has hidden itself on the back side of the moon.
And the moon, you know,
has captured rotation.
Doesn't turn its back to anyone.
Fine fellow like that.
har gjemt seg på baksida av månen.
Og månen, vet du,
har bunden rotasjon.
Snur ikke ryggen til noen.
Kjekk kar sånn.
The standard translation of "baksida av månen" would be the "the far side of the moon", but "back side" is obviously essential here.
There are a few possible ways to refer to the concept of "bunden rotasjon" in English, for instance tidal locking, but "captured rotation" is closest to the Norwegian term; indeed the latter was originally probably translated from this English term.
It is fortunate that "turning one's back to someone" has the same double meaning in English as "snur ryggen til noen" has in Norwegian!
There is a choice to be made between "back on" and "back to", but I feel that the two meanings of the line are more equally weighted with "back to", and thus that the latter best brings out the line's duality.
How to translate the final "sånn", vital to the wit of the poem, is the trickiest point, as single words such as "thus", which sometimes can be used for "sånn", do not work here. "In that way" is one possibility, but I have chosen "like that" for its greater abruptness/concision, bringing it closer to the pithiness of the original.
The poem is originally from «Noen skritt unna» ("Some steps away") from 1980, which can be viewed at the Norwegian National Library's site: «Diktet ditt» is on page 23 of the original text (24-25 of the online text). It also appears in the collection «De store strendenes samtale» ("The great shores' conversation"), which can be viewed at the same site: «Diktet ditt» is on page 76 of the original text (78-79 of the online text).
Last updated: 08:58 (GMT+2), 24th May 2022