Sigbjørn Obstfelder – a poet of images.

When it comes to poetry, I’m quite fond of it. It’s nice when something as simply as words can combine to such meaningful creations, and also not only define our world, but create its own definition of it. Norway is a country of many talented poets, among others – Sigbjørn Obstfelder, a poet from 19th century.

If you have read my latest post about Norwegian poems Bunch of Norwegian poems. you came across this poet already, with poem Rugen skjælver. Those are other works of him, as good as the foregoing one.

Han Saar

Og dagen den gaar med. latter og,


og døden han saar i natten saa


Døden han saar.

Han gaar og saar,

saar og gaar –

rædde roser, blege tulipaner,

Sorte violer og syge hyazinther,


Han gaar og saar,

saar og saar –

blege smil, bange taarer,

sorte kvaler og syge laengsler,


Dagen den gaar med latter og sang.

Døden han saar i natten saa lang.

Døden han saar.


He Sows

And the day it goes with laugh-

ter and song,

And Death, he sows in the night

so long,

Death, he sows.

He goes and sows,

Sows and sows –

Timid roses, pallid tulips,

Darksome violets and sickly hyacinths,


He goes and sows,

Sows and sows –

Pallid smiles, anxious tears,

Darksome torments and ailing desires,


The day it goes with laughter and song,

Death, he sows in the night so long,

Death, he sows.



Stans dit spil

Stans dit spil!

Sti toner,

Sti, du nattens underlige musik,

saa ordene kan klinge,

kan dryppe som gift

bort fra min sjæl.

Thi jeg laenges efter intet et lide.

Stans dit spil

du natur, som hvaelver dig

taust over vaesenernes skjaebner.

Jeg vil lytte til ordet i mig

og finde det sande.

Snart vil morgenen komme

med sin vidunderlige sol,

og sit bankende liv,

– da vil ordene dø paa min laeber

Derfor nat,

man dem frem,

disse dansende ord, disse døende ord.

Paa din sorte grund skal mine ord flamme.

Cease thy play

Be mute, song-notes,

Be mute, thou wondrous music

of night,

so the words can ring out,

can trickle like poison

forth from my soul.

For I yearn to be delivered from suffering.

Cease thy play,

thou nature, who uprearest thee

mutely above mortal destinies.

I will hearken to the word within me

and find what is true.

Soon will the morning be here

with its wonderful sun,

and its throbbing life,

– then will the words die upon my lips.

Therefore night,

lure them forth,

these dancing words, these dying words,

Upon thy black ground shall my words




Møllens vinger stanser sin


aaen speiler nattens øie,

blomsternes laeber ydmygt beder,

traernes kroner hvisker, hvisker.

Presterne taender de blege kjerter,

nonnerne nynner de fromme bønner,

børnene folder de spinkle haender,

svanerne skjuler sit naeb under vingen.

Snart skal de sove, alle de


hvile hodet mygt paa puden,

glemme de graa, sørgmordige tanker,

slumre, sove, drømme, sove

Ude i blaaet svaever en kvinde,

Herrens moder, Maria, Maria

lukker sjaelenes øine kjaerlig,

traeder jordvuggens gjaenger varlig.


Wings of the mill abate their


The brooklet mirrors the eye

of evening.

Lips of the blossoms are humbly pleading,

Tops of the trees whisper, whisper.

Priests are kindling the pallid tapers,

Nuns are muttering pious prayers,

Children are clasping their tiny fingers,

Swans are hiding beaks under pinions.

Soon shall they slumber, all that are


Meekly rest their heads on the pillow,

Forget the thoughts that are gray and mournful,

Sleep and slumber, dream and slumber.

Out in the azure hovers a woman,

The Lord, His mother, Maria, Maria,

Lovingly eyes of souls she closes,

Tenderly sets earth’s cradle rocking.

Obstfelder.jpg (159×198)

More about Sigbjørn Obstfelder:

Poems from the norwegian of Sigbjørn Obstfelder, Oxford, Blackwell, 1920: online book

Hope you guys liked those three poems. Up here is the link to the full book containing those poems. Have a nice week!

Author: againorway

a dreamer trying to make a living in Norway

One thought on “Sigbjørn Obstfelder – a poet of images.”

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