Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume One, December 2020.
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.
Translation from Norwegian by Kenneth Steven.
How much before death has sorrow begun?
Will death from now on be the eye I see my life with?
When death came, I crept into bed and lay down beside the child
I got the last warmth – I stole it for comfort
Of death one only can say that it exists
for it was born at the same moment as the child
Must believe in heaven after the child’s birth, for where else was it before it came
Must believe in heaven after the child’s death, for where else would it be when it left
Your death is not my death. I cannot fathom it
One tiny hand completely alone, she waves, that hand
You will be in the living
With the living, I correct myself
In the end I open my mouth, call, I call, come home
Sorrow answers: I have lived, existed
Am loved Pain will be cut into ribbons of remembering, become thinner, it must be this way
but my motherhood stands over death’s own borders
Hvor lenge før døden har sorgen startet?
Vil døden fra nå av, bli øyet jeg skal se livet med?
Da barnet døde, krøp jeg opp i senga og la meg ved siden av
den siste varmen fikk jeg, stjal jeg, som trøst
Om døden kan man bare si at den er til
for den ble født samtidig med barnet
Måtte tro på himmelen etter barnet fødtes, hvor skulle det ellers vært før det kom
Måtte tro på himmelen etter barnet døde, hvor skulle det ellers være da det dro
Din død er ikke min. Jeg klarer ikke fatte det
En liten hånd helt alene, hun vinker, hånden
Du vil være i de levende
Hos de levende, retter jeg
Til slutt prøver jeg min egen munn, rop, roper jeg, kom hjem
Sorgen svarer: jeg har levd, jeg var til
Smerten skal klippes opp til minnestrenger, bli tynnere, kreves det
men mitt moderskap står over dødens grense
© Ingrid Storholmen