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.
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.