November morning

Edith Södergran: The Land Which Is Not

The first snowflakes fell.

Where the waves had written their runes in the sand of the riverbed

we went with devotion. And the beach said to me:

See, here you wandered as a child, and I am always the same.

And the tree near the water is always the same.

Say, where have you wandered in foreign countries and learned bad habits?

And what did you gain? Nothing at all.


On this earth must your feet tread,

here is your magic circle, from the leaves of the trees

come your assurance and the answer to the riddles.

And you must praise God who lets you stand in his temple

among the trees and the stones.

And you must praise God who has let the scales fall

from your eyes.

All vain wisdom you can scorn,

for now the fir and the heather are your teachers.

Come with the false prophets, the books that lie,

then we’ll light a joyfully burning bonfire by the lake in the valley.