This Being Human – Dedicated to Karin Boye

The road might be long and windy,
but with will and intention
we can make the journey the point,
not an unforeseeable future goal.
©RedCat


This being human is a journey on unknown roads.
A journey without any set goals.

Every morning a new path to walk.
Full of wonders and delight,
but also pain, sorrow and fright.
Your job is to enjoy and endure.
Find your voice and chart your own path.

Every evening a new fork in the path.
A new chance to learn and thrive,
or another instance you run and hide.

Every day a twist in your way.
Everything good or bad there to teach you if it may.
Everything sent for you to learn, to listen to what your heart, soul and true self say.

Every night a new turn in your trail.
Will you learn your lesson, find wisdom and compassion.
Let your dreams to heaven and beyond set sail.

This being human is a journey on unknown roads.
It’s the voyage that counts, not the goal.

©RedCat

Written for Poetics: The Art of Being Human at dVerse. Where Kim gives us a Rumi poem full of metaphor (last in this post). And challenges us to “write a metaphor poem that starts with the words ‘This being human is…’”

There are so many ways you can go with this but I ended up with a journey metaphor. I’ll see this one as a first rough draft because there is so much more you can put in there, but this is all my migraine allowed me to write.

As I read it through I realized I once again had ended up with a line – the last one – that is directly inspired by one of my favorite Swedish poets Karin Boye. And one of her most known poems – I rörelse (In motion).
Another time a similar line popped up was in – Leaves Fall to Moulder

Like with Tomten by Viktor Rydberg, I couldn’t find a translation I truly liked, even though you can find several at the Karin Boye Society

So I did my own! (Read below)


In motion, by Karin Boye,
translated by RedCat

The satiated day is never greatest or first.
The best day is a day of thirst.

There might be goals and purpose to our path,
but it is the journey that gives the effort worth.

The best goal is a nightlong rest,
where the fire is lit and the bread shared in haste.

In places where you sleep but once,
your sleep becomes safe and your dreams full of song.

Strike camp! Move on! The new day dawns.
Endless is our great adventure hereupon.

In motion, by Karin Boye, translated by RedCat

Photo by Johannes Plenio from Pexels

The Guest House by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.​

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

​Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

​Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

The Guest House by Rumi
Photo by Ivica Džambo from Pexels

7 thoughts on “This Being Human – Dedicated to Karin Boye

Add yours

  1. This is a rich tapestry of a post, Helene, embroidered with images, painted and written. I love the extended metaphor of a ‘journey on unknown roads’ – we humans do love to travel and explore new places, new forks, twist and turns – and the final line is so true. And I’m so sorry about the migraine – it didn’t stop you from writing a sterling first draft or translating Karin Boye’s poem, which I enjoyed. 😊

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