October Evening on Karl Johan

After a long summer hiatus from me, I’m back with a translation of Nordahl Grieg’s Oktoberaften på Karl Johan. The poem comes from his 1925 collection Stene i Strømmen (Stones in the Stream).

October Evening on Karl Johan

From the Norwegian of Nordahl Grieg


Dizzy my red heart, as down I come

from Slottsparken’s rain grey mist into

the street fantasy.

Dazzling arc lights a hundred white moons

stiff in flight in the space here

above Karl Johan.


Rain sinks streetward

the shine back of the lights

tram lamps stripe wet trees.

Dazzling the letters over the darkness

spelling F R E I A

tigers fanning out in the autumn evening.


Phosphorescence dark & sizzling

the fire of youth crawls along the cold coast

of buildings —

The air charged with mockery, light without cease.



here our street,

the pining dodging night,

where swirling heart, & fire light burns,

where nerves get played to death, singing violins

pain & it’s own cheering because of

our continuation.