Monday, August 9, 2010

An Old Poem by Victor Myrèn

The Road of Suffering

You, who learnt to reconcile
with your suffering’s miracle,
carried its martyr’s crown
in your finest moments-
didn’t you feel how the mind
cleared with its burden?
although you carried in your memory
prayers, heard by no one?

Thoughts, as light as chaff
for the world’s storming joys
ask well, what it benefits
the path towards Golgotha rises
not knowing that the track
to the inner peace
goes through the thorn bushes
goes through the storm and battle

Didn’t you notice how the light
burnt brighter in your heart,
didn’t lilies grow from the gravel
for every pain suffered?
Didn’t strings, that previously were silent,
quiver in your mind?
Didn’t the eternal fire burn
in previously lukewarm souls?

Every burdened hearts
hold out your hands!
The suffering, the thorns and the pain
make us all brethren.
Gasping children that strode
walking far and lost
seeking you home from the wide
roads to find each other!

For those of you paying attention, I was in New York for a funeral last week, and while there I found a scrap book among my grandfather's things that my mother is fairly certain belonged to my great-grandmother. This bit of paper caught my eye, maybe because it is in Swedish, maybe because it is clearly a poem, so I decided to try to translate it into English. I turned to online translators and a handy Norwegian friend, Mari (over at the
thegiraffabilityofdigressions blog). Despite not speaking Swedish, she was able to assist me in making sense of the clipping.

I have another one that is much longer that I will tackle next (though not next, next, since I seem to have promised a Dairyrobics post and another gnome post to my facebook people) that is roughly titled, My greetings to Spring which is signed at the bottom Insänt av J.A. . My hope is that it isn't as heavy a topic as the one in Smärtans väg.


  1. I think that your English version reads well. Well done! And well done to Cruella-Marie too....
    I enjoyed this. Thanks.

    All the best, Boonsong

  2. Yay that you posted it! Now it is out there for the entire Swedish-reading part of the internet to see what a terrible translator I make... *freaks*

    I'm just kidding - I like your reasons for wanting to know what the poem was about, and I found the poem quite interesting (even if it is strikingly religious for my Digressionary self).

  3. Thanks Boonsong! I am glad you liked it.

    Mari: Haha, I don't think too many Swedes will get upset over your translation, maybe they will like better than an official one! There was really just that one word, agnar that seemed to have baffled you, but chaff isn't a very common word any where except for farmers anyways. So I think you did an excellent job, but i could be wrong and the entire country of Sweden could be searching for my address as I speak(type?).

  4. Aha. I still don't know what that is (and I looked it up in the dictionary!)

  5. Well, depending on which dictionary you used, the definition could go two ways:
    a) Noun, the seed coverings and other debris left over after thrashing grains ( this is the farm one that makes sense in the poem since it is generally fluffy debris)


    b)verb, (according to Microsoft word, which doesn't have any good synonyms, by the way, for the noun version) tease someone lightheartedly, banter.

    While I was growing up we used the term chaff to describe all the bits of hay that got stuck in our hair and the seeds and small leaf parts that fell out of the hay that was then breathed into our throats and lodged there.

    The Norwegian word is "agner".

    Was that a boring and needless lesson on chaff? I hope not.

  6. I happen to know Mari DOES speak Swedish, but only if she has at least 3 glasses of wine. So if she helped you, you can make whatever attributions about that you like *cough*

    And I'm a quarter Swedish, so we might be related. So there. (though it was the Welsh strand I know to have spent time in Wisconsin.)

  7. I forgot I was planning to respond to Tami, sorry.

    HA! When I have a few I start speaking in tongues as well (Spanish), so we have something in common!

    We are the first generation of our family to be in Wisconsin, so unless you had family stop off in Mars Pennsylvania, or New York, probably not. But then again, we do have some Norwegian as well,(actually that's a maybe, since I am awful at the family history thing. I was also told once that my great-grandmother was part native american too, but i couldn't say for sure.)and some Pennsylvania Dutch too, but I'm not certain about it.

    The thing I know for certain, though, is that the family name used to be Bradt and was changed to Bratt when they came to America.


Comments are Fun!