Hymns of the Skier (Hiihtãjãn virsiã,1900)




The night comes, the sun dies.
The shroud of the dusk dims the eyes.
In the swamps of the wilderness
the will o’ the wisp kindles.

All alone I sit in my dwelling,
my friends shy away from me,
but in the odd estranged dreaming
is my spirit’s jubilee.

Who is there? Who is in the grove moving?
Who is there a white veil swaying?
Image white rolls and glitters,
flash of features I know so well.

My thoughts frozen still, startled,
the shroud of dusk covers my eyes.



Way too long I stared the fire,
burning logs that needed poking.
I was burning with desire,
dreaming of my dark-haired darling.

Glowing coals an image painted,
brought back memories elated,
summer birds soared in the sky
summer days swinging sky-high.
Cheeks were glowing, mouth was smiling, –
the eyes for another longing.

I roved lands and I roved swamps,
I roved vast, endless wilderness,
wilderness hides a bluish smoke,
under smoke a dwelling remote.
At her loom a virgin sitting
golden fabric weaving,
clattering pearls in the fabric.

For whom is the golden fabric?
»The gift for the bride of the forest.
To whom is the bride, breast like marten?
»The backwoods skier will get his maiden.

Not too long should the forsaken souls
stare at the fire, poke flaming coals,
tears fill the eyes, poor soul starts to sob
head between hands, fighting the tears,
throat’s rattling filling the ears,
the chest and the heart start to throb.



The strain of the years, ever increasing pain,
and sad dreams grow sadder with nostalgic strain,
they burn, they glow and they hold me tight.
Every evening I dream that tomorrow new
will sooth me, my turmoil subdue!
At dawn old sorrows return after endless night.

They come again as if this was their home,
they bring their new friends to my home to roam,
their names in my memory faintest.
Yesterday’s sorrow, so painfully lashing
feels now sweet when today’s sorrows are smashing –
that biggest of sorrows, when comes the biggest?

You almighty ruler, when will you come near,
You, my highest pain and biggest fear.
Since my childhood for you I was waiting,
sleepless at nights, trembling in  bed.
In your eyes I saw an accusing thread
f I ever was happiness searching.

In front of you, facing you I want to kneel,
look you in the eyes, tell you how I feel:
take back my life that to me you gave,
but my young spirit I’ll not give, never!
In its pain it strikes its fire, forever,
I will take it with me to my grave!



Who happy is, his happiness should hide,
who treasure has, should find a hiding-place,
to no-one else his happiness confide,
its joys and richness all alone embrace.

The gaze of others ruins the happiness,
who happy is should go to wilderness
and accept silent, silent loneliness,
and all alone enjoy his happiness.



I was young and in happiness believed,
sweet dark eyes and their promises.
My sanity, myself deluded
in hazy dreams and misty reveries.

Old notes I relearned, new songs created,
old songs I tried to recall.
I had a dream of the summer and waited –
waking up, it was already fall.

Ah, dark eyes, I don’t you accuse
that I lost my sanity!
You cried and were singing the blues
in sympathy, with pity
when my spirit’s last bits and chips
were killed by smiling red lips.



Along the fields of the Death I was walking,
the Death was plowing and I was crying.

The Death called: “Come-on man, I need a farm-hand!
You get boards for your casket, a piece of land.”

I will be your farm-hand, I replied,
the Afterlife, for sure, looks after its child.

From then on the fields of the Death I have plowed –
The weeks pass, life’s moments covered in shroud.

My friend is far and my heart a frozen clot –
O Lord, when do I reach the end of my plot?



I would like to discuss sometime
with those children of the sunshine,
joyous children of the village,
children of benevolent vintage,
those who have the spirit, the glow,
from their mouth the words smoothly flow,
their pens like a sparkle flying,
soaring like a bird is their singing.

To those children I would like say:
It is easy sweet music to play
in the middle of a vineyard,
in the shine of the daylight star,
among the flowers of the spring.

Something else is the poems to sing,
holy Sunday fires to light,
shrieking snow-banks to fight,
in the land of mighty frost.

If you managed to melt an inch
the frost took back without a flinch.


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