The gypsy woman

Edith Södergran: The Land Which Is Not

I am a gypsy woman from a foreign land,

in brown enigmatic hands do I hold my cards.

Days follow days, similar and multi-coloured.

Defiant I look into people’s faces:

what do they know of the burning cards?

What do they know of the living images?

What do they know about each card being a fate?

What do they know of the fact that each card falling from my hand

has thousand-fold meaning?


Nobody knows that these hands seek something.

Nobody knows that these hands were sent out long ago.

That these hands know all things

and yet only touch everything in a dream.

There is only one such pair of hands in the world.


The wonderful robber-hands

I hide under the red tablecloth

in defiance and melancholy, strong, adorned by rings.

These brown eyes stare in endless longing.

These red lips burn with a fire which never wanes,

these worriless hands must do their deed in the sinister flame-coloured night.