Monday, June 2, 2008

Found in translation

I've been reading some poems by Norwegian poet Paal-Helge Haugen, translated by Roger Greenwald. The book, Wintering with the Light, is presented as a bilingual edition, which means I can stumble over the Norwegian (almost all of which is way beyond me) and then read the English translation.

This one, especially, resonates.

(Lean in)

I lean in over the edge of you
You lift a hand
You sign a word
in the almost enclosing silence
of the evening, where sounds live
before they lock into phrases

Later the last trace of twilight
comes down from the hills
The dusk we know
That has lived in us always
That is folded into us

It brings a limit for our eyes
A space for our thoughts
It meets us halfway
and receives what we have in our hands

Shostakovich, String Quartet No. 8

—Paal-Helge Haugen


K. said...

Who knew that Norwegians were so romantic? Still waters run deep as fjords!

My favorite poem is here:

Joannie said...

Ooohh, thanks for that link. I love the wild imagery, but I also love the rhythms.

K. said...

It's a wonderful poem, isn't it? I've been to Coole. It's most famous feature is the autograph tree, into which the likes of Yeats and Shaw carved their initials.