Life

Edith Södergran: Poems

I, my own prisoner, say:

life is not springtime clad in light green velvet

or a caress you rarely receive,

life is not a decision about walking

or two white arms holding you back.

Life is the narrow ring keeping us captive,

the invisible circle we never transcend,

life is the close happiness which passes us by,

and a thousand steps we’re unable to take.

Life is to despise oneself

and lay immobile at the bottom of a well

and know that the sun shines up there

and golden birds fly through the air

and the lightning-fast days shoot past.

Life is to wave a quick goodbye and return home to sleep…

Life is to be a stranger to oneself

and a new mask for each and every one who comes.

Life is to act thoughtlessly with your own happiness

and to push away the only moment,

life is to believe oneself weak and dare nothing.