I am led by a snake's gaze, rigid, cruel -
it stares towards me from the farthest distance,
guides my steps in the nearest nearness,
holds me captive in coercive fear,
binds my will...

Who gave the snake his fearful beauty,
the abyss attraction,
death sweetness?
Who gave horror the fatal delight
that entices like a darker happiness?

Perhaps there yonder, by the eternal springs,
where the veils fall,
the Corrupter will meet me in another form.
Art thou God's shadow, evil one?
God's nocturnal twin brother?

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.