Edith Södergran: Poems

What is beauty? Ask all the souls in the world –

beauty is everything superfluous, every spark, every swelling and great poverty;

beauty is to be true to the summer and naked by the autumn’s side;

beauty is the parrot’s feathercoat or the sunset heralding storm;

beauty is a sharp feature and a certain tone of voice: it is me,

beauty is a great loss and a silent parade of mourners,

beauty is the light movement of the fan which awakens the breath of fate;

beauty is the desire of the rose or forgiveness for all because the sun shines;

beauty is the cross the monk has chosen or the necklace the mistress receives from her lover,

beauty is not the thin sauce poets serve themselves in,

beauty is to wage war and search for happiness,

beauty is to serve higher purposes.