Fragment of a mood

Edith Södergran: The Rose Altar


Wind, wind, wind!

Sprinkle roses and daffodils from the garden of my memory,

where my young dreams roam.

The wall of the mountains stands tall,

the highland sun shines wildly on my locks.

Empty garden, do you give no answer?

- - - - - - - -

I and the dead belong together.

The taste of the bitter daffodils on my tongue

repeats: departure, departure, departure, departure…

I fill my hand with ashes from his urn

and lift it skywards: what do I have here?

White clouds, lay down to rest over lightblue ravines:

bear witness to the fact

that these ashes were the light of the sun.



My wild longing watches you.

Such stare the highland’s summer from the woods.

How can the son of the highlands die?


How the summer comes over the meadows again.

Caltha palustries drink the foam of the brook.

The ravines are full of fog.

The gods of the highland play their sad flute.

The one who understood their song is gone.

The one whose soul was sorrowful like the wandering light on mountaintops

is gone over mountains and seas.

Do I love the mountains, they contain the love of my youth.

Over the tiny, green crocus, over my first budding love

the memory walks slowly on triumphant feet.

Such can one reluctantly carry a young, caught barbarian with shiny, yellow locks.


Was I not young with shiny, yellow locks back then –

- - - - - - - -

It happens now and then when the rosebush blossoms,

that the dry mass of thorns are coated with fine miracles.

That’s what happened to me too - - -

- - - - - - - -

My memories flare up like the travelers’ bonfires

in ravaged places,

like the pastures in the north that are covered with flowers in springtime,

like fata morgana lifting its silent parade banner

for the converted, believing, awestruck wanderer.

When do you see it? When life shows its power.

When it rises to its boldest pinnacle

to worship in a feverish state of intoxication.