Poem of the Week: Astrid Hjertenæs Andersen – Horses standing in the rain


When my mind is filled with dreams,
vaguer, more distant
than my thought can explain,
wilder, more heated
than my heart can understand,
all I want is to stand in the rain
like horses standing in the rain
on a lush and sweeping plain
between the heavy hills, like here.

To stand and feel my body sucking
this wetness, cool and strong,
streaming down in torrents
over my face, my hair and hands.
Being like the forest sucking
as an infant from the breasts of heaven.
Like the plain, full of sweetness,
quivering with mild desire.

Like horses standing in rain,
bowed with wet flanks,
letting the scent of loam and wetness
drift strong and sweet through the mind,
all I want is to stand and be
letting the heaven-drizzle trickle,
until my thought fever-free
follows my dreams to clarity
in a stubborn silent calm.


Når mitt sinn er fylt av drømmer,
mere dunkle, mere fjerne
enn min tanke kan forklare,
mere ville, mere hete
enn mitt hjerte kan forstå,
vil jeg bare stå i regnet
slik som hester står i regnet
på en bred og saftig slette
mellom tunge fjell, som her.

Stå og kjenne kroppen suge
dette svale, sterke, våte,
som i strie strømmer siler
over ansikt, hår og hender.
Likne skogen der den suger,
som et barn, av himlens bryster.
Likne sletten, full av sødme,
sitrende av fromt begjær.

Slik som hester står i regnet,
lutende, med våte flanker,
og lar duft av muld og væte
drive sterkt og søtt i sinnet,
vil jeg stå og bare være
og la himmel-yret falle,
inntil tanken fri for feber
følger drømmene til klarhet
i en steil og stille ro.

Translated by Annabelle Despard.
From Astrid Hjertenæs Andersen (1915–1985), De unge søylene, H. Aschehoug & Co, Oslo 1948.

Poem of the Week. 52 poems throughout the year

Take part in a weekly journey through 52 poems by authors from Norway throughout 2019 – Norway’s year as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

From the time when the earliest texts were recorded in runic inscriptions, poetry has had a strong position in Norway. By introducing a new poem each week throughout 2019, we aim to highlight the quality and breadth of Norwegian poetry. «Poem of the Week» presents 52 poems, inspired by the changing seasons and the passing of the year. The selection has been made by Tone Carlsen and Annette Vonberg, and consists of poems from the earliest handwritten manuscripts up until today, with a special emphasis on contemporary poetry.

You can find all poems in this series here. Read more about Norway as Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair here.

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