When the great trial reached its end,
after judgement, speeches, all
the silent thoughts of the condemned
held colloquy in the silent hall.

One man to the other said:
'No one knows how we shall fare.
Perhaps it is really just the start
of a work that awaits us there.

Your features are very pale,
white as that white glow,
living as flames live.
To death we've still far to go.

Burning and without fear
we shall go to the bitter last,
burning and without fear
our spirits will rise like a spark.

Through empty, cold expanses
the wind may drive it far,
but where the forest is driest,
two hot sparks will fall.'

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.