I wonder

Edith Södergran with the cat Totti

I wonder

You desired the curves of my body,
and were surprised when I had desires of my own.

You craved the touch of my lips,
never considering I could ever say No!

You needed my womb for your children,
but hadn’t counted on growing up to become a parent.

You liked my swift hands to keep your house,
counting on me to pick up all the slack.

You thought my mind could keep everything in order,
and expected me to have no opinions of my own.

You wanted my caring heart,
but expected me to have no needs of my own.

I wonder, did you ever think me a person as real as you?


Written for Tothpurge’s prompt Borrowed, where we’re asked to borrow some magic from a poem that inspires us.

I choose one of my favorites – The Day cools by Edith Södergran.

“I am no woman”, Edith Södergran wrote. Her poetry is about the power of self-definition. Her contribution to a new world is to take leave of women’s marginal role and plant herself proudly on the world stage.


I where quite surprised to find very few English translations on the web.
So, I took the liberty of making my own…

The Day cools – Edith Södergran


The day cools towards evening…
Drink the warmth out of my hand,
my hand has the same blood as spring.
Take my hand, take my white arm,
take the longing of my narrow shoulders…
It would be curios to feel,
just one night, a night like this,
your heavy head against my chest.


You threw the red rose of your love
into my white womb – 
I hold on with my hot hands
your red rose of love soon to wither…
O ruler with cold eyes,
I receive the crown you hand me,
that bends my head towards my hearth…


I saw my master for the first time today,
trembling I recognized him instantly.
Now I feel clear his heavy hand on my light arm…
Where is my tinkling maiden’s laughter,
my female emancipation with head held high?
Now I feel clear his steady grip on my shivering body,
now I hear realitys hard sound
against my delicate dreams.


You sought a flower
and found a fruit.
You sought a well
and found an ocean.
You sought a woman
and found a soul –
you are disappointed.

9 thoughts on “I wonder

Add yours

  1. Thanks so much for stopping by Poetry Tuesday and introducing Edith Södergran. “never considering I could ever say No” – Sadly this is still the case in so many parts of the world – patriarchy and misogyny are still huge battles to be fought. A timely poem!

  2. I’m impressed, both with the careful progression of your own poem and of your translation of the Sodergran. To be disappointed to find a full woman under and aside from the functionality shows an astounding lack of spirituality–as in cut off from the truth of nature. Yes, I’ve known it, too. I’m so happy for women who have found a different kind of mate.

  3. I very much enjoyed reading both your own poem and your beautiful translation of hers. (I can’t know if it is an accurate translation, though I’m sure you would have made it so, respecting her as you do – but I mean that it’s beautiful in itself anyway.)

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