Poem of the Week: Ulrik Farestad – To a Dead Wagtail on the Balcony


It wasn’t the bang on the window that scared me,
no, but the steady impartial chirruping
of the bereaved when I came out –

as if they wished to evoke a continuity
where no continuity existed;
as if you were really sitting on a branch in there

in the mirror preening your feathers, in their midst, in song.



Det var ikke smellet i vinduet som skremte meg, nei, men det vedvarende, nøytrale kvitteret
fra dine etterlatte da jeg kom ut –

som om de ville mane frem en fortsettelse
der ingen fortsettelse fantes;
som om du virkelig satt på en gren der inne

i speilet og stelte fjærene, midt iblant dem, i sangen.

Translated by Annabelle Despard.
From Ulrik Farestad (1984–), Sangen og katastrofen, Bokvennen, Oslo 2017.


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.