A Life by Edith Irene Södergran

That the stars are adamant
everyone understands—
but I won’t give up seeking joy on each blue wave
or peace below every gray stone.
If happiness never comes, what is a life?
A lily withers in the sand
and if its nature has failed? The tide
washes the beach at night.
What is the fly looking for on the spider’s web?
What does a dayfly make of its hours?
(Two wings creased over a hollow body.)

Black will never turn to white—
yet the perfume of our struggle lingers
as each morning fresh flowers
spring up from hell.

The day will come
when the earth is emptied, the skies collapse
and all goes still—
when nothing remains but the dayfly
folded in a leaf.
But no one knows it.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/55402

Date: c1916 (original in Swedish); 2012 (translation in English)

By: Edith Irene Södergran (1892-1923)

Translated by: Averill Ann Curdy (19??- )

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