By Ina Rousseau Ina Rousseau

Translated By J.M. Coetzee Read the translator's notes

Somewhere in Eden, after all this time,   
does there still stand, abandoned, like   
a ruined city, gates sealed with grisly nails,   
the luckless garden?

Is sultry day still followed there   
by sultry dusk, sultry night,   
where on the branches sallow and purple   
the fruit hangs rotting?

Is there still, underground,   
spreading like lace among the rocks   
a network of unexploited lodes,   
onyx and gold?

Through the lush greenery   
their wash echoing afar   
do there still flow the four glassy streams   
of which no mortal drinks?

Somewhere in Eden, after all this time,   
does there still stand, like a city in ruins,   
forsaken, doomed to slow decay,   
the failed garden?

Source: Poetry (April 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2007


Ina Rousseau (1923 – 2005) was born and died in South Africa. She published six volumes of poetry and a collection of stories. In 1995 she was awarded the Hertzog Prize, the major award for Afrikaans poetry. “Eden” comes from her first collection, Die verlate tuin (The deserted garden), published in 1954.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Heroes & Patriotism, Christianity, Mythology & Folklore


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