WHAT IS A folkekjær poet? It is a poet who will be read and cited, that magically get the hearts to beat faster and the mind to increase their insight into the mysteries of existence. That reminds you that life is short, and death always only a snap with the eyes away. A folkekjær poet leaves behind lines that put words on the incomprehensible. On the beauty of life and the lack of grace. That is being quoted by the leg and scholar, high and low, young and old, as protection against the meaningless and the comfort to the one who stands with his back against the wall in life’s mazes. With such poets around him are not alone.

HANS BØRLI IS such a poet. He was called “the poet”. The designation snorted him when I visited him in the home at Skotterud an ice-cold barfrostdag just before christmas in 1984. “ It is typical that, in this country, that one should put people in arkivskuff. So turn up on the S and find, aha, there we have ‘the forest poet’. It sounds so søtladent. The background I have in the woods, is anything but romantic. It is full of hverdagsslit.

the POET Eidsskog can not be put on formula. Even in a time when our publisher publishes a stream of books about trees and forests, is not to be reduced to “the poet,” something that fits on Hans Børli. In his poetry, and 23 books of poetry and seven prosabøker, is the forest one of several subject. It is a rich world of metaphors and images. He Betboo opens the forest for us as a speilsal of emotions and fears, sensations and insights, religious wonder and appreciation for all living things. Børlis’s writing opens a world of brooding, conceived while he had his daily work with saw and axe, with pipa in the mouth and an invisible lyre playing in his inner self. When he came home, he wrote down the lyrical catch, with pen and ink. Never out among colleagues. It would have been considered affectation.

A FOLKEKJÆR poet is a poet who writes simple enough that he be immediately understood. But who is surprised enough to turn an soul’s deepest basstrenger. When he stares at the stars, he sees no idyll, rather a picture of the grim fate that awaits us all.

It is dangerous to stare

for a long time on the stars:

When you, again, lowers

the gaze towards the earth,

do you see the stars

the cold stars

through your brother’s heart,

behind your beloved’s face.

And everything is so


because you have seen

into the big stumheten

behind things.

BØRLIS UNIVERSE the room nature in a way that provides an extra resonance in our time, nearly 30 years after his death. But he also wrote poems about Louis Armstrong and Nijinsky, Che Guevara and Pablo Neruda, Vincent van Gogh and Ernest Hemingway. And about the landscape that surrounded him, with a name like Hesteknatten, Fjørhanaberget, Handrekkelsesmyra and Tronskallehølet. Old age he called the “life vestlier”. Hans Børli was something for themselves, a sensuous melankoliker, a person you are grateful to have met.