In moose time

In moose time
Photo: Hilding Mickelsson / Hälsingland Museum (CC BY-NC)

A poem from Fridolin's Songs and Other Poems (1898) dedicated to the moose, "a first-born in the kingdom of the wild".

He comes every night to a sea reef;
from the cottage one has seen where he grazes,
the mighty beast, who with sweat and vexation
I vainly spend the day looking.

Now all the land sleeps in the full moon's bloom,
but my lust is burning.
By the ditch, where the lush willow grows,
I wait in windless silence.

Then he steps out of his autumnal castle
between spruces and blood-red aspens.
He strides solemnly and calmly like a queen,
and the crown of the branches breaks.

So peaceful in the rocking stream of moonlight
he wanders among grain-rich snows,
fantastic, bizarre like a vision in a dream,
like a ghost of the forest resar.

And here, on his farm, for more than one animal
he sees me, yes more than my like:
a prouder son of Queen Nature,
a firstborn in the kingdom of the wilderness.

It comes up short, my hunter's blood.
I cannot control my weakness,
I do not send my killing plumb
in this moonlit bringa.

Such a prize must not be won by deceit.
I sneak away through the rice.
Tomorrow we start our game again,
...in the old way.

Then we play clean. You have nice legs,
and honest advantage you gained;
if I can catch you over rock and hard place,
...I think the moonlight mood has gone.

And do I bring against thy firm bow
to rest the trembling grain,
the shoot shall sing around the moor and the forest,
and with joy I will blow the horn.

And proudly I want to count each forehead's tag
that you wore in splendor without lying
and bring home the dew of the roosters
in the evening my first prey.

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