Tuesday 24 April 2012

Poem by the Norwegian writer
Aasmund Olafsson Vinje (1818-1870)

At Rondane

Once more such heights and valleys stand before me
as those I saw when my first youth held sway;
my heated brow the selfsame wind cools for me,
and gold lies on the snow, as once it lay.
A childhood language speaks that seems to awe me
and make me thoughtful, although also gay,
And childhood memories the words are wreathing:
It streams out to me, almost stops me breathing.

Yes, life streams out now as I felt it streaming
when under snow I saw the green shoots rise.
I’m dreaming now, as once I stood there dreaming
when I such mountains saw ’gainst bright blue skies.
Forgotten is day’s strife, as ’twas at evening
when glimpsing sun’s last rays would be my prize.
I’m sure to find a house that heeds my calling,
with sun to light my way home ere night’s falling.

All’s as before, transfigured, seen more clearly,
with daylight seeming brighter than way back.
And that which bit and cut me so severely
the actual shadow now makes seem less black;
e’en that which tempted me to sin, or nearly,
e’en that hard rock makes softer in attack.
Old thoughts, now reconciled, extend a greeting:
though older, it is still the same heart beating.

And every stone seems known where’er I’m wending,
for ’mongst such stones did I once run about.
As if they were great giants fiercely contending,
I ask this peak and that who’ll win their bout.
All things remind me in a chain unending
till deep down in the snow the sun goes out.
And till the final sleep one day enfolds me
old memories and shadows will console me.

A very famous poem. For the original, go to here.
To listen to the first two verses with music by Grieg, go to here

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