The king's sorrow

Edith Södergran: Poems

Theking forbade the word “sorrow” at court,

“Unhappiness”, “love”, “happiness”, which all hurt,

but “she” and “her” were still left.

His queen caressed him like a child,

in the twilight hours he lay by her breast

with eyes wide open with pain.

He listened with anxiety for all steps by the door

and reluctance spread across his face.

 If the girls at the farm laugh like silvery grey springs

the king turned pale and changed the subject.

No young women with blonde locks

were anymore allowed to show themselves with uncovered heads

and the little dancers in short dresses

were all expelled from court.

When it turned spring the king didn’t go out into the garden,

he lay in his north-facing room…

The spring peeped pale blue through the glass.