Poem of the Week: Kate Næss – Magic


When you come
the closed room opens
letting in the seas.
Your spell touches the walls
and turns them
into glowing vaults.
When you stay
the stars are given wings of fire
silently sinking
in timeless sun-night
taking root in the ocean bed.
When you leave
a gust of invisible wind
blows through the room.
The walls collapse
and damp stars
rise and unfold
fugitive wings.



Når du kommer
åpnes det lukkede rom
og slipper sjøene inn.
Med trolldom rører du veggene
og forvandler dem
til lysende hvelv.
Når du blir
får stjernene vinger av ild
som synker stille
i tidløs solnatt
og slår rot i havets bunn.
Når du går
blafrer usynlig vind
gjennom rommet.
Veggene faller sammen
og fuktige stjerner
stiger og folder seg ut
med flyktende vinge

From Kate Næss (1938–1987), Billedskrift, Aschehoug, Oslo 1962. The English translation comes from The Routledge Handbook of International Beat Literature, A. Robert Lee, 2007.

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.