Ingrid Storholmen – Siri

Profile Ingrid Storholmen LE Poetry & Writing May 2018

Download PDF Here

Siri, poems by Ingrid Storholmen

Translation from Norwegian by Marietta Maddrell

Ingrid Storholmen was born in Verdal, Norway, on 22 May 1976. She studied literature at the University of Bergen, and spent one year at a creative writing school. She was the literature editor of Morgenbladet, a culture newspaper in Norway. For five years, she was the writer-in-residence at ‘Adrianstua’, a writer’s house in Trondheim. She started the Trondheim International Literature Festival during her stay there, and also founded the literary magazine LUJ with two colleagues. She has published six books: The Law of the Poacher (2001, Shamespeesch); Graceland (2005); Siri’s Book (2007); Voices from Chernobyl (2009); To Praise Love (2011) published by Aschehoug in Oslo, Norway. Here Lies Tirpitz (2014).

She has received many literary awards and prizes for her work, and her poetry has been translated into eighteen languages. Voices from Chernobyl bagged the Sult Prize 2010, and was shortlisted for the 2009 Critics’ Prize, the 2009 Brage Award and the 2009 Youth Critics’ Prize, the Sult award, and she was nominated to the world largest literary award for a single work published in English, the IMPAC Dublin Literary award, for “The Voices of Chernobyl”. Twice she has a three year long scholarship from the state of Norway, now she has got a five year scholarship from the Norwegian Writers union, and she has been reading at poetry festivals all over the world from Slovenia to India.

Siri Olsdatter was born in a croft in Verdal in 1800 and died in 1870. She was one of Ingrid Storholmen’s ancestors

Relationship comes from the language
Each word is related
This glance we have together

SiriHillside, steep up to the house
Open from within
Sun is the biggest word I know
Sun and Siri!

Now I look like someone who comes from a fairy tale
This is my calf, I am the one who is going to look after him
find a name, the white
spot on her forehead, Pearl? Yes, that’s your name, I’ll take
good care of you, Pearl
In the forest, you have to look out for the bear, there’s one
that goes up the mountainside here, auntie said
A killer bear. I should have had a silver bullet and shot him
She hit me, Mum, Guri did at school
As long as I can keep going without getting scared
Stretching out my arm
In the dark, can’t see my fingers, stretching out my arm in
the dark
It’s the dark that is the room
My room to be in
Do you own your rhythm, horse, walking with cleavage?
Foot before foot in the swamp sinks
A shoe rings against rock – soon you can rest in the barn

I know about you because you exist in
To inherit is surely to inherit an expectation
In stories, in genes
And in the name of an overgrown
meadow near a chalet
If I wait, the thought emerges with you
I take this word and let it become her
I lie down over Siri, akin

SiriEach day
a little strength
in the word strength a strength spread over the ground, a
landscape with sparrows
Spore in the word green as a meadow, do you run faster, you
will fall, I run, fall down into clover, one, two, three, four leaves, then
I’m saved
Wrapped around me, the air, against my stomach. I’m
running, look, be praised you happiest of suns
I look at a mountain, can I go inside?
In the sitting room, a firebrand on the floor, my sheepskin, I
lay me beside you in faith
Not my noises, these
It is the wind wind over the plain here, it is green and I am
swifter than the wind in my feet
Wind, be my wind over the hill and down
The cold from the earth against my cheek
So warm in church dress, I am thirsty and the priest has only
just got started
Without water we die
Mors tua, mors Christi, fraus mundi
Gloria coeli et dolor inferni sunt meditanda tibi
It is written on the wall of the church. Gloria coeli! In fine
letters tibi
Father once said it’s about death
That we should think about death and the sufferings of hell
The cows want to be milked and fed
Standing, bellowing heavy and ready, and I am ready enough,
must help Mother
I sleep in a bed with squares
A mirror in water and water in a mirror in rings in breath in
The veins in my forehead stand out in my skin, want to break
Imagine if I reach the age of twenty, I won’t die, I will have
vaccine, a word
as lovely as a name Hansine
Look how the light flickers as the tallow burns up, soot
spreading over a cheek
that sat too close to it.
Hardworking hours in the open air, Sunday with thoughts
Mother in word a mother is peace is space
In light in sun in work, sing
the men rest while we cook
Tytti trytti trong!
Under the fur coverlet, fall into sleep which isn’t restful

Of what happens in a family, hardly
anything is visible
Over time the incomprehensible
unfolds its own architecture
And we turn away from what we might
have understood

SiriWolf hours
Shiver so long it’s the way to be warm
We don’t talk, Mother
It’s good then I don’t have to lie, think what isn’t right
The priest talks, speaks my name, I am not
I sit down
An insect, a louse, creeps in hair down the neck
It has restlessness in it
Fingers make marks in flour: I have been here               my pretty
In sheepskin and blue help oneself quietly alone in a corner
Turn oneself in straw-sound
the sound is awake
warms up my bed with me
The calf looked at me, and I stood ready with the pail, must
not spill any
of the blood
Hard fingers
I think of meat
brown cooked meat
you porridge is meat
is strength is meat
I should have gone out to the loo, but it is so dark
breathes ice
A small white bed of snow
I have made for you
The river shoves ice together
In the morning large floes lie transparently on the broad place
For an eye to look into
Are they angry at me, the children?
A titmouse pecks seed from a trunk
How warm my legs get going uphill
If I go further inside
my face in the centre of a collar
be a friend and not a complaint
One hobbles on two feet when one hurts

Can a mirror hate a face? Or the face
the mirror?
I see the features I think of as mine
See a mother’s feature, her mother’s
feature and hers
They want with their slowness to show
the mirror image
what it looks like
I scrutinise my face so carefully
That I do not see it changing

SiriThose who trespass against us
We do not speak when we look
at each other ear
Your right mine Mother
red wool
on the sock, remains
on the spinning wheel
Linen bleaches outdoors
until the Gypsy comes
with a knife!
Wait for yourself, Siri
The knucklebones suddenly first
remember caresses, the hands
tell each other about them
not the fingers in the mouth
But the children is not going to an orphanage
said Napoleon, said Father
We cough at the same time, I and my brother, I am really a bit
more ill than he is
It pierces the chest, who will die first, wonder who Mother
will not give up
Cross mark, protect me
In the centre of life is death
In the centre of the district is the churchyard
And this I know
The swallow who cannot fly, only awaits the fox
My eye is quite calm
when the priest reads aloud about Jerusalem
it is a long way there
Perhaps it is my turn next
Are you thinking about it again now
You can tell by the way Auntie walks that someone has died
Margit has decorated the bed with a pattern of flowers, her
tiny son
lies whiter than linen
everyone has to look at him

© Ingrid Storholmen