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Through the Forest


 

I have sometimes wanted to escape. To go away, without anyone seeing or knowing. 
As in childhood, when I crept under the blanket in the big bed and pretended to be a badger or a fox. 
Or sat quiet in the wardrobe and imagined that no one would ever find me, that I was lost forever, but existed all the same. 
So I have attempted at once to exist and not exist, which perhaps we all want, but which it seems very few of us are able to do. 
We want to exist, but without bearing the burden of existence, to be disembodied and carefree, 
to see, but remain unseen, to hear, but remain unheard, to fly with the wind and to pass through walls and rocks. 
Since we cannot do it ourselves, we have let the characters in fairy-tales exist nonexistently in this way.
Sometimes this does not help. Sometimes it is necessary to go. To the forest or the sea or even the shed loft or the old sauna. I go to 
the forest. 
But I also want to write. About all I do and see. 
I know that I shall return, my escape is a ritual, it is suicide in a doubly metaphorical sense. 
I put a small black notebook and ball-point pen in my jacket pocket. I think: I have two possibilities ˝ at the one extreme, to write 
about everything, which would mean I had no time for anything but writing (then, too, there would hardly be anything to write 
about), or to write about nothing at all, which offers possibilities of doing everything without hindrance. Writing gets in the way of 
living and walking. I must make a compromise. I walk and look: if I see something significant, then after a moment I stop and 
write.
I open the gate. The post is rotten and wobbles. There is no one in sight. Tiia and Elo-Mall are weeding the strawberry patch in the 
garden. 
I am on the road. The dandelions on the bank have flowered, and are waiting for the wind to make their parachute landings. 
Further down, by the bog, they are still flowering. Dandelions know their time wonderfully well. Perhaps they will inherit the 
earth. After us, and before the forest. 
I come to a bend in the road. There is a big birch tree around whose roots the earth is so parched that only thin grass and a couple 
of tiny pine trees grow there, and juniper, which goats ˝ elk ˝ hares attack in winter.
Across the corner of the meadow, I reach a cluster of birches. 
A blackcock starts into flight. I look back. A rooftop. The end of the woodshed. The flowers of the common lilac ending, the 
Hungarian lilac coming into bloom. 
Further away, beside the other road, Ott and Lemmit are playing badminton. 
Two swallows whirl above the meadow. Perhaps the same ones who have just begun to make a nest in the byre and pecked clay 
from the pond Lauris has dug in the garden. 
Beside the house, by the lilacs, stands an aerial, now turned toward the south. For the last half hour it has been showing Italian TV. 
Under the picture, in the right-hand corner, a little RAI. There was a film on. A woman died, a man escaped, running along the 
road, until he collapsed.
 
 
The forest receives me ˝ that, at least, can be said. Ground elder, hazelwort, hazel trees reaching up desperately toward the tops of 
the birches, which flee before them. 
A puddle swarming with mosquitoes. The earth dappled with flowering millet grass. Coppiced woodland. A young coppice on an 
old meadow. 
Raspberry canes, ferns, around large stones which were once rolled here from the meadow. 
Spruce scrub, which grows with certainty, as if knowing it will have the last laugh, that it has come to stay. 
Beside my foot, yellow archangel. Galeobdolon. The ground layer. The lower world, the underworld. 
Who lives in this underworld? I push aside the wood horsetail and the yellow archangel. Last yearÝs leaves, as yet unrotted. Little 
heaps of twigs, among which someone creeps, climbs, LIVES. 
Under them the greyish earth, the end result and the beginning of life. 
And on all sides the mosquitoes, the MOSQUITOES, which do not allow you to commune with this life. 
In the upper air, someone is singing. Perhaps a robin ˝ Erithacus. And now it flies down to an alder branch, flirts its tail and looks 
at me. 
But the mosquitoes are winning. The mosquitoes have won. I go on.
I duck beneath a fallen birch tree. The leaves are still green, but much of the bark is loose: it has fallen between two nearby alders. 
As I write this, I can smell the scent of the alder and the birch. 
Somewhere, a blackbird is singing. Its song harmonizes so well with the gloomy air. 
A line from Eliot, I think: ŰAnd wood thrush singing through the fog o my daughter ...Ý 
Strawberries, strawberries in flower. A maple, lost in the forest. The ground begins to rise. 
Here the wood horsetail holds sway. The woodrush has already flowered. The mosquitoes have found my traces in the air, and 
therefore also me. The mosquitoes dictate the form of my writing. 
The edge of the meadow. Heartsease. A single heartsease in flower. 
A couple of birch-stumps. Our language does not have a proper word for them, or we have forgotten it. I recall that in the Ostyak 
language there is a word that means a standing, dried-up birch-stump. Marsh titmice still sometimes make their nests in such 
birch-stumps. But in this stump only tinder fungus makes its home. A single butterfly larva has frozen still on the moss. 
A few blue and yellow blades of cow-wheat have come out of the shelter of the forest and into the meadow ˝ where they are like 
strangers from another world. 
And here are the speedwells. A carpet of blue speedwells. Like eyes. Like a glimpse into the distance. A glimpse full of distance or 
sky: what else is the sky but distance.
I am on a gritted road. It was rolled smooth once. But now, not properly, stones emerged, and now the road is full of pebbles. 
By the roadside willowherb, brushwood, rowan, alders. As if the forest were drawing curtains around itself to prevent strangers 
seeing in. 
Sometimes the curtain tears: crack willow stretched out along the ground and in the interior of the forest ˝ the chaotic colonnade of 
spruce-stumps ˝ is open to the gaze. 
Here the bank by the roadside is full of rough horsetail. Just like lattices ˝ prison bars. 
I want to explore this road more quickly. I do not want to meet anyone. In the countryside, in the forest, meeting another person is 
too overwhelming an experience, like an axe-blow that cuts the threads of thought and imagination, frightening you, so that you 
tumble out of the ivory tower of your poetic solitude, look at the oncomer, say ŰHelloÝ, but no sound comes from your parched 
throat, so you say something, answer a few questions, but feel that you are doing it as though from a great distance, through thick 
glass or water. No, it is not good to meet anyone on this road. I am now, finally, an escapee. I need solitude. The forest. For solitude 
is like the forest or the sea. Solitude is space, open space.
Where, then is the beginning of the path? The forest has already covered it, enveloped it with lace curtains. Cow parsley. Raspberry 
canes. Nettles. 
But finally I find it, all the same. I step through a clump of nettles. I am in the forest. No, a WiedemannÝs German dictionary might 
say, the forest and womenÝs arses belong to everyone. Not so. Each can look after itself. When necessary. 
What would I do if someone were suddenly to come and see me writing and ask what I am doing. Would I say that I was writing 
poetry? Hardly. It is so embarrassing ˝ writing poetry. Since my childhood, I have always written poetry in secret. And tried to 
write poetry as if I was not really writing poetry. Prose is a more serious matter, a prose-writer is a more serious and businesslike 
kind of person, he has a greater right to look other people in the eye. But even he does not really work, like a chauffeur or a painter 
or a printer or a plumber. Among the mass of humanity you are always rather suspect. It is different in the forest. The forest does 
not care who you are outside; here you are, in some way, one of us or a stranger. It is good in the forest. 
In fact, I want to do something ˝ something I do not know myself and others do not know, either, that I do it. 
I pull my hood over my head. On the right-hand side, by the path, is a crooked, mossy, thick-stemmed birch. Already long familiar 
to me. 
Beside the birch, an ash. Young and straight. There are few ashes in this forest; most of them are close to the farmsteads, where the 
wind carries seeds from garden ash trees. 
The path itself is already clearer, the nettles and plantains are behind me. Beneath my feet is sparse short grass, fallen leaves, thorns 
and heaps of twigs. I am in the real forest. Here I can no longer be seen from the road. Here I can be alone. Can be myself, or 
someone else ˝ it is all the same, here it does not make much difference. 
I would like to think a little. To find associations, metaphors. But the mosquitoes will not allow it. The mosquitoes keep you 
mercilessly in contact with the direct reality which, as a philosopher, you are unable to capture, which is usually called the present. 
No wonder, then, that our people did not produce speculative philosophers. We had mosquitoes.
 
By the path, a diminutive oak with leaves a span long. Then five fir trees, their trunks grown together. 
I am really writing a travel book. This time I could not go to Sweden; so I have come to this forest. 
One path turns to one side. To where, a little further off, there is in the midst of the forest the site of a cellar and a couple of 
half-parched bullaces ˝ all that is left of a farmstead. 
Where the path now is was once perhaps something more ˝ a road between farmsteads. 
Roads, too, have their own history and destiny. Some narrow, half-overgrown forest paths may once have been real roads leading 
to the mill, the manor or the post-road. Some paths have perhaps never been big, but are very old ˝ hundreds and hundreds of 
years: they connected the first farmsteads. 
But before people there were animals, and the paths of animals, along which it was easier to go than through the brushwood. In 
some places, animal paths became human paths, but the history of the animal path was lost in obscurity ˝ it could be thousands of 
years old. Even ant paths can remain the same for decades, even more than a century. 
The roads and paths of the age of the horse were modest: a farm cart did not need a wide, gritted road through this forest. Now, in 
the age of the tractor, roads are altogether more conspicuous ˝ like gashes in the forestÝs skin. They are marked by deep ruts, 
crushed saplings, lesions in the trunks of the roadside trees. 
Here someone has cleared a road, felled and cast aside a couple of alders whom the winter snow had weighed down across the 
road. The alders rot where they fell. 
The dandelion does not yet blossom here. In the open, its brothers and sisters have already flowered. Brothers and sisters! For it is 
monoecious, at once man and women. 
If only we, too were monoecious. We could let the gametes live their own lives, we would not be the slaves of our own sex cells!
The road goes downward. Ahead, in the middle of the road, is a rotten pile of brushwood on which thick moss has already grown. 
Someone has stepped on it. 
The road continues downward. A blossoming dandelion marks the beginning of the marsh. The road disappears. I turn right, onto 
another road.
A path on a bank by the edge of the marsh. On the ground, only aspen leaves and leafless thorns. Here and there some 
wood-sorrel. On the forest floor, bilberry bushes. 
A spider climbs up the half-written page. Like a character from some other alphabet. Perhaps it is!? 
On the ground, in all directions, young pines, which have not been able to rival the birches or alders for growth. They grew 
themselves to death, without reaching the light. 
It is as if I had written it with my own blood. The mosquitoes took the tribute. 
Suddenly I see, by the side of the path, skulls and jawbones. A fox? A racoon dog? A badger? Unfortunately I do not recognize the 
bones, although I ought to know them. 
This path, too, ends in the middle of the forest, among lilies of the valley. 
Somewhere above, rain falls.
I am high up on a ridge. A large juniper grows here. To see the crown, I have to crane my neck. The crown is still green. 
It is time to turn back. I go a little to one side. Close to where the skull lies, I find someoneÝs burrow, before the mouth of the 
burrow some scooped-out sand. 
But there are no signs of life. No animal tracks, only the marks of the rain in the sand. 
Perhaps it was, in fact, a badger path I came along? But they say that racoon dogs have driven out the badgers. In our district, too? 
This page is getting wet. I creep under a tree, here I can write. The mosquitoes no longer rise high, but swarm around the skull like 
a grey cloud. 
A wood warbler is singing. The rain made the grass on the path wet, and then stopped. 
Something is falling from above. Raindrops? Pine cones? 
I am back on my own tracks. Broken stalks, flattened grass. 
It was real rain. There are large raindrops on the leaves of the undergrowth.
 
Back on the road. A real forest road under the ancient trees. A couple of pine-trees have fallen across it. So now, it is no longer 
travelled. But it was once travelled: the ruts of cart wheels and perhaps tractor wheels can still be made out. 
On the left-hand side is primeval forest, on the right, on a bank, young pines and birches. A former field which, in the collective 
farm period, became brushwood, and the brushwood forest. 
I walk along the ridge. Below, in the valley, grow birches. I am level with their crowns. 
The rain falls on the letter c. 
Great stumps crisscrossed by the roadside and on the road. 
Violets ˝ bright flowers with no scent. I take a couple and put them in my notebook. 
The soles of my feet are wet, I slip on pine cones. I look up: a parched, forked pine. SomeoneÝs hoarse cry of warning. 
The sun came out for a moment. Shadows appeared on the page. 
The warning cry also comes from somewhere high above. There is something a little like a breaking twig, but it is not that. 
Creak ˝ creak, creak ˝ creak. 
A small oak, under it a handful of last yearÝs bleached leaves ˝ just the same colour as the skull.
A ride, toward the sun, which is behind cloud once more. 
Along the ride, the undulation of the landscape is clearly visible. The hillier land remain forest, the flatter became fields. 
A steep inclination. The road is as if cut by the bank. I look down into the valley. Dark stumps with a covering of wood sorrel. 
Everything is so peaceful. A robin is singing. 
By the roadside are fir cones. Extraordinary: I had not noticed them before. 
The mosquitoes: do they fly with me all the time, or do they change around? How far can a single mosquito fly? One should mark 
them and examine the matter. 
A clump of pine trees. The grey, timeless forest floor. Just thorns, pine cones, branches, a couple of recumbent tree trunks that the 
forest is gradually burying beneath litter and moss. 
Somewhere here lay a body which old Maali saw sometime in the 1950s somewhere in the forest, as he said. He went to the forest 
to pick berries and suddenly saw a dead woman, was badly frightened, ran home and said nothing to anyone. 
The vegetation becomes more luxuriant. The road disappears a couple of times. Under the trees is a lot of honeysuckle ˝ it is 
flowering. 
Pigs have been rootling there: there are snout- and hoofmarks to be seen.. 
I take a short-cut through the bushes and soon arrive back at the pigsÝ grubbing ground. 
A few years ago I saw, here, a nestful of black grouse chicks. The mother fled before me, feigning injury, the chicks scattered into 
the undergrowth. I did not allow the black grouse mother to lead me astray; I crouched down on the ground and looked for the 
chicks. I found a couple of them under some tussocks; when I stretched out my hand to grab hold of them, they fled, helping 
themselves with their stumpy wings. One ran across the palm of my hand ˝ soft, dappled and unbelievably light, like a childÝs 
breath. Its lightness was so marvellous that I still remember it. 
They, too, fled ˝ from you, a human being. Just as you yourself flee. From people, from yourself. 
Now a thrush chick struggles into flight from your path. Its wings carry it, but its tail is still short. It tries to land on a branch, but it 
does not succeed, it falls to into the grass and is lost from view. 
One more short-cut. On each side, proud honeysuckle and sweet white currants. Between the bushes nettles and ground elder. 
Tractor-wheel ruts. A pine that has fallen across the road has been cut into pieces and taken away, only the crown remains, between 
the tightly packed trees.
A cuckoo is singing. 
The sun comes out. 
Suddenly I am in a clearing. Cow parsley and herb bennet grow here. The scent of sun and summer, which is impossible to define. 
The scent is the most anonymous thing generally. We can say where it comes from and where it goes, but not what it is. 
Amid the brushwood and the nettles are a couple of upright charred timbers and haystack poles, also charred. 
I go there: in the shade of the nettles are the remains of a roof, half-burned wall-planks. Here was once a hay barn. The clearing 
used to be a hay field. Once we took shelter in the hay barn from the rain. We drew on the walls with coal ˝ I drew Chinese 
characters, Malle Estonian ornaments, and the children cars. 
Where did we get the coal? Yes, there was a fireplace. Fires had been lit there. No more. 
A crow calls out its name a couple of times and whirls toward the clearing. 
Moss has already started to grow on the charred timbers.
There has been digging here. The bank has been thrown up into a mound so that the bare shingle shows. Two or three openings 
where young trees are already growing. 
Gravel pits? Wartime gun emplacements? 
The road leads to the marsh. A couple more wood anemones, which elsewhere have already flowered. A marsh marigold. Elk 
tracks in the boggy ground, which is already squelching underfoot. 
Liverwort on the tussocks. Ditches on either side of the road. In the middle of the road a drying puddle, the ground around it 
covered in duckweed ˝ yes, this puddle has already been here for a long time. 
Between the tussocks, I catch sight of twayblades ˝ orchids, which have always pleased me with their greenish flowers and large, 
veined leaves. 
Here, the tractor-man has felled young birches and alders and thrown them crisscross over the road so that the marshy surface will 
carry better. 
A murmuring begins to sound. A rivulet. Perhaps the beginning of a river. A sodden log for crossing it; on the log, a dung-heap. 
Otter? Mink? 
Right in the middle of the flowing water is a tussock; on the tussock a meadow rue flowers. 
There is no rubbish to be seen. In the peaty deeps a couple of caddis fly climb; on the waterÝs surface glide magpie moths. 
Barbed wire has been drawn across the stream and along the side of the road. There was once a cattle run here. 
Overgrown with wood stitchwort, the road leads up to the bank once more. 
Hazelwort. A solitary dandelion. You linger to ponder how a dandelion seed floated here from somewhere on the edge of field or 
garden. 
Buckthorn. One large one and two small ones. They are flowering at this moment. 
A couple of sturdy aspens. A forked birch, fallen on its side. It has lived its life, now tinder fungus is living off it, in clusters.
 
The clearing and the hay barn once more ˝ this time whole. 
The former hay-field, now long unmown. Thick foggage, chest-high cow parsley. The forest begins its conquest from the edge, the 
alders first ˝ they grow from suckers. It is harder for the others ˝ the seedlings cannot push through the tall grass. 
Beside the hay barn lies a pile of freshly painted planks, scented in the sunlight. In the hay barn, on armfuls of hay, lie lumps of 
salt, which the animals must have licked in winter. 
Among the hay two jars, one empty, in the other a little fatty meat. The jars have an air of secrecy. They recall the Forest fellows, 
poachers. You look around: suddenly someone is following you, his finger on the trigger ... 
The planks must cover some opening ˝ was there a cellar there? 
But of course. On this spot a solitary apple tree still blossoms, and a great, lofty linden tree. Only stumps are left of the plum and 
cherry trees. The site of the house itself is covered in raspberry canes. 
Beside the linden tree is an old birch. The lowest branches of the linden have sunk to the ground. Some of them will, in time, 
become a new tree.
A high hill with solitary pine trees. Dry, sparsely grassed, smelling of resin. A small piece of a purer, brighter world here in this 
wearisome, humid exuberance. 
The road begins again on the other side of the clearing. 
A rotten gate has been cast to one side. Barbed wire on the ground. Otherwise you would not even notice you were stepping across 
a border which for some people was as strict and real as the strip of land and barbed wire on the beach at Sõrve or near Toolse. 
Here heifers were grazed. It has been said that some escaped from the area surrounded by barbed wire, lived free in the forest and 
ran wild. They could no longer be caught, and in the end huntsmen shot them dead like forest creatures. 
The barbed wire has grown into the tree trunks. The trees do not recover from it, the wound stays forever. 
The barbed wire grows into the trees, NOT ALLOWED, FORBIDDEN into the consciousness. 
Barbed wire, it is said, is necessary, absolute freedom does not exist. 
But who was it who thought up absolute freedom? Who has, at any time, demanded or wanted it? 
For one should not say that it is good that there is pain, when barbed wire grows into tree trunks and consciousnesses. 
The birch weeps sap, the spruce resin, the alder blood, we make poetry. 
Barbed wire rusts, the gate rots. 
The road runs through and over the pain. The pain is a signal.
A clearing. More dandelions. The road runs along the barbed wire. So do I. I do not know whether I am going in the right direction. 
The docks on the path take a deep breath before flowering, before they begin to grow their tall stems. 
Now I go through the marsh. Bulrushes grow here ˝ there must be underground water close by. There are bootmarks on the boggy 
road. This does not please me. I want to tread roads that I have not trodden and where human feet are not immediately seen. 
Dandelions in a hay field ˝ the flowers yellow, the seed heads white. 
The excited chatter of fieldfares in the alder thicket. The dandelion. The red-leaved ground elder. 
I peel the young shoot of some hedge mustard and eat it. It tastes good. The young stems of the warted bunias are also good. It was 
my grandfather who taught me to eat hedge mustard. I learned about the warted bunias from some botanists when I was on a field 
trip with them in northeast Estonia. 
By the roadside, a wild apple tree: someone once threw an apple-core away here. Just as in the forest near our house, where five 
little apple trees grow close together ˝ for an apple does indeed have five seed-chambers. 
At the foot of a spruce tree stands an antsÝ nest. The antsÝ path leads upward along the trunk ˝ they go there to cultivate aphids. 
On the ground, a box of Djubek ˝ a letter yet to be read. 
The forest must erase our writing. Even that which we once wrote on the wall of the now burned hay-barn. 
The forest does not accept us except through death, or something that is the same as death. Becoming another, abandoning signs ... 
One road more. It still cannot be the right one: the forest tricks us. It wants to erase everything we have left in it, all culture, to 
replace it with nature, which lives in a different time, which has a completely different kind of memory. 
It is only a logging path, with a couple of blocks of wood lying on it, which have escaped the attention of the loggers. 
Here an elk has torn the bark from a spruce tree. On the one hand an elk, on the other, barbed wire. Far above, a finch sings.
Look! The forest did not hide the roads completely, after all. The path winds through raspberry canes and brushwood. Another few 
dozen steps and I reach a hillock, the spruce-trees that have been planted there. 
Once this must have been a field, a strawberry slope. What a good influence the collective farm system had on the birches, the 
alders, the dandelions and the strawberries ˝ the first to occupy the uncultivated land. 
A she-goat starts up and flees with a rustle into the alder brushwood. 
Insects with long antennae (I am not sure whether they are some kind of bees or flies) circle above the slope, very close to the 
ground. Is their nest here (in which case they must be bees), or are they looking for something to eat? 
There is a moment to see what is and grows here. Milkwort. Mellick, which is now stretching out its flowers. Vetch. 
The wood warbler tinkles on this spot: silk-solk, silk-solk. 
I try to find a way through. It is quieter and more peaceful than before. the wind is quieter, perhaps the forest offers better shelter. 
The sky is growing clouds again. 
There is limestone gravel on the slope. How did it get there? 
I climb up to some alders, which are lying on the former road. A clear felling has been made here; the spruces remain, everything 
else has been felled to the ground.
 
I would like to fly. There are no thickets in the air. And you cannot leave tracks in the air. I am tired of this luxuriance, this ground 
elder, these nettles, these raspberries! 
To sandy ground, to stony ground. To moorland. Scrubland ˝ Saaremaa, Muhu. 
Here is a small river. In the water is a series of stones, so that one can cross it. On the other side, on a hillock, are a strawberry 
wood, sparse spruce trees and a cluster of birches. 
On the forest floor, beside the path, a solitary columbine, one flower already open.
The forest opens up, and the first thing I see is a purple lilac. 
The marsh stretches right up to the farmyard. There is a belt of sedge clumps. I go through a thicket of meadowsweet; the dry stems 
of last yearÝs plants snap under my feet. 
A white lilac protects the foundations of the house. The hay shed, where a fieldfare once made its nest, has collapsed; a few rotten 
splinters of planks are all that is left of the beehives. 
The cowhouse and the threshing room have also collapsed. The frame of an old buckboard crouches on the caved-in roof as if it 
had fallen down from the sky. 
By the wall lies a decaying cartwheel. The front door has been lifted off its hinges and placed over the well. How many small 
animals have drowned in that well? 
Beside the steps is an overturned cauldron, full of holes; on the steps dandelions, cow-parsley and nettles grow luxuriantly. 
Inside the house is a poetic, surreal confusion. The windows have been broken ˝ a year ago they were still whole ˝ and lie on the 
floor, along with rags, pieces of sewing patterns, rotting screws and clothes pegs. 
Here is still a crooked file with a handle, a chocolate-box lid, a piece of a felt boot and a couple of small bottles. 
Underpants, curtains, a cow hook ˝ this farmstead, too, stood in pasture-land, and the heifers pushed their way into the house to 
shelter from the rain. It is said that one once fell into the cellar. 
Broken, rusted tongs. The back of a wireless. A loom-end. A rusty sieve. A couple of oil lamps without glasses. A shoe. Two cans of 
food. 
A plywood valise and a horseÝs saddle have disintegrated on the range. 
In the corner of the kitchen is a larder. Here stand a small milk pail, a group of bottles and boots and shoes. I put a couple of the 
more interesting chemistÝs bottles and one one-third litre bottle in my pocket, and also take a glass decanter stopper ˝ perhaps it 
will fit the carafe without a cork at home. 
In the drying room are a couple of barrels. The kiln is still standing. In the middle of the earth floor is a cellar whose ceiling has 
fallen in ˝ other junk has also fallen into the cellar. 
The potato cellar (which the heifer fell into) is under the room. A trap door through the foundations leads to it. 
It is no longer easy to get under the drying barn ˝ but the flour chest, a motorcycle frame, a broken pitchfork and a scythe are still 
there. 
To the attic room I do not go. There, once, were double windows, a store of beehives and a chest with balls of rag strips and 
honeycomb frames.
A family of bees once came to the chest ˝ probably they were attracted by the smell of the honeycombs. I came here at night ˝ it was 
around midsummer, and the night was light ˝ I drove the bees into a swarming box and brought them home. I came a different, 
shorter way than this time. I also brought the chest home ˝ I drilled the wooden nails out, broke the chest down into planks, stuffed 
them lengthways into a large rucksack, took them away and reassembled them in an outbuilding at home. 
Someone had thrown the balls of rag strips through the attic window, surely the same person who had smashed the panes of the 
double windows. I think that there was more than one of them ˝ a solitary person does not generally do such damage. 
The garden linden tree has already stretched out its branches almost as far as the steps and against the roof. It has many flower 
buds. 
A redwing singing in the top of the linden tree flies to a spruce on the other side of the house and goes on singing there. 
It must be time to go. 
I go inside the house once more and take the valise with me. Inside the valise are a couple of butterflies' wings. Again these 
daylight emperor moths: they creep inside to take shelter from the winter and become booty for the mice, who eat away the 
sleeping body and leave the wings behind. 
From beyond the forest, the wind brings childrenÝs voices. From the other side echoes the distant rumble of a tractor. 
In the garden there is still a half dried-out cherry tree. Most of the flowers have flowered, and it looks as if there will also be some 
berries. 
At the edge of the garden dandelions and columbines gather. 
The first alders have already reached the first plum trees. 
I start back along my own tracks. Some overturned leaves. Ground elder. 
The sedge tussocks are crushed in places. Where I used them to jump over the watery places. 
There are many things the forest has to mend.
On the ground is something white ˝ no, it is not paper, it is birch bark. 
I think: poetry is walking somewhere. A poem, then, is a wandering. But you take the actual walk within yourself. If you do. You 
set off as one, you come back as another. If you do. 
I have spent half a day walking among the green. But I do not see the green, I am colour-blind. The green which I see is not green. If 
it were green, I would perhaps have more peace. 
Does my consciousness know what is green? Does it recognize green? I suppose I shall never know. 
Perhaps, indeed, my longing is a longing for a green which I cannot see, but which I should remember, which should be in my 
genes? 
Common lady's mantle. Alchemilla. Alchemical water among the lady's mantles. Flowers which are officially rosaceous, but to the 
untrained eye are difficult even to distinguish. 
A birch gall. By the roots, an armful of gnarled wood, as if it had for the time being forgotten where to grow and, so, grown far in 
every direction.
 
I turn to one side, into the sparser forest. Here are bilberry stems, while under the spruce trees the ground is full of May lilies. 
On a hillock stands a spruce-fir split by lightning. Pine splinters ten metres long, as if cut by an axe. 
I take one with me; it is light and arched, like a water drain. 
I go toward a little marsh–bilberries, sphagnum moss farther off. Somehow tranquil. Another couple of drops of rain. 
Actually, I have gone farther from myself. I have paid so little attention to myself, I have lived only outward, toward the forest, the 
bilberries and the pines. Now I am going home, and toward myself. Now I notice that my feet are wet and tired, my back sweaty, 
my face and neck bitten by mosquitoes. 
What are they doing at home? Is Italian TV still showing? Are they already eating? Have they been shopping? 
The billy-goat has scraped a patch on the road. The sand is showing – grey, clean sand. How is it able to grow those mighty sprces 
and pines? 
The strength of the earth has indeed gone into the trees. As a motherÝs health and strength goes into her children. 
Once again, the place where the house used to stand. The maple, lilac, and around the maple the ground is full of little maples. 
The marsh. Somewhere a trench or drain is blocked, and the water does not run away. A group of parched maples and between 
them, by the pool, bog arum grows luxuriantly. 
Two spruces are here, outstretched, their roots free of the ground; the hole left in the earth is already a black, watery bog. The 
marsh mounts its attack. 
The edge of the forest. A pile of large stones, by them knautia arvensis and, farther off, bracken. 
Here is the road. The sun is shining again. 
A whinchat is singing on the telephone line, farther off, in the bushes, a reed warbler. 
In the pond a lake frog is croaking, the green frog that lives in water. 
I walk across the meadow. The grass is no longer particularly wet. The mosquitoes stay close to the ground. 
A skylark is singing high above. 
The old road is overgrown, it hardly exists any longer. A hay truck has made a new road beside it. 
I reach the hill. In front of me I see the white willows and spruces. Then the slate roof. 
Here is home. Here I live. Here we live.
 

Translator: Hildi Hawkins

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