Author: Edith Södergran


2 February 2009 | Fiction, poetry

Edith Södergran (1892–1923) was born in  St Petersburg to Finland-Swedish parents; she later lived in an isolated Karelian village on the Finnish side of the Russian border. She published only six collections of poetry, in her native Swedish, before her untimely death from tuberculosis and poverty at the age of 31. Her bold, intense, sensuous and visionary poetry has made her a classic of Finnish literature. Her letters to her friend, the writer Hagar Olsson, were published in 1955.

Violet dusks

Violet dusks I bear within me from my origins,
naked maidens at play with galloping centaurs...
Yellow sunlit days with gaudy glances,
only sunbeams do true homage to a tender woman’s body...
The man has not come, has never been, will never be...
The man is a false mirror that the sun’s daughter angrily
                                   throws against the rock-face,
the man is a lie that white children do not understand,
the man is a rotten fruit that proud lips disdain.