TRANSLATION – Poetry by Magnús Sigurðsson from Cold Moons (Tími kaldra mána)

Translation from the Icelandic by Meg Matich

In the Apricot Orchard

Ten years have passed
since our
last meeting.

And now I see:
all the night´s darkness
cannot extinguish

the sparks of fireflies.

 

Í Aprikósugarðinum

Tíu ár eru liðin
frá okkar
síðasta fundi. 

Og nú sé ég
að jafnvel náttmyrkrið allt
slekkur ekki

neista eldflugunnar.

 

 

Ice

You are still half
submerged
in my thoughts.

Like a berg
that has
broken from
an ice shelf

and rolled
into a grey
and cold
glacial sea.

You refuse
to melt
completely.

 

 

Ís

Þú marar enn
í hálfu kafi
í huga mér. 

Eins og jaki
sem hefur
brotnað frá
íshellunni

og veltist nú
í gráu
og köldu
jökulhafi.

Þú neitar
að bráðna
til fulls.

 

 

KIMG_0762

Photo by Lieselot Simoen

 

 

Cold moons

The month
of the wild
rice plant
is passed.

This morning
glittered on the first
frost rose.

Now begins
the time
of cold moons.

 

 

Kaldir mánar

Máni villtu
hrísplöntunnar
er liðinn.

Í morgun
glitraði á fyrstu
hrímrósina.

Í hönd
fer tími
kaldra mána.

 

 

Blackbirds

Yesterday evening,
we strew grain
over the garden.

That night,
the first
winter snowfall.

This morning,
the blackbirds
wrote poems
in the snow.

 

 

Svartprestir

Í gærkvöldi
stráðum við maltkorni
yfir garðinn.

Í nótt fell
fyrsti vetrar-
snjórinn.

Í morgun
ortu svartþrestirnir
ljóð sinn.

 

 

Poetry

Now the poems
seem to come
one after another.

That can only mean one thing:

autumn
has arrived.

 

 

Ljóð

Nú verða ljóðin til
hvert á
fætur öðru.

Það pýðir aðeins eitt:

Það er tekið
að hausta.

 

 

Magnús Sigurðsson (b. 1984) is an Icelandic poet and translator. His debut was a translation of Ezra Pound’s The Pisan Cantos into Icelandic, published by the University of Iceland Press (2007). The translation was awarded the Student Service Scholarship and the Landsbanki Bank Stipend. Sigurðsson’s first book of poems, Fiðrildi, mynta og spörfuglar Lesbíu (2008), received the Tómas Guðmundsson Poetry Prize. In 2013, Sigurðsson received the prestigious Jón úr Vör Poetry Prize. The poem, “Tunglsljós”, later appeared in Sigurðsson third book of poems, Tími kaldra mána (2013). Sigurðsson’s translations include a collection of poems by the Norwegian Tor Ulven, Steingerð vængjapör (2012), and a Spanish translation from the Icelandic, together with Laía Argüelles Folch, of Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir’s seminal book of poems, La cabeza de la mujer (2011). This fall, Sigurðsson released a fourth book of poems, Krummafótur, and a book of translations, Bláar hýsintur, a collection of poems by Adelaide Crapsey, a forgotten pioneer of American modernism.

— 

Meg Matich is an NYC-based poet, translator, and aspiring polyglot, who has work published in or forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press, Architrave Press, OVS Magazine, Drunken Boat, among others. She has received grants and fellowships from Columbia University, the DAAD, and the Banff International Literary Translation Centre, and participated in Festival Neue Literatur, assisted with Columbia University’s Word for Word program, and, most recently, participated in a workshop at the Goethe-Institut with author Jenny Erpenbeck.

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