'Child!' said Life to me one day.
'How young you are! A little unripe fruit...
I want to teach you the adornment of youth:
modest discretion,
lowered eyes and quiet voice.
Go softly now - go on tiptoe over the meadows!
Silent, be silent - hold your breath and listen!
If Joy greets you, if Pain greets you,
don't make such a dreadful fuss (you usually do)!
Be infinitely quiet! Listen! Listen!
Then perhaps you will
find the way home to my rose-garden.'

Translated into English by David McDuff in "Karin Boye: Complete poems".

Swedish original

Copyright © 2005:
Translation from Swedish into English: David McDuff

Published with the permission of:
David McDuff, translation.
May and Hans Mehlin, Layout.

For more information, please visit the website of David McDuff and his own pages with the translations.