The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 9 no. 2


Tarjei Vesaas

Where the Fire Burned

Translated from the Norwegian by Roger Greenwald


Beside the long gray road:
the ashes of burned-out fires
and signs of departure
in dust and heat.

That’s all.
But the fire that burned
in the circle of wanderers
faded only from sight,
its longing unquenched.

They wandered for a dream,
could give without limit
and had to go farther, searching
and restless,
and the blaze keeps burning
on every horizon,
while new seekers dig in the ashes
and in the ground under the ashes,
and it’s the dream that is
the wanderer's reward.


From Through Naked Branches: Selected Poems of Tarjei Vesaas, translated and edited by Roger Greenwald (Princeton University Press, 2000). © 2000 by Roger Greenwald; all rights reserved.