Inspiration for poetry

Hraundrangi in Drangafjall, seen from Öxnárdalur, Eyjafjörður, northern Iceland:


Click to enlarge

Jónas Hallgrímsson, one of Iceland’s greatest Romantic poets, wrote about this place:

Þar sem háir hólar
hálfan dalinn fylla,
þar sem hamrahilla
hlær við skini sólar
árla fyrir óttu
enn þá meðan nóttu
grundin góða ber
græn í faðmi sér. . .

Which translates (without rhymes):

Where the high hillocks
half-fill the valley
where the rocky ledge
grins against the sunlight
´twixt midnight and morn
while the good green earth
still carries the night
in its arms…

Here is a less literal but rhyming translation


You never know what you will come across on the walls of Reykjavík

I hesitate to call this graffiti, but whatever it is, I love it. It doesn’t hurt that the verse is by my favourite poet, Tómas Guðmundsson:

2013-04-08 16

Click to enlarge

My attempt at a translation:

By the edge of the dock the town has fallen into a trance,

and lowly hovels are turned into heavenly temples.

And overhead the northern lights perform an all-night dance

in naked glory across the roadless sky.

From Tunglskinsnætur by Tómas Guðmundsson (1901-1983)

Wisdom of the ages


“Know if you have a friend,
whom you trust well
and wish for his goodwill,
then keep company with him,
exchange gifts with him,
visit him often.”

From “Hávamál” (included in Snorri’s Edda)