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Hope -- Edith Sodergran

Guest poem sent in by Vidur
(Poem #1122) Hope
 I want to let go -
 so I don't give a damn about fine writing,
 I'm rolling my sleeves up.
 The dough's rising...
 Oh what a shame
 I can't bake cathedrals...
 that sublimity of style
 I've always yearned for...
 Child of our time -
 haven't you found the right shell for your soul?

 Before I die I *shall*
 bake a cathedral.
-- Edith Sodergran
isn't this a great little poem? i think you can almost *feel* the range of
emotions sodergran expresses, emotions anyone who has pursued an elusive
dream can identify with. you want to just give it all up, your every effort
is frustrated, you're almost there... if you could only...  - and you feel
all of this at the same time!

i think all of us need a little hope in our lives. even if it's "false".

someday, i shall bake a cathedral...


editing notes: the *'s around 'shall' in the last line are only there
because i couldn't reproduce the italics. but the ellipses are actually
in the verse. i have to wonder whether the original nordic verse had
them. i don't like them or their placement much, but after thinking
about it, perhaps they do work to visually reinforce the notion of

about the poet: edith sodergran was a swedish poet, who wrote in the
early 1900's.

84 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Matias Dahlback HF01 said...

Citerat från Martin Julian DeMello :

> about the poet: edith sodergran was a swedish poet, who wrote in the
> early 1900's.

Actually Edith was a Finn-Swedish poet, that is, she lived in Finland but her
native tongue was Swedish. She also wrote poems in Russian, perhaps also in
Finnish, but that I cannot say for sure.

Dave Peraza said...

Truly great. I like the ellipses. They seem perfectly placed; indicating a
thought that trails off (I don't see it as indicating 'hope'). And their
absence on the last line "Before I die I *shall* bake a cathedral." helps
communicate determination and commitment.


hirsiaho said...

Hi! Brilliant that you have included Edith on the list!
But just a correction: Edith Sodergran was a Finnish
poet writing in Swedish. She died alone and young in
tuberculosis in Carelia, which is now a part of Russia.
There are two translated collections in English, I have
somewhere the worse one "Violent Twilights", a newer one
is fab but I cannot remember its name.
I have never seen this dough poem, although I thought
I had read her production through.

Anu Hirsiaho
Finn from Toronto

Johanna said...

I really really and truly want to find a book by Edith Sodergran in English! She's my ultimate idol and I've been struggling to get any info of her books I could find in the UK.
If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!
Thank you very much!

I'm glad Anu corrected the fact that Edith was a Finnish poet!

All the best everyone!

Finn in Bristol/UK

FINN FILM said...

Perhaps the following link will help you find some of Edith Sodergran's
works in English:

[broken link]

Here's a photo of Edith as well - what a beautiful Finn:

[broken link]

Lee Mamunes said...

Reminds me of an American poet who also liked to bake bread, and who also was in a race for time because, like Sodergran, she was tubercular -- Emily Dickinson. George Mamunes

Anonymous said...

I wish I cold read the pale grey font on white background. Who is responsible for that failure of reason?

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