in the sunshine, the rain, when the moon takes your breath.
I shall listen to no one, and play as I will
for I play to forget I am on this earth still.
I’ll do no harvest labor, not rye and not flax,
for the hand the bow harbors must be kept smooth as wax.
You must not call me lazy, you must not scorn my name
‘cause I’d rather go hungry and just live with the shame.
I will not dig the fields, I will not chop the wood,
I will dream ’neath the cherry and not worry for food.
When the sky’s red at twilight I shall raise my fiddle high
And play ’til you’re all dizzy and not an eye’s dry.
I shall play as you bury your beloved in the soil,
I shall play all your grief in a tune with no mirth.
And the sorrow of death which has visited you,
Will gush forth like your mourning direct from my bow.
I shall wander hill and dale during long autumn nights,
In the smoke of myriad log fires I shall sing with all my might.
And as the pitch darkness lays its mist o’er the fen
My bass voice will echo through humanity’s den.
I have three strings of sorrow – for the fourth one it gave,
In with a tremor at my dearest friend’s grave.
And until my own death day I will follow you with songs –
Await death and be playing on resurrection day long.
Take me to the stone
DAN ANDERSSON. BLACK BALLADS 1917
English translation by: Linda Schenck