Walking in Torshavn


translation by Matthew Landrum

poem by Agnar Artúvertin


I went for a walk one summer evening,

tramping along familiar streets.

Step by step my crooked shadow

walked behind me, picking up where I’d left off.

I went for a walk one summer evening,

stalked by my lengthening, tumefied shadow.

He stepped when I did – harder – everything reeled –

so I turned into a pub for absolut(ion).



Translator’s note: The most difficult part of translating this poem was the final line. The original indicates that the speaker is stopping into the bar for consolation and hard liquor but a literal version doesn’t bring this across. Agnar and I batted different ideas around and finally settled on absolut(ion) as an imperfect, but readable (I hope) compromise.

Matthew Landrum