poetry in action #25 | From and when the light comes it will be fantastic by Kristin Berget translated by Kathleen Maris Paltrineri


poetry in action features work by poets from around the world, translated into English.

It has three rallying cries:

Poets of the world, unite and take over!

Resist the oppressive constraints of good, publishable poetry established by mainstream literary venues!

Only poetry in translation, all the time!

Coming at you on the 20th of each month.






and when the light comes it will be fantastic

by Kristin Berget

translated from the Norwegian by Kathleen Maris Paltrineri











is it right to step on this very soil
let the ash cool under your feet













will the birds still fly two and two and
be an omen of dismal days and dismal nights













will we whisper prayers over the dry sand
not knowing if anyone will answer













is it right to demand an answer from the soil
do minerals build the body heal(s) the wounds













will we bow to this assertion
will we bow to this truth













will we bow to this policy
will we bow to this god













if the night trickles into our blood
the iron darkens and hardens












will we then let this happen
will we then let this happen














will we give thanks for the grace all grace all food
is it right to seek advice is it right to be bewildered













is it right to think are we sleepwalking again
shouldn’t we be awake when we’re searching














is it right that our love dyes the soil red














er det riktig å trå på akkurat denne jorda
la asken kjølne under føttene











skal fuglene fortsatt fly opp to og to og
varsle om arme dager om arme netter












skal vi hviske bønner over den tørre sanda
og ikke vite om noen svarer












er det riktig å avkreve jorda et svar
bygger mineralene kroppen leger sårene












skal vi bøye oss for dette utsagnet
skal vi bøye oss for denne sannheten












skal vi bøye oss for denne politikken
skal vi bøye oss for denne guden











dersom natten siprer inn i blodet vårt
mørkner og hardner jernet













skal vi da la dette skje
skal vi da la dette skje












skal vi takke for nåden all nåde all mat
er det riktig å søke råd er det riktig å være rådvill












er det riktig å tenke går vi i søvne igjen
må vi ikke være våkne når vi leter












er det riktig at vår kjærlighet farger jorda rød











Kristin Berget made her debut in 2007 with the collection of poems loosing louise. She has since published five poetry collections as well as the novel Sonja Sacre Coeur. She has been nominated for many literary awards, including The Brage Prize in 2017 for the collection and when the light comes it will be fantastic. In 2012, she received the Tanum’s Women’s Scholarship, and in 2014 she was awarded the Stig Sæterbakken Memorial Prize. Berget’s poetry has been translated into several languages. and when the light comes it will be fantastic is her first collection translated into English.


Kathleen Maris Paltrineri is a poet and translator from Iowa. She is the recipient of a 2021-2022 Fulbright Fellowship to edit and translate an anthology of contemporary ecopoetry from Norway. Her translation of Kristin Berget’s poetry has been supported by a University of Iowa Stanley International Research Fellowship and is forthcoming in Guernica. Paltrineri’s own poetry has received support from Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a Jentel Artist Residency Fellowship, and has recently appeared in Bennington Review, CALYX, and jubilat.


poetry in action is an Action Books blog feature curated and edited by Katherine M. Hedeen (@kmhedeen) with web editing by Paul Cunningham.

November 26th, 2021|
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