Edith Södergran: The Rose Altar

Stars up there, definitively dear, my heart on Earth is definitively clear.

Wondrous starry night, we are one.


Do I not sit trembling on a line of stars… as if it could break?

Time, it is you, sleepy abyss that yawning mocks me?

Danger to the tired feet of the dancer,

danger to the limp arms of the climber,

danger to recklessly tight pearly bands.


Time – perish!

Every star winks to my face: I am you!

Every star kisses my mouth: stay with me!

The stars encircle me, closer, closer,

all of my upper body enveloped in star-mist.

What am I doing in these? Am I crying?

The evening dreams. The Sea King drinks a toast off of the mussel shell.

Nobody moves. But the dancer emerges on midnight toes,

falls on her knees and stretches out her arms

and kisses the beautiful one.