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We Fill the Widest Nights

August 20, 2000|Tarjei Vesaas

How slippery the mountain of glass:

an iridescent mountain in the evening,

a glittering mountain of wholeness,

in the mysterious nights

down at its foot

where we are.

Here where everything is whole

you can't stay long,

made as you are by halves, of hybrid stuff,

human with weakness

--here there is no understanding.

But something inside you says: I want to.

Says again, incredibly: I want to.

We are countless,

we who want to stay here.

Who want to

in spite of everything we do.

We fill the widest nights.

And our tiny iridescent particles

are fused into a luminous mist

lying just above the ground

--beside the great mountain

where there is no understanding.

*

TRANSLATED FROM THE NORWEGIAN BY ROGER GREENWALD

From "Through Naked Branches" by Tarjei Vesaas (Princeton University Press: 150 pp., $35)

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