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Olof Andersson's Rune

read by the author

I, Olof Erik Andersson,
Cut my name in this blank sand-stone
And set it in the house’s root
Deep in the wall by the chimney-foot.

Back of the stone in a jam-jar
I roll my song, for no one’s ear
Except my own while I survive —
And that’s not long, as I believe.

Vi har oss själva, annars ingenting.

This is my story, I tell it plain
As I’ll not pass by here again:
We came from the lake, the tracks rough,
The horses dying — camped at  a bluff

By the big river, and then at last
We shot the horses, ate them, paced
A hundred miles to build our house
Against this hill smoothed by the ice.

My wife — eight years she shared my pillow —
Was quick, merry, thin as a willow.
I hated my sons and, as they went,
Laughed at their backs and never spent

One thought on them, nor they on me —
Gold-lovers, crooks, their fingers sly.
My daughter first, and then my wife
— I cut their marks with this very knife —

Died early. Thirty years alone,
But happy enough as I chip my stone.
The crickets are loud tonight as they sing:
Vi har oss själva, annars ingenting.

When any man dig out this song
I shall be neither right nor wrong;
I shall be dead, my bones among —
I, Olof Erik Andersson,
Son of my father, father to none.