Extract 4 from Her, by Christine Kjellstrøm Melby


Her — Extract 4

you stand for a long time in front of the mirror in the hallway
searching for remains of the summer
in your freckles which disappeared in the autumn
instead a fern of blue-green blood vessels
over your whole body


Ho — Utdrag 4

du står lenge framfor speglen i gangen
leitar etter restar av sommaren
i freknene dine som forsvann i haust
i staden eit ormegras av blågrøne blodårer
over heile kroppen din


  1. The verb "å stå" ("to stand") is used quite flexibly in Norwegian, and is often best translated to something like "to wait" or "to pause". Here, though, I feel that the direct translation best reflects the original.

  2. One could also translate "gangen" to "the corridor" or "the hall", but "the hallway" is more everyday than "the hall", which better reflects the tone of the original, whilst a "hallway" feels slightly more appropriate than "corridor" in the context of the lines: the presence of the mirror, and so on.

  3. The verb "leitar" could be translated either with the simple present ("search") or the present continuous ("searching"), but I feel that the energy of the latter is more faithful to the original.

  4. One might translate "i staden" to "in their place", but "instead" is more faithful to the original syntactically, and its concision works well rhythmically.

  5. Literally, "ormegras" could be rendered "snakegrass", but, though evocative, it is in fact a standard term for "fern" in Norwegian, and a simple translation to the latter serves the poetry best here, I feel.

  6. One could translate "blodårer" to "veins", but I feel that the more literal translation to "blood vessels" is preferable rhythmically here, as well as being syntactically close to the original.


See Extract 1 for notes on the work «Ho» ("Her") from which the extract comes.

Extract 4 is from page 30 of my edition, the twenty-sixth page of the poem itself. It is only the first five lines of the poem on that page.

Translated on the 5th of January 2023.

Last updated: 23:19 (GMT+1), 5th January 2023