with wine that silent pours on every field,
heavy with wine of the Deep,
heavy with secret power,
sucked out of sea and sky
and bitter dew in outermost darkness's shore.

Life's hot vapour
condenses in drops, falls in dead silent night.
Raise the cup! You shall capture
the key where no one his foot has set -
the land where the spirit freed
beyond time's border fence
tastes in eternities
things that are never felt or seen or sensed.

Behind waking worlds
seethe alien seas of delight and woe
the world-deep's smithy-forges,
from which leapt like a spark what our eyes know.
Do you dare take the way there,
blazed in horror's drunkenness?
Terror-struck, blessed
you will attain the eternal Mothers' dark houses...

Blown seed on wide waters,
flower of the Deep, that never saw its root,
dragonfly shy of the night -
one day the Mothers' night will greet your foot!
Death with pain is black.
Death with joy is white.
Plunged in his murmuring waves
you will forget life's coast of clouded light.

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.