Three Poems by Soffía Bjarnadóttir

Translated from the Icelandic by Meg Matich. 
This is part of our special feature, New Nordic Voices.


Time is time is time is
time vanished
into a tree.

One day, a branch reached
down from the sky.



Ripples in the bath. You sit
naked on the tub’s ledge, feet touch bottom,
blood drips from your nose, aquiline.

It figures a wave
over your lips, chin, neck, cuts a path
to your sternum.

A single red thread, unguided,
traces a path. Traces,
of what?



Watch the sky
crash into the sea

at the infinite falling
black stones

the world, floating.


Soffía Bjarnadóttir is an Icelandic novelist and poet born in Reykjavík 1975. Her first novel, Segulskekkja (Magnetic Declination) was published 2014 and translated into French, J ́ai toujours ton coeur avec moi, in 2016. Soffía holds Cand. mag. in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing and has also studied Theatre Studies. Her first poetry collection, Beinhvít skurn (Bone White Shell) was published in 2015. Her newest poetry collection, Ég er hér (I Am Here) is from 2017. In I Am Here she writes about the beauty and cruelty of love as a catalyst for transformation, – about time, death and rebirth.

Meg Matich is a Reykjavik-based translator-poet. She’s received numerous awards for her work as a translator from organizations like the Icelandic Literature Centre, PEN America, and the Fulbright Commission, and has translated poetry for UNESCO. Cold Moons (2017 Phoneme Media) is her first full-length translation of Tími kaldra mána by Magnús Sigurðsson. The work (EN/IS) has been ‘translated’ into a choral symphony by composer David R. Scott. Her translations have appeared or are forthcoming in places like The Boston Review, Gulf Coast, Asymptote, and Words Without Borders. She is currently editing and translating an anthology of 32 Icelandic poets for The Café Review’s Summer 2018 issue.


Published on April 17, 2018.


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