Sthephan G. Stephansson Poetry


You, Gudmundur, we wish a safe return
and lengthy fortune when you depart tonight.
You sorceror whose thoughts would blaze and burn
and kindled our transparent words with light.
Console yourself by knowing that when you leave
you've given something of your riches' measure.
– Being able to impart all that you have
of the spirit's gift is life's unequalled pleasure.

No one is paid from hope and wisdom's gold –
to know this but to quarry nonetheless
and feel that bounties still remain untold,
so is it, though we call it foolishness:
when all we own is loaded to be sent
to where death shares out the last testament,
we'd sooner choose the storyteller's post
than the greatest fortune the North can ever boast.

Written in 1916

Translated by Bernard Scudder.

The poet sent these verses to engineer Hjörtur Thórdarson in Chicago, [who] presented them to Gudmundur.

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