Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Aasmund Olavsson Vinje (1818-1870)

In his book 'Gå' (Walk), Tomas Espedal mentions A.O. Vinje, who called his rucksack 'his best comrade, his faithful travelling companion', so here is a poem (nynorsk) by the man himself:

Ved Rundarne

No seer eg atter slike Fjøll og Dalar,
som deim eg i min fyrste Ungdom saag,
og sama Vind den heite Panna svalar;
og Gullet ligg paa Snjo, som fyrr det laag.
Det er eit Barnemaal, som til meg talar,
og gjer’ meg tankefull, men endaa fjaag
Med Ungdomsminni er den Tala blandad:
Det strøymer paa meg, so eg knapt kan anda.

Ja, Livet strøymer paa meg, som det strøymde,
naar under Snjo eg saag det grøne Straa.
Eg drøymer no, som fyrr eg altid drøymde,
naar slike Fjøll eg saag i Lufti blaa.
Eg gløymer Dagsens Strid, som fyrr eg gløymde,
naar eg mot Kveld af Sol eit Glimt fekk sjaa.
Eg finner vel eit Hus, som vil meg hysa,
naar Soli heim mot Notti vil meg lysa.

Alt er som fyrr, men det er meir forklaarat,
so Dagsens Ljos meg synest meire bjart.
Og det, som beit og skar meg, so det saarat,
det gjerer sjølve Skuggen mindre svart;
sjølv det, som til at synda tidt meg daarat,
sjølv det gjer’ harde Fjøllet mindre hardt.
Forsonad’ koma atter gamle Tankar:
det sama Hjarta er, som eldre bankar.

Og kver ein Stein eg som ein Kjenning finner,
for slik var den, eg flaug ikring som Gut.
Som det var Kjæmpur spyr eg, kven som vinner
af den og denne andre haage Nut.
Alt minner meg; det minner, og det minner,
til Soli ned i Snjoen sloknar ut.
Og inn i siste Svevn meg eigong huggar
dei gamle Minni og dei gamle Skuggar.

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.

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