Dear little squirrel, can you hear me, do you understand what I
say when I talk to you, can you feel me lifting you,
as we cross the yard together in order to bury you in
the ditch where the soil is soft and black, do you hear the
insects, the breath of wind, do you think; what is eternity?
What does eternity mean? Maybe the fleeting shadow
when a plane passes, the sluggish rain. Can you perceive that
I’m thinking about you, about how you no longer exist, that
you no longer exist among all the others; you were unique, like
we all are unique. I for example believe I am a father,
believe I am a son.

Translation of "En telefonsamtale." Copyright Rune Christiansen. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Agnes Scott Langeland. All rights reserved.

Kjære lille ekorn, kan du høre meg, forstår du hva jeg
sier når jeg snakker til deg, kjenner du at jeg løfter
deg, at vi sammen krysser plassen for å begrave deg i
grøften der jorden er myk og svart, hører du insek-
tene, vindpustet, tenker du; hva er evigheten? Hva
betyr den, evigheten? Kanskje den hastige skyggen
når et fly passerer, det langsomme regnet. Merker du
at jeg tenker på deg, tenker at du ikke fins, at du ikke
fins i alle de andre; du var den eneste, slik vi alle er
den eneste. Jeg f. eks. tror jeg far, tror jeg er sønn.

Rune ChristiansenRune Christiansen

Rune Christiansen was born in 1963 and made his literary debut in 1986 with Where the Train leaves the Sea. Since then he has written six critically acclaimed novels. In 1996 he was awarded the Halldis Moren Vesaas’ Prize. Other prizes and awards he has received include the Association for Language Unity’s Prize for Literature in 1998, the highly renowned Dobloug Prize in 2003, and the Oslo Prize for the Best Novel in 2007 for his latest novel Fraværet av musikk  (The Absence of Music).

photo: Egil Haraldsen

Translated from NorwegianNorwegian by Agnes Scott LangelandAgnes Scott Langeland

Born in Scotland, Agnes Scott Langeland has resided in Norway since 1971. As a translator, she has mainly focused on contemporary Norwegian literature and culture. Previous translations include poems by Rune Christiansen in The Edinburgh Review and Petter Mejlænder's book Pushwagner (Magikon, 2008). She is currently a lecturer in the English language at the University of Agder.