Poem of the Week: Jon Fosse – The mountain holds its breath


there was a deep breath
and then the mountain stood there
then the mountains stood there
and that’s how the mountains stand there

and stoop downwards
and downwards
into themselves
and hold their breath

while heaven and sea
stroke and beat
the mountain holds its breath



anden vart trekt djupt
og så stod fjellet der
så stod fjella der
og slik står fjella der

og lutar seg nedover
og nedover
i seg sjølv
og held anden

medan himmel og hav
stryk og slår
held fjellet anden


From Jon Fosse (1959), Stein til stein, Samlaget, Oslo 2013. The English translation comes from poetryinternationalweb.net, 2010.

Translated by May-Brit Akerholt.

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.