My song is sung for the folk of Wrath
on the heath that is thistle-ridden,
for those whom the angel with flaming sword
drove out of forfeited Eden.
Thistle-down, thistle-down
over the fields wind-driven,
without the strength to root and grow
inside the pleasure garden.

But the legends say that God's sons
formerly found earth beauteous
on the hills of Morn, in the golden gleam
of primordial ages' radiance,
and the daughters of men were there as guests
in nights of the moon's billowy flounces,
sowed children from their ether-seed,
from lineage of heavenly princes.

The happy one meets their offspring,
and their hands bring happiness.
I have seen them go midst the thistles
who walked on the shores of the blest.- - -
But there is also value
in nights of sleepless dolour,
and he who knows what anguish is
knows more than many a scholar.

I have seen them walk midst the thistles.
They are free, they are weightless and clear,
and I quiver with longing and worship
for a gaze and a movement mere.
But say, who has touched our family's root,
those souls of glittering streamings
or you - with your eyes that are full of night
and your red mouth of bloodstained dreamings?

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.