Karin Boye

(1900-1941 / Sweden)

Man's Multiplicity


We were born of mothers of heaven and earth
and of powers with no end in view,
nocturnal wills and wills of light
with names that no one knew.

May one of the many
not gain power over us,
though she be of heaven's race
and shine in magnificence.

In us a multiplicity lives.
It fumbles towards unity.
Its capturing, gathering burning­glass
we were born to be.

Great is man's striving,
great the goals it has set ­
but much greater is man himself
with roots in universal night.

So give, that we shield a secret room
and never a flame do lack
on the altar of an unknown god,
that may tomorrow wake.

Submitted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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