Old as mankind in Eden
As solitary, too, she towers humbly
Over the slope of Fulufjället.
Only she knows how many times
She’s fallen to ice or wind or fire;
We only see her present crook
Some centuries in the making.
While men have idly warred and bred
For wont and fear of love
Across the forming continents,
Old Tjikko gained and held her footing
These ten thousand years in silence;
And stood when standing seemed impossible,
until it was. – But stood again,
Only she knows how many times.
How many limbs she must have let go
To millennia of Winter winds
And ice atop her mountain;
And to men, perhaps, as kindling or as clubs?
Old Tjikko only knows.
What would this quiet Nordic sage convey
Of geologic drifts and tides,
And oceans and since-vanished stars,
From before the spruce was Norway,
Could Old Tjikko only say?