Vierge Moderne is one of my favourite poems by one of my favourite poets – the outstanding and trailblazing modernistic Finland-Swedish poet Edith Södergran (1892-1923). She was one of the most influential of the Scandinavian modern poets and I was not surprised to read that my other long time favourite Gunnar Ekelöf admired her strongly. Even if they are quite different in their writing style (besides from being truly great pioneers and poets) they share a common urge to play with dichotomies and a longing for freedom and room for individuality that is prominent and unconditional. Edith Södergran is fiercely intellectual and passionate.
This is one of her poems that I really love and keep returning to. I like the elusiveness. The translation is my own – please overlook the flaws.
The photo is – of course – not my own .
I am no woman. I am a neuter.
I am a child, a page and a brave decision,
I am a laughing streak of the scarlet sun . . .
I am a net for the insatiable fish,
I am a toast to the honour of every woman,
I am a step towards fortune and destruction,
I am a leap into the freedom and into the self. . .
I am a whisper of desire in the man’s ear,
I am a wrenching of the soul and the yearning and the denial of the flesh,
I am an entry sign to new paradises.
I am a flame, seeking and bright,
I am a water, deep – yet only daring to the knees,
I am fire and water in a sincere setting on free conditions. . .
If you want to know more