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Black Sky / Hús eru aldrei ein

Black Sky / Hús eru aldrei ein
Aðalsteinn Ásberg Sigurðsson
English translations

Poems by Aðalsteinn Ásberg Sigurðsson and photographs by Nökkvi Elíasson. Translations of poems by Bernard Scudder and the author.

About the book:

This book is the revised and expanded second edition of the book Eyðibýli / Deserted Farms from 2004. Now as then, the book does not aim to be an exhaustive overview of abandoned farms in Iceland, but an effort has been made to represent all regions of the country. Considerable changes have been made to this new edition, and a number of new photographs and poems have been added. Rather then printing two seperated volumes in English and Icelandic, this edition is a single dual-language one.

From Black Sky:

Houses are never alone

Houses are never alone.
Inside them, phantoms wander
step up on the threshold
stumble on worn staircases
stride the nine-foot floor
with a walking stick
and staring eyes.

Houses are never alone.
Suspicion creeps up on them
the past is concealed in them
a mind that reaches
half-way through the dusk
without recalling, still recalling
too much for comfort.

Houses are never alone
when all is said and done.


The girl dreamt long corridors
full of sunshine that glittered
on the polished linoleum.
In the same dream a septet
playing dance music and a hall
full of sailors in boots who all seemed
to know a swift-paced English waltz.

When she woke up she was alone
in the house late in summer and felt
a biting pain in her chest
as if the music had pierced her heart.

The dream didn't visit her again
and she was bound to leave the house
before her days were over.
There was nothing to regret
no long corridors, polished linoleum
or dancing sailors wearing boots.
The murmur of the ocean more frigid than usual.

The way home

The way home doesn't lie
along a pitted road
over a vanished bridge
or a broken barred gate.

The way home lies unhesitatingly
towards warm memories
under a hay-green roof
behind the wavy glass
through the buzzing of a fly
that can tell that you
are already on the track.

Black sky

Black sky and a mountain
peak over a deep valley.

Events vanish into oblivion
instants between life and death.

The moon advancing by an inch
time is wearing on.


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