Poem of the Week: Aagot Vinterbo-Hohr – Night sun keeps you awake

Night sun keeps you awake.

She waited while he approached, he came from the south
over the narrow land with the glittering lakes. To see him
flailing his arms against the insects, he looked like a young bear
who has stumbled across a wasp’s nest.
He must have had sweet blood.
When he came close enough, he heard this song, stopped
and listened. Surprised, he saw where he was and
all at once he knew who he was.
For the rest of his life he listened, and he learnt to sing

Nattsol gjør våken.

Hun ventet mens han nærmet seg, han kom fra sør
over eidet med de blanke tjernene. Der han gikk og
fektet med myggen, lignet han på en ungbjørn som har
råket et vepsebol.
Han måtte ha søtt blod.
Da han kom nær nok, hørte han denne sangen, stanset
og lyttet. Forundret kjente han seg igjen og
visste med ett hvem han var.
Hele resten av livet lyttet han, og han lærte å synge

From Aagot Vinterbo-Hohr (1936–), Palimpsest, Davvi Media, Karasjok 1987.
Translated by Annabelle Despard.

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.