The martyr

Edith Södergran: The Rose Altar

The martyr is pale.

His eyes burn.

Pitying he looks

down at you.


What do you know about

what swarms here and there

with grim movements,

what do you know about your welfare,

how does it feel to raise your head freely.


He is acquitted

whom the rest of the world condemns.

The purest sun

is the black desire.


The victim’s multi-coloured coat

he takes lightly on his shoulders:

you caress like velvet, like the softest velvet –

the garment of my will.