When a stone

Foto: Alf Øystein Støtvig


By Gro Dahle (translated by Erik Skuggevik and Deborah Dawkin)



What comes first?

Where does it start?

When does a move begin?

A thought? A word? A voice?


What sets it in motion?

When does a stone begin to roll?

What starts the launch of an avalanche?

Or the fall of a tree? The growth of an onion?

A sprouting potato? A grain in the ground? A seed?


Has the stone been going forever?

A thing underway? A traveller born?

When does a stone begin to lean?

When does it start to tip, to slip?

Where is that point when beginnings begin?

Is it now,

has it always been?


When might a people start to move?

Where might society start to turn?

When might a world begin to tip?

Does it sit in a thought or a word?

Does it lie in body or time?

When do we open ourselves to change?

When do thoughts begin to roll?

Words begin their forward flow?

Where does that change begin?


When does a mountain start to shift?

A step at a time and then quicker?

Where does that motion start?


Where does that motion end?

Does it never end?

Holding, carrying, lifting?

Burgeoning forth?

Kneading, folding. Kneading and folding.

Swelling in every direction.

Digging. Sowing. Planting.

Walk onwards, tip change into being.

Onions, potatoes, seeds in the earth,

roll the stones, budge the mountain,

shift the hill,

push heave push.


And then we roll!

We’re rolling!



Forfatternesklimaaksjon.no has during the last year collaborated with Free Word and Weather Stations. Now we are about to enlarge our partnership. In the weeks to come we will present translations of five Norwegian poems from our homepage at the Free Words website under the banner «On the Road to Paris». The Norwegian Association of Literary Translators and NORLA – Norwegian Literature Abroad – have supported the translations. You can read more about the collaboration between Free Word and NWCC here. This week we proudly present Gro Dahles poem WHEN A STONE, translated from the Norwegian by Erik Skuggevik and Deborah Dawkin.


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