“from Deretter” by Endre Ruset

Endre Ruset


                   After a veil of rain,
               butterflies rise from
       the ground.  She runs with my
       blow                               n kiss, but its
      moi                                           sture in the
      air                                                    drifts     a
   part.                                  W           here  autumn
      sm          ould                                           ers paper
                                                                            aeroplanes fly
            out                                                     of a bonfire’s white
            ashes.              We gasp             for breath and stamp
      at the clouds                                        try to step on their faces
    like treading after                            plastic bags, run halting
   ly, before we release                    them and grab each other. 
These days I think we’ll             stick to each other like fire
   until we go out. How mo    bile phones go out. How a
      blown kiss goes out.             The way the light around us goes
   out. Until we run around     and around in the dark searching
for the switch marked              Spring at the back
               of our minds.
Translated from the Norwegian by Harry Man

from Rattle #77, Fall 2022
Tribute to Translation


Endre Ruset lives in Molde, Norway. He has written six collections of poetry, including both elegies and poems after the veteran Japanese ski jumper Noriaki Kasai. His latest collection Deretter (Thereafter) was a Dagblaget Book of the Year 2021. (web) | Harry Man: “On the 22nd of July, 2011, two attacks took place in Norway, the first a bombing in the Government Quarter of Oslo that killed eight and injured a further 209, followed by a mass shooting, the worst in European history. An extreme right-wing terrorist armed with a hunting rifle, a pistol, and jerry cans filled with diesel took a ferry to the remote island of Utøya where a summer camp was taking place. There they opened fire on children, teenagers, organisers, and volunteers, killing 69 people. The senselessness of the attacks shook Norway and Europe to its core. For the past five years I’ve been working with the Norwegian poet Endre Ruset to translate his poems. These are poems that not only commemorate, but that also look to ask deeper questions about the enduring effects of such tragedies on survivors, the bereaved, local communities, and how this ongoing process of PTSD treatment, grief counselling, taking part in studies, workshops, group and physical therapy for so many is profoundly a form of second survival.” (web)

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