The hunter's lullaby

A poem from Dan Andersson's collection of poems Black Ballads (1917), published three years before his tragic death.

Our fire is red like the evening that burned
behind the wavy ked of Domberget,
red as moose blood that ran steaming
in the sand at Hautana heath.
We dream and the dream is hot and red,
is the dream of leashes and panting distress,
is the crash and rattle of scraping horns
and bangs that sing of a dead.
A moose calf came running from Västmora nor
and got mercy and had to run again,
but in the darkness of the funeral home his mother was killed,
three miles we have run for it!
We slaughtered happily at Stormyrens skär,
after the drive endlessly long,
and meat we have roasted at the rice fire there
and sleep on the spruce on the bottom of the rocky valley,
drowsed by the song of the forests:

"Go to sleep, go to sleep, rest your sinewy legs!
Dream flesh, dream blood, dream death!
We have old, old ancestors from throwing spears and stone,
we are great, strong hunters and killing is our bread."

And in the dream we span
muscles of steel,
and we grit our teeth one by one!

Our necks stretch rigidly,
our nails dig holes,
next to the fire, the red one,
and the night is so late!

Quiet, squat! Put your back into it!
Throw your lance safely!
Little savage in your bloody dream!
Drill your knife into the bone,
and in the red glow of the blood
you shall reflect - reflect -
so shiny will never be
your axe of stone!

You shall dance the dance of all the hunters,
since you chewed on your liver,
and mourned your blood!

With your belly full of animal blood
you shall lie with your woman,
that will feed you little hunters
if happiness is good to you.

Small hunters who kill,
out of fear and for pleasure,
for the stomach and for the female
themselves and each other.

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