Tove Jansson’s Autumn Song

This is a rotten although pretty literal translation of Höstvisa (Autumn Song), a poem by Tove Jansson which I found through a line in PO Enquist’s Liknelseboken. I have lost all of the rhyme and most of the swing of the original, but I think what remains is still worth posting.
I met with no one on the long way home The evenings grow cold and stretch far ahead
Come comfort me a little for I am tired now
And suddenly so dreadfully alone.
I never saw before that the darkness is so vast,
I walk and think of all those things I ought
There are so many things I should have said and done
And there’s so very little that I did

Hasten, beloved, and hurry to love
Each minute now the days grow darker
Light all our candles while night closes round us:
The blossoming summer will soon be all gone

I’m looking for something perhaps we’ve forgotten
which you might help me to find
One summer passes, and it’s always just as brief
It’s the dream of what we could have gained.
Perhaps you will come some time before the dusk grows blue
before the meadows are dry and empty
Perhaps we’ll find each other perhaps we’ll find then
a way to make everything flower

Hasten, beloved, and hurry to love
Each minute now the days grow darker
Light all our candles while night closes round us:
The blossoming summer will soon be all gone

The storm out there has slammed the summer’s door
It’s too late now to wonder and too late to search
Perhaps I love you less than I did before
But more than you will ever know
Now we see all the lighthouses down the long coast of autumn
and hear the lost waves wander
One thing only matters and that’s the heart’s desire
And to be together with one another.

Hasten, beloved, and hurry to love
Each minute now the days grow darker
Light all our candles while night closes round us:
The blossoming summer will soon be all gone

You can hear it done as a song, rather beautifully, here
This entry was posted in Literature, Sweden. Bookmark the permalink.