Nearest are you when away.
Something passes in the play.
Love is what I call this.
I don’t know what this is.
Once it was, the evening’s call,
whisperings of wind and fall.
Now there is a hidden strain
us between to appertain.
( • )
The original poem was written by Tor Jonsson (♂) († 1951) and is called "Når du er borte".
The "wisdom" expressed by Tor Jonsson in the poem "Når du er borte" ("When you are away") is not new. I have seen it expressed in an older Norwegian poem. And before that, it was expressed in the novel "The Brothers Karamazow" by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It is one of the "truths" Ivan tells Alexei when they in Book Five meet at the inn called "The Spot" (or whatever it is called in the English translation). Ivan says to Alexei (my translation):
"For one to have a human being dear, this must be hiding; never before it shows its face, love is gone."
What Ivan and Tor Jonsson miss, of course, is to see human beings not as things.
This poem is published on my home page | here |.