Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Smultronstället"

This poem was inspired by the Swedish word-a-day on Facebook.  It also fills the "private moment" square on my second card for the Cottoncandy Bingo fest.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  This poem belongs to the series Hart's Farm, and you can read more about that on the Serial Poetry page.


(n.) lit. "place of wild strawberries;"
a special place discovered, treasured,
returned to for solace and relaxation;
a personal idyll free from stress or sadness.

Thorsten was the first to notice
when a certain south-facing hill
turned sweet with wild strawberries.
He had gone off to think by himself for a while,
because even on Hart's Farm it was not easy
to grow from a boy into a man.
The small red treasures were just what he needed
to lift his spirits a little.

Ola took a leisurely hike up the hill
to remember what it had been like
to be a little girl and gorge on wild strawberries
until her fingers turned pink and tummy could hold no more.
She looked down on the farm busy with early summer work
and smiled to see how much it had grown.

Auduna left her daughter Dagny with Arnvid
just for an hour or so, rucked up her skirts
and waded through the grass,
looking and looking for the little red berries.
It was good to take some time
for the silence of her own mind, away
from the baby's cries and the business of mothering.

Hrafn climbed the slope with a steady pace
and found a place to sit down
between bunches of strawberry leaves.
He looked out toward the horizon,
far as his eyes could see,
not bounded by lines on a page for once.
His fingers found the small round berries
without looking.

Inge found a place where birds had been pecking
and rolled in the berries until the soft spheres
mashed all over her, leaving her bare skin
spotted with pink and smelling of fruit.
She took out her watercolors and paper
to paint the hillside red and green,
dotted with the white flowers of berries to come.

Birgitta was just learning to forage on her own,
old enough to go about the farm
without holding someone's hand all the time,
young enough to consider it an adventure still.
She pinkened her fingers picking berries,
some to eat and some to fill the little wicker basket
for everyone to enjoy at suppertime.

There were all manner of places on the farm
where people worked together,
even other berry-laden hills to be picked in teams,
but this was the smultronstället
to be cherished in solitude.

Tags: community, cyberfunded creativity, family skills, food, nature, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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