NaPoWriMo :Day 5- A Norwegian Poem In My Words – The Eyes Tell A Story

NaPoWriMo :Day 5- A Norwegian Poem In My Words – The Eyes Tell A Story
Today, challenge was to write a poem that, like the work in Translucence, reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph. Now find a poem in a language you don’t know (here’s a good place to look!) Ignore any accompanying English translation (maybe cover it up, or cut-and-paste the original into a new document). Now start translating the poem into English, with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. Use the look and feel of the words in the original to guide you along as you write, while trying to describe your photograph. It will be a bit of a balancing act, but hopefully it will lead to new and beautiful (and possibly very weird) places.
I took a poem by Norwegian Poet, Monica Aasprong, “jeg gir deg en gråt som spruter”. I truly enjoyed today’s challenge for one, I have never thought of reading poetry in another language and second it was challenging. Thanks to NaPoWriMo, the gates to the world have been opened by way of this challenge showing language is no barrier.
How I chose the poet amongst many others? Well, since every language other than the one I speak is Greek to me, I just clicked on the first name (Aasprong was the first poet in the list arranged in alphabetical order) that showed up on my screen. I selected a poem written by her and followed the prompt.
Below the image on which my poem is based. Would love to hear what you think of it.
jeg gir deg en gråt som spruter

den skal du bruke

når noen trenger seg inn

da skal du la denne gråten sprute ut

la tårene danse ytterst

som kulene i en fontene


Eyes well, tears sprout,

Hold on to the brink

Dark secrets hide, lashes glisten,

Scars of broken dreams sprout,

Deep mysteries buried in yesterdays,

Spring up, stay, don’t like fountains flow…

så gir jeg deg en hikstegråt

den kommer over deg

når du minst venter det

(og er vanskelig å stoppe)

These sorrows, they found their way,

You hold them back, Don’t!

Let them flow these tears

(Cry out loud, don’t stop)

jeg gir deg en bror å hate

(og volden får du som en del av søskenskapet)


That which was sown in hate

(In a faraway land, once your homeland)

det er ikke plass til deg i bildet, sier jeg

du må gå selv, på dine bein

They can take it all but not these tears, they are yours,

Let them go, let them flow, it will do you good

jeg sleper rundt på alle føtters blod

det er derfor,

sier barnet

Let it wash away the pain, the anger,

Memories that these weary eyes hold,

Sleep my child, Good Night

nei, sier jeg

det kan ikke stemme

det må være noe annet


du bærer

When tomorrow comes, bring not the tears,

That which from sorrow stemmed

But for now

Rest awhile

kanskje et brustent hat

det kan du prøve å hele


May you find your home, in this homeland of ours

       May your goodness prove,

jeg ser barnet gå

med en klase

på ryggen

Those tears only a reminder

Of what you lost

And of what spurs you on

boka ligger åpen
To greater stories…now and forever

du har stjålet mine bånd,

skriker jeg til barnet

det er min hender du har der

ikke dine

May the music play in your honor

May there be a lavish feast

May we welcome you, in our midst

May you be one amongst us

May Peace be yours…and Ours

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26 responses to “NaPoWriMo :Day 5- A Norwegian Poem In My Words – The Eyes Tell A Story”

    • Thanks Sangbad😊. Yes…found it more interesting than the last few days actually. It was fun putting in your own words to the poem that kind of sounded like the original one but was far from the original. Must try it out again later.

  1. Wow! Your poem is really nice. But I am not sure I understand the challenge – you dont know Norwegian and you didnt use google translate but used the photo prompt and the poem format to pen this piece?

    • Thanks Dahlia😊. Yes I dont know Norwegian, we dont use Google translate and the picture and the poem are not related but you use the poem format to pen the poem and if you notice some words in the Norwegian poem like ” spruter” , I used the words sprouts and ” prove” is prove and “jeg” I used for tears. So rather than just write my own I allowed the Nowegian sounds of the poem to guide me. I’m glad you liked it.

  2. Brilliant job Smitha! I am truly amazed at your poem. Wonderfully penned! You won’t believe, I came across this pic too and thought of writing on it but then got hooked to another one 🙂

    • Seriously! Thank you so much. I am absolutely thrilled by your appreciation. Oh Oh…the more we talk, the more we find in common :). Imagine if you had taken this pic too out of the millions available. 🙂 I saw the pic you chose and read your poem too. As always great writing.

    • You have no idea how your comment has made me smile. My daughter’s wondering why I’m smiling so much. Thank you so much for the appreciation. Needed it before beginning today’s challenge. Ha ha yes, Norwegian wouldn’t be something that most people would learn:) The original poem, I checked the translation now has got to do with tears but is very different from the one I have written.

    • It was Pranitha. You guessed it right. I sat with it from noon till night. In between I even thought I was going crazy but it was worth the effort at the end. I read a fellow blogger’s poem who has also translated a Norwegian poem and now the alphabets and words sound so familiar. 🙂

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