Din overskrift

If you are looking for short, super-short or extra super-short poetry, please read the titles of my pictures. 

The following is a long epic story written in English to make the world outside aware of the treats to Sámi (Lapp) culture and homeland, in this case the hydro-electric dams in Sápmi, Northern Sweden: LULEJU

Din overskrift


a poem by Elle-Hánsa





            To five faithful friends of my people

         This dream is dedicated

         To celebrate their loving memory

         For generations to come:







Written at Laakese, Sápmi            26. - 30.12. 1977,

revised            01. - 07. 01. 1978.

and Tj áskil, Leavnnjas, "             09.07.  1978.


         What is more joyous

         more healthy and happy

         than a boisterous mountain-brook

         in the heartland of old SÁPMI. [1]

         fresh and free

         since the first Day of the Earth

         sane and sound, yes:

         what is more healing to the human soul

         when it is overtroubled

         coping with suffering and sorrow,

         than the cleansing song of a stream?

         And when it swells to a mighty river

         with shouts of joy and laughter

         jump fearless down the hills

         over stones and rocks

         spraying the happy herbs on its rim

         with a shower of sunblessed dew-drops,

         the waterfalls invite the strong salmon

         to challenge the stream's fall downwards

         with a mighty jump upwards,

         till it finds rest in a lake

         this most sacred spot of calm solitude,

         mating ground and cradle for many a creature

         playground and home for all the fry,

         parents love to see happy children

         make the lake their life's delight.

         The brook, once so small

         now proudly carries its living wealth

         to the next lake, then another,

         five in all, and between

         the mild murmur

         and rushing rustle of the river,

         a song of love for Creation!

         The Luleju [2] River and its lakes

         give birth and support many a being,

         a beautiful birch-forest

         soon adorn the banks.

         The animals of our ancient land

         found refuge and feed for life

         in the safe shelter of this forest,

         their thirsty tongues

         were quenched and comforted by its waters,

         the sacred springs of SÁPMI,

         the blood and life of our land.

         O my people, who season after season

         show such true gratitude

         in faithfully serving

         the balance and creative cyclus

         of a strong but sensitive land!

         A land full of fruits and riches

         for those wise enough to share.

         The wealth of our Sámi homeland

         is more edible and useful

         to creatures seeking for nourishment

         than is silver and golden power,

         because it is cared for

         in such a way that it reproduces itself

         by means of the secret Master-code

         hidden in the first germ-cell of the Universe.

         Never take more than you need

         and your children's children will bless you,

         because you have gained such enduring wisdom.

         M o r e  is the curse of modern times

         in those days, even in suffering, we could sing.

         yes. a love-song indeed was this bound to be,

         but damned! the devil is also here!

         Hush, my brook, not so loudly and free,

         don't let them hear your sanssouçi   !



         A foreigner, a king in another's kingdom

         walks on the old path by the lakes,

         steps aside it, stops, take notes and numbers.

         He is a field-officer from royal Stockholm

         where his masters have made him

         proud of his job:

         the use of advanced apparatus to measure

         the levels of lakes on maps and paper,

         so easy to handle those expensive tools

         almost like playing with children's toys,

         he smiles taking down another figure

         for the big industrial progress.

         The "wilderness" of "Lappland"

         have been found fit to pay

         for those who foot in the frontline

         of the World's greatest wonder since the sun:

         The Industrial Revolution and Progress,

         Electricity, Hydro-electric Power!

         The power of Nature, at last

         is under command of the mind of Man,

         man needs more light in his leisure, too,

         which politician dares deny that?

         The lakes in the "wilderness of Lappland"

         the potent falls of its rivers

         shall and must be dammed, and out

         of these five little lakes

         shall there come more:

         a   b i g   one.

         Another number in his notebook:

         at school he was the best in his class in accountancy.

         But what is this, we make him an evil,

         he   i s   not the devil. He is just one

         of the many who has got a job to do

         of which he in particular is even very proud.

         Though pride never understood the poor,        

         behind him are all the millions uninformed

         and all that money, he has

         just a promille [3] -part in it all,

         the responsibility is not his, therefore

         and who is to blame? The dam

         will and must be built,

         who can stop the Progress?

         Yes, who will stop it? and he does

         for a short while, and gazes in amazement

         at the sudden beauty of the landscape.

         Even if swift clouds, carried by the wind

                  in this day of destiny for this valley

         cast heavy shadows and hastily sweeps

                  the protesting waves of the lakes,

         and the rush of the leaves

                  in a sudden outburst of the gale

         blaming the stream for being so gay

                  to continue its song of a happy paradise

         when such a day as this has come ––––

                  the Sun suddenly strikes the Earth,

         powerful rays make clear its authumn-clothes,

                  the land wakes up with glistening colours

         so powerful like flames of fire!

                  quickly moves across the moor

         just like a warning, then it is over,

                  the shadows now sleep where the fire burned

         the red and yellow heather have turned into ashes.

                  But in the shadow of a raincloud

                  with the mysterious background

                  of lofty Áhkavárri-mountain

                  lifted over ashes and flames

                  millions of airy waterdrops

                  made by the sun into radiant diamonds,

                  the rainbow.

                                    God's own poem and promise to Creation:

                  Never will I punish Humanity again

                  like this, with a deadly, drowning water-flood!


         Unable to notice such inspiration

         unable to heed such wonderful warning

         the expert takes no numbers down;

         even though his tools are intricate

         with his advanced apparatus he can not

         come even near to the rainbow

         nor grasp it's treasured secrets.

         All he does is to put up an umbrella

         to shelter himself and his instruments

         from rain of the sky and rays of the sun.

         As he hurries back homewards

         to his portable, synthetic nylon-tent

         (the first to be used in Sweden)

         to get ready to leave for Stockholm

         never to come back, he hopes,

         he passes the siida [4]   of a Sámi family

         they are not in, not even a dog

         to stop him, if he would steal:

         the old-fashioned fishing-boat

         seems ready for a try on the lakes,

         a trip into the midnight sun

         "Oh what a wonderful life they live!" he says

         while we must go here toiling in worry –

         oh yes, I must remember to mail that letter

         telling them to prepare for the future!

         As he goes to bed with his trophy

         a reindeer-horn he found

         left alone without a head,

         he dreams of his wife and their children

         yet not born, if they shall have any at all.

         "I wonder if they will like

         my Lappland souvenir I'll bring

         the proud horn and antler

         of a real reindeer from Lappland!

         I'm sure they will, he says, almost sleeping.



         The old goahti, [5] shelter of many a trustful time

         of happiness-sharing between Sámi families,

         simple, but true as the mountains themselves

         welcomes its wandering people.

         Young and old alike  love the warmth

         that comes from the hearth of a goahti,

         listen to the thrilling tales and tremendous story

         of a tribe surviving in scanty arctic

         for more than ten thousand polar winters.

         With the very fire that gives warmth and light

         in the gloomy time of arctic night

         the Sámi people have survived

         together with it

         through the centuries that went and came.

         Sometimes the flame was almost extinguished

         but even the most feeble flame

         or the most humble and faint smoke

         told its story of a stubborn fighting glow

         deep inside the hearth of my people.

         With this little child inside our small body

         carried through the centuries

         we were able to keep close together

         families united in a Sámi siida,

         where parents are equal partners

         in carrying out responsibility for all,

         where the oldest and youngest were not isolated

         but willingly took their share of the work

         to tend and cultivate a heritage of traditions

         laws developed since olden ages

         to protect and care for a living land

         life to make others live.

         All over SÁPMI the faithful siidas

         were the very guarantee and security

         for the heritage and health

         of this part of our irreplaceable hemisphere.

         This little glow of simple love

         for the Creator and his work of art

         Creation and all its creatures,

         this spark of eternal joy

         carried us over

         the dangerous cracks of glaciers

         over the icy uproaring streams

         across the desolate desertlike plains

         or the death-sucking swamplands in between,

         in to the safety of a well-built goahti

         a turf-hut, a tent cleverly constructed

         cool in the heat of a summer day,

         warm and close and cosy in the frost of winter.

         The glowing sparks from the crackling fire

         run upwards through its open ceiling

         followed by the laughter from ancient folktales

         humour and wisdom so masterly combined,

         stars lifted high above the siida

         sent to be seen

         like they want to tell the world outside:

                  We are here

                  we survive,

                  the Sámi people of the North,

                  Come in and share

                  our happy hours

                  stay, they are so short,

                  before the burden

                  of daily duty

                  call us all to take our share

                  in caring for our Earth

                  and each other!



         Morning comes, awakened with the spirit of dawn

         the people prepare to continue their work,

         not just like a job, this is their life.

         Most of the siida-people

         go healthy and fit to the reindeer-flock

         to train a trek-animal

         or mark the clever calves

         that escaped the swift suohpan, [6] the lasso

         of the quickest herder

         since last time in the gárdi [7]

         where the mixed flocks now are gathered

         shouts and the constant run in a circle

         the flock demonstrate its freedom

         with sharp sounds of their sinews

         as they all run to escape the sharper eyes

         of the siida-isit, [8] the owner

         looking for his particular part.

         Suddenly a look leads into action

         fast as a flash he throws his suohpan

         ropes a silver-swift bull-to-be,

         it is stubborn, but at last

         they manage to hold it down

         while the sharp knife

         makes the necessary marks in its ears

         to separate it from the other beasts

         and make it a part of their eallu, [9] their life

         "better this" thinks the youngling

         as it relieved runs away,

         than being between the teeth of a wolf

         or caught in the claws of a mighty eagle

         or swallowed alone by a cleft between rocks.

         Here I am not alone".



         Now is the time when night begins

         to grow and compete with the day.

         One early morning in the mystic mood of twilight

         Siida-isit goes out of the goahti

         earlier than the others, for some reason,

         maybe he should repair the fish-nets now

         examining them carefully.

         He holds the well-worn net

         so neatly tied by trained hands,

         this net have brought us many a meal

         now its threads are broken

         and in the middle of a big gap,

         won't be winked at: But ho! What is that he sees:

         Through the hole of his net

         a dead fish is floating on top of the lake

         white side up as to show its innocence

         that this is no suicide,

         and around it a few leaves and a flower.

         The family father throws away the broken net

         and rushes to the rim of the lake

         but splashes in water before he reach it.

         So wet here, and it hasn't rained tonight,

         did it rain tonight, my son? No, says the son

         just arriving his home,

         proudly holding two ptarmigans up

         "at least I got  some in my giella, [10] my snare"

         he smiles as he goes in.

         He has been out watching all night

         the reindeer-herd for wolves,

         longs for a smiling meal.

         Not will that smile last long, thinks his father

         as he intend to send him as soon as possible

         to the far away village, to its office

         and ask some of the O at [11] there

         what the foreigners have done

         to our clean and pure food-chamber,

         what happened to the lake!

         Last time when they came from the mountains

         he couldn't see or feel anything strange

         except the usual sound of small waves

         talking the language of sleeping well.

         Maybe they were so tired after hard work

         of three days and nights out in the open,

         it was dark, the autumn is already in power.

         Now he is almost afraid of these signs

         will there be less of the smiling meals?

         Such signs, - the old people didn't tell about it,

         has he ever heard of dirty water and dead fish

         at the same time: some catastrophic accident

         among the beings in the bottom of the lake?

         He looks at the lake and the floating fish,

         so unnatural, then a hasty hawk comes to catch it

         but ere his claws touch the water surface

         it turns away and flies back to the mountain.

         Certainly something is rotten and wrong,

         he must look into it later, but now

         they shout from the goahti: get some food.

         He walks inside with slow, heavy steps,

         then as he smells the tempting scents

         of a well-prepared tasty meal of nature

         he reminds himself with a smile:

         "Well  this time the hawk won't have his meal,

         but I most certainly will!"



         Autumn-winter means much hard work;

         the reindeer-mothers with their calves

         must be kept aside from the rutting bulls,

         now is the time to milk and make cheese,

         after the meal the whole siida goes to work.

         On his way to the herd siidaisit thinks

         what might have happened to the lakes of his land,

         and will later, to the creatures in and around.

         Then he sees far away two strong reindeer-males

         with impressive big horns

         fight with each other head to head

         horn clatter against horn,

         two bulls are fiercely fighting for control

         and the respect of the females.

         Who will win her territory

         and proudly issue the mating call?

         Or will they both die this day of the fight

         because they are fighting each other?

         New worries have come into the heart

         of siidaisit, as he goes further.

         During the work, which he almost can do blindly

         he wonders what all those new signs mean.



         While all the adults have gone to the mountain

         even some of the children follow them,

         the oldest áhkku, [12] too weak for their work

         yet what a wealth of wisdom in her eyes

         to support and strengthen the hearts

         of hopeful broods yet unhatched,

         she sits outside her tent

         watching the youngest have fun.

         while some fine handwork keep her fingers busy.

         Through the laughter and shouts of the children

         she remembers her days of the past

         and nights keeping watch over the herd

         on the white mountain-plateau, the duottar [13]

         high above the forest line, orda [14]

         with nothing else to keep her company

         than the stars, sometimes the moon

         lighting so softly the resting herd

         even the dogs sound asleep on the snow,

         what a thrill in her body

         as she could witness such solitude

         and the ghostlike guovsahasat, [15] the northern lights

         pursuing itself in a flight for rest

         would send waves of mystical wonder

         shiver as an echo in her soul.

         She would pray them not to touch her.

         Then on the sound of a wolf she would shout back

         to keep the fear away with a howl

         and when that just made many howls appear

         she would yoik a luohti [16] with gentler sounds

         if the beasts might have a hearing heart

         it would certainly appeal to it:_

         Do not take from our little flock,

         it is the only we have for life!

         She would remember a happy person in another siida

         and yoik his luohti, this person

         later became her husband.

         Now he is dead, and she sings his song, his luohti

         silently for herself

         can almost see and feel his presence,

         those wise, old eyes blessing her age.

         The children love her too,

         they are busy with games they love to play.

         But unlike certain games in this world

         theirs have a purpose, a natural plan.

         their game is a training for adult activities.

         They test their skill

         in catching each other while running

         with the suohpan, the lasso rope.

         They play as children who aim to grow

         not like some  who plays for pleasure of playing

         whether he is a child or not.

         The dominating materialism of modern society

         produce people who never learnt in childhood

         that all, even play  have a purpose to serve.

         Therefore all they do nowadays

         becomes less than children's play

         in their official adult society.        

         Nature and nature's creatures, its people

         become like toys in their hand.

         Their running the world

         is a threat to its security and survival,

         they're like a gang of rascals

         disobeying their Father

         playing with paper, pistols and puppets

          an infantile struggle, a game of power

         of who's the strongest

         in a world where people need peace!



         Áhkku, áhkku ! shouts from afar,

         the grandson is returning from the village:

         a letter has come, a letter from the capital!

         As he breathless gives it to áhkku

         she says jokingly to him:

         This is certainly not for you or me,

         no love-letter is this!

         No, says the boy, it is from Stockholm,

         from the Royal Hydroelectric Department,-

         almost proud of his pronunciation,

         what does it say?

         No, answers áhkku, we must wait

         till father comes home, it's for him.

         As they all come home from the mountain

         the shocking script gathers the whole siida

         like was it a religious meeting.

         With difficulty they get through its foreign language

         but its intention is clear enough

         like thunderclash from an awesome lightening flash:

                  We have to move, disappear

                  the rivers are dammed,

                  the lake will grow bigger

                  overflow it's banks.

         "Move your homes further up a bit,

         prepare for the future!"

         In the letter is stated

         that this is the second warning,

         but the first letter

         was never received, did it disappear?

         The expert only knows.

         Mii fertet jávkat, [17] we disappear, asks áhkku,

         but what about them, the children?

         The father can give no answer,

         he has to ask the river, our lake.

         Now he understands the dead fish

         and all the dirt on its level.

         Will they kill all the fish,

         our future, our children?



         What happens to a child

         if in rage you punish and beat it

         even if it is innocent of your guilt?

         You cause physical pain, and worse

         it becomes a victim of psychic terror,

         words that you have invented for yourself,

         mental disturbances

         hardly ever to achieve balance any more.

         Cut off a finger, cut off a foot,

         will there come a new one?

         Like this you turn off for life

         Nature's creative progress.

         They have amputed me, my land,

         our lifegiving rivers

         meant to fill the needs

         of coming generations

         have now to feed the robots, the generators!

         This is done to my body, my land

         to our own dearest mother!

         They even ask and expect us to forget

         the crimes and injustices that have passed.

         But how can you forget an amputed arm

         if that was the one you brought  or food

         to your hungry children with?

         A distant but disturbed childhood

         can not be pushed aside with words ,

         the need for an arm will always be there

         because it is not where it should be.

         An official annihilation of the right to live

         for us, whose destiny, like that of all

         is unavoidable death, but even that has its timing.

         We do not have an infinity of time to take from.

         While you enjoy in self-conceited security

         what you hold for a lasting happiness

         the amputated body is back with all the problems.

         It won't take long, shall this continue

         before the last Sámi looks himself in the eyes

         in the mirror of a doomed lake

         that swallowed his people, and now wants him, too.

         More, more, isn't that the word?



         A shadow has been cast over the siida

         like a mighty curse sways its hearths.

         Asked to move they can't realize the truth,

         but the dam doesn't wait for them

         and water grows and flow into the goahti.

         In painful resignation they take out what they can

         another site has to be found,

         but there is no other lake they have.  (lake once friend, now enemy)

         So a new goahti is built

         quickly but with quality and skill.

         It is good that our homes

         in this shadowful world

         are moveable and easy to build,

         not like the palaces of foreign kings

         where once built only a war can remove them.

         Much care goes into the work,

         this will be the home for the whole family

         where young and old and all between

         respect each other's individuality.

         In a goahti even the dog is welcome