Hardangervidda

                                      Hardangervidda

Open my treasure trove,
look back and rove,
find a name that made me shiver,
Hardangervidda.
It sounded to me
wide, high and icy.
So it proved to be.
A tumbled mountain mass
glows greyly in my glass.
I turn a key,
and there it is,
our summer in Scandinavia.

We stood on a bend,
half way down a mountain,
looked up and saw,
for a moment,
a sunshine shaft,
through drifts of cloud,
make a glacier glint.

He taught Classical guitar,
the Swedish man,
who drove us in his car
down looping roads
to the wooden town of Bergen.
Said it was beautiful there,
but it always rains.
It was possible to wear out
four umbrellas in one year.
That made us laugh.
I unlock a memory of a merry tear.
He wished us well, drove off,
and left us there.
Bergen was dry that day,
warm in July sunshine.
To our surprise,
we found Henrik Ibsen’s house.
So we went in,
looked at his desk and books.
And on the Hardanger Fiord shore,
we found the house of Edvard Grieg,
where he wrote Peer Gynt,
among other works,
so for a while we were
In The Hall Of The Mountain King.

We sailed on the fiord in a boat,
and felt we were truly there,
on the west coast of Norway.
You said the mountains made you feel hemmed in.
I open my treasure trove,
and go back to then,
to remember how an end can begin.
And as we sailed further on and deeper in,
I thought, from here long ships sailed out
to voyage the North Sea.
They thought the world was flat then.
If you journeyed far enough,
you would find the edge and fall off,
and keep falling, into nothing.
That is how brave they were,
to sail out, not knowing
where they were going.
When we disembarked,
we walked through a forest.
Climbing steep slopes,
among firs, we saw a moose,
decided we liked him.
We fed on bread and blue berries,
felt like we were bears.
The ground still cold,
hardly thawed from winter,
we lay in our tent,
near a rippling lake.
This I remember for our sake.
At the name, I still shiver,
Hardangervidda.

Out of the trees, clear of the lake,
we met some Germans in a minibus.
They were young, like us.
We could have gone with them
to the north of Lapland,
to see the reindeer herds,
but we did not have the time
or the snow shoes.

 

 

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