Edith Södergran: Poems

Willful and cold my heart became

when I began longing for your caresses.

My sisters have not yet felt

that I no longer look at them…

I no longer speak to anybody…

How often don’t I kiss

the tiny kitten that sleeps near my breast.

I’d want to call it a bit sad,

but my heart is happy and laughs at everything.


Sisters, I do what I never wanted,

sisters, hold me back –

I don’t want to leave you.

When I close my eyes he’s standing in front of me,

I have many thoughts for him and none for all others.

- - - - - - - -

My life has become threatening like a stormy sky,

my life has become fake like reflecting water,

my life walks a tightrope high in the air:

I dare not look at it.

All the wishes I had yesterday

wither like the lowest leaves of the palmtree,

all the prayers I said yesterday

are useless and unanswered.

All of my words I’ve taken back,

and all that I owned I’ve given to the poor,

who wished me happiness.

When I really think about it

I have nothing left of myself except my black hair,

my two long locks which curl like snakes.

My lips have turned to the red-hot coals,

I no longer remember when they started burning…

Terrible was the great fire which laid waste to my youth.

Oh, the inevitable comes like the cut of a sword –

I go without taking leave, unnoticed,

I leave completely and never return.