Caisa Thorbjornsdotter

by Jana Bouma
Wild Poetry Forum
Honorable Mention, March 2007
Judged by Pascale Petit

I’ve known the small red farmhouse,
the dear blue curtains and the white china,
the husband behind the oxen on the rocky hillside,
the patch of oats beside the tall pines.
I’ve known the forest alive with skogsra and wight,
trolls and huldre-folk, the hymns in the small church.
I’ve known the wash day and the birthing day,
the son gone off to the city, the iron crosses,
each with its name, beside the small mounds.
I’ve known the long journey, sick with fever,
the crowded passage, the strange new city,
the setting out by lake and river and wagon,
arriving at this place that stretches on forever,
a land of nothing, no tomte or myling
to murmur in the night, no neighbor, no fencepost.
This land did not turn easy to the plow,
but I planted myself here among the tall grasses.
The grasses’ deep roots, they welcomed me.

*skogsra, wight, trolls, huldre-folk, tomte, myling: creatures in
Scandinavian folklore
Thorbjornsdotter: daughter of Thorbjorn