The Portrait

By Edith Södergran 1892–1923 Edith Sodergran

Translated from the Swedish by Brooklyn Copeland Read the translator's notes

For my little ballads,
those strange, sunset-red laments,
spring paid me a gull’s egg.

I bade my lover paint my portrait
                                            on its thick shell.
He painted a new bulb in brown soil—
on the other side, a powdery mound of sand.

Source: Poetry (June 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2011


Edith Södergran (1892–1923) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and educated at a German-language girls school there. Before her death at age thirty-one, Södergran published five collections of poetry.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire, Relationships, Men & Women, Nature, Spring

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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