Up on Top

By Olav H. Hauge

Translated By Robert Bly Read the translator's notes

After stumbling a long time over impossible trails   
you are up on top.   
Hardship didn't crush you, you trod it   
down, climbed higher.

That's how you see it. After life has tossed you   
away, and you ended up on top   
like a one-legged wooden horse on a dump.   
Life is merciful, it blinds and provides illusions,   
and destiny takes on our burden:   
foolishness and arrogance become mountains and marshy places,   
hate and resentment become wounds from enemy arrows,   
and the doubt always with us becomes cold dry
rocky valleys.

You go in the door.   
The pot lies upside down in the hearth,   
it sprawls with hostile black feet.

Source: Poetry (April 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2008
 Olav H. Hauge


Olav H. Hauge (1908–1994) lived all his life in Ulvik, a village in the west of Norway on the Hardangerfjord. He translated many English and American writers into Norwegian.

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Poems by Olav H. Hauge

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POET’S REGION Scandinavia

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