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Poetry

Patriotic Poem

Translated from Icelandic
The cold makes me / a lair from fear.

The cold makes me
a lair from fear
places a pillow of
downy drift
under my head
a blanket of snow
to swaddle me in

I’d lay my ear to
the cracking of the ice
in the hope of hearing it
retreat
if I didn’t know
I’d be frozen fast

The ice lets no one go

My country
a spread deathbed
my initials stitched
on the icy linen

“Ættjarðarljóð” © Gerdur Kristný. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Victoria Cribb. All rights reserved.

English Icelandic

The cold makes me
a lair from fear
places a pillow of
downy drift
under my head
a blanket of snow
to swaddle me in

I’d lay my ear to
the cracking of the ice
in the hope of hearing it
retreat
if I didn’t know
I’d be frozen fast

The ice lets no one go

My country
a spread deathbed
my initials stitched
on the icy linen

“Ættjarðarljóð” © Gerdur Kristný. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Victoria Cribb. All rights reserved.

Ættjarðarljóð

Kuldinn býr mér
híði úr kvíða
færir svæfil úr
dúnmjúkri drífu
undir höfuð mér
snjóbreiðan
voð að vefja um sig

Ég legði eyrun við
brestum í ísnum
í von um að
heyra hann hörfa
ef ég vissi ekki
að ég frysi föst
 

Ísinn sleppir engum

Landið mitt
útbreidd banasæng
nafn mitt saumað
í hélað ver