Parallel English and Norwegian text.
Hans Børli (1918-89) was born and lived in the wooded country of Hedmark in south eastern Norway. His days seem to have been divided into two separate parts: by day, he lived the physically demanding life of a lumberjack, but by night, he turned poet and spent the still, dark hours writing. His days, however, were an enactment of his poetry. Børli’s verse is alive with his experiences of the Norwegian forests – with the moods of sky and water, with the creatures that moved in air and woodland, and with the trees themselves. In a series of books beginning in 1945, he wrote more than eleven hundred poems. They form a poetic record of a life reminiscent in spirit, if not in form, of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
While his work is characteristically related to his Hedmark habitat and personal experience, a number of Hans Børli’s poems show that he is by no means remote from the varied human experiences of his times. This collection can only suggest the scope and richness of the poet’s life-in-verse, but it includes many of his most admired poems. Sometimes lonely or even mystical, the finest of these poems bite deep like the blow of an axe.