"After the Work Is Done"
At Hart's Farm, there is always time
to play after the work is done.
In spring, when the heavy rain
turns the snow into deep mud,
people huddle around the hearth
and play hnefatafl on wooden boards
with an ivory king and amber courtiers
and enemies made of black pebbles.
In summer, the fine weather
brings everyone outside for varpa,
throwing heavy weights down a course
marked with slender wands for scoring.
In autumn, they nail reindeer antlers
to posts and try to lasso them,
strong young men and women
laughing as they encourage each other.
In winter, the snow returns
and people dress warmly before
running outside to play wasaloppet,
a race run with teams of four
each sharing a single pair of skis.
The games teach teamwork
as much as competition,
building ties that continue
through the seasons of the year.
* * *
Swedish games include hnefatafl, varpa, Sami lassoing, and wasaloppet.