Hurry my love, hurry to love…

Birgitta Ulfsson, actor and theater director, died last Sunday October 8, 2017. She became 89 years old. (Born 1928). I didn’t know Birgitta Ulfsson personally, but I became sad to read that she had passed away as if she had been a friend. Her voice has been so strong and lively in me over the years because she was a reader of Tove Jansson’s books about the Moomin trolls. Strange, but it actually feels like someone connected to my childhood has died.

But I actually met her voice – and the Moomins – first through my son’s early interest for fantasy literature, it’s about 25 years back in time. The books about the Moomin family actually became his ticket into the fantasy literature. But I never got an interest in the fantasy genre, so I’ve stayed with Janson’s books about the Moomin family as fascinating fairy tales for both adults and children – and actually as psychological textbooks for greater self-awareness.

We listened both to cassettes and read the books in afternoons and evenings during my son’s childhood, the years before his teens. After he became an adult and left home, we have both independent of each other during the years sometimes reread any or another of the Moomin books.

A well-known follower through all years has also Birgitta Ulfsson’s recording of Tove Jansson’s ballad “Höstvisa” become. Of course very many other artists have performed this ballad. But it’s her version and voice that is planted in my soul. And now it’s gone. 😦

The lyric is written by Tove Jansson (1914 – 2001) and the music by the composer and pianist Erna Tauro (1915 – 1993. All three of them, Ulfsson, Jansson and Tauro were Finland-Swedes. For those unfamiliar with Scandinavian culture, I can tell that it means that they belonged to a linguistic minority in Finland with Swedish as their mother tongue.

Finnish as nationality but writing and speaking with a distinctly singing and highly articulated Swedish, this minority has had an overwhelming significance for Swedish cultural life and enriched it so much that it cannot enough be appreciated. It counts for composer, singers, actors as well as writers. Among many other strong personalities you can for example find the early modernist poet Edit Södergran (1892 – 1923).

The ballad about autumn was written and composed in 1965. Throughout all years I have experienced it as a romantic song, but not as a sad one. Now, after the message of Birgitta Ulfsson’s death, the song sudden feels so sad to me – and it feels like the song is more about the autumn time in human life than the season autumn. Life is so short and have an end, so hurry to love before it’s late – the song urges you!

The composer Erna Tauro once got the question of how to sing this ballad. She told: “Absolutely not melancholy! Neither Tove nor me are melancholic”. Yet and I’m sorry Erna, right now I’m melancholic… in a good way. 🙂

The ballad is written with the rhyme scheme ABAB CDCD EFEF GHGH IJIJ KLKL

I have worked hard with to make a translation with rhymes. But I’m not happy with what I accomplished so I’ve decided to make a translation with focus instead of the number of syllables in the every line. But I must tell I can’t neither sing nor play so I really don’t know if I get it right when working with lyrics to music. But I’m keen on a translation must follows the original carefully and that you only can change the words to overcome language differences. Everything else is really not translations but simply new poems inspired by the theme of the original. And I hate that. (There is nothing that can upset me more than to read translations of Swedish poems or lyrics into English! To see a poem become garbled make me actually more upset than to read Donald Trump himself saying something new nonsense on those media he calls “fake news”.)

Erna Tauro

Höstvisa Autumn ballad

The way home was very long and I didn’t meet anyone,
now the evenings gets chilly and short.
Come and comfort me a little, for I’m pretty tired now,
and suddenly so terrible alone.
I never noticed before that the darkness is so big,
walking around thinking of all what one should.
There are so many things I should had said and done,
and it was so very little I did.

Hurry my love, hurry to love,
The days darkens minute by minute.
Light our candles, it’s close to the night,
Soon the flowering summer is over.

I’m looking for something that we might have forgotten
and that you could help me to find.
A summer passes by, it is always as short,
It is the dream of what one could win.
Perhaps you come sometime before the dusk turns blue
before the meadows are dry and empty.
Perhaps we find each other, perhaps we’ll then
find a way to get everything to flower.

Hurry my love, hurry to love…

Now blows a storm out there and close the summer door
It’s too late for wondering and searching.
Maybe I love lesser than I did before
but more than you will ever get to know.
Now we see all lighthouses round the long autumn coast
and hear the waves wandering wildly.
The only thing important is the heart’s desire
and to be together with each other.

Hurry my love, hurry to love…


And so me trying to rhyme… 😦


The way home was very long and no one did I meet,
now the evenings gets chilly and late.
I’m tired in need of some comfort and a seat
sudden feeling in such a lonely state,
I didn’t noticed before how dark the darkness can be,
now I’m think a lot of all the things I should do ,
and all the things I should have said and done to thee
and how little I actually came to do.

Hurry my love, hurry to love,
the days passes faster than my song.
Light our candles, it’s close to the night,
Soon the flowering summer is gone.

I lock for what we might have overseen
and what you may can help me to explore.
A summer runs away too quick, always so keen
as it is the dream of all what could have been.
Maybe you’ll come before the dusk turns blue
and before the meadows dries and pale
Maybe we find a way back together that’s true
and get everything to flourish like in a fairy tale

Hurry my love, hurry to love…

Now a storm blows out there closing the summer door.
It’s too late to wonder and ponder and although
I may love lesser than I did before,
I still love more than you’ll ever know.
Now we see all lighthouses at the coast of fall
and hear the waves wildly wandering and roar.
Only one thing is important, it’s what the heart call
and be together as ever before

Hurry my love, hurry to love …

Tove Jansson and her life partner Tuulikki Pietilä


This entry was posted in aging, inspiring literature, inspiring music, music video with lyrics, poems by vonnely, reading, rebellious lovers, roots and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Hurry my love, hurry to love…

  1. thegeby says:

    Försöker lära mig grekiska och lyriken hjälper. Det är inte rimmen som stör, men kombinationen av korta versmått och rim.

  2. vonnely says:

    Vadan detta intresse för lyrik? En dikt av Gullberg var mitt första möte med lyrik, det var på en folkhögskola, en antologi, 1967 och jag var 18 och konvalescent efter en sjukhusvistelse. Människors möte:
    Rim är nästan omöjligt att översätta. Grekiska?

  3. thegeby says:

    Helt rätt. Jobbar på sista delen i trilogin och Gullbergs Fõrklädd Gud. Rimmen är in i helvete svåra😁

  4. vonnely says:

    Thanks. And I see you have translate Ekelöf too, I tried that too. Eftersom du heter Björn förmodar jag att du är svensk… 🙂

  5. thegeby says:

    I like your translation. I gave the same poem a try myself ☺.
    I agree it is difficult to catch the vibe…

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