Lars Palm

elk — a found poem

(extracts from Skrönor om älgjakt (Tales From the Elk Hunt) by Bert Olls [translator unknown] printed on table tablets.)


during the middle
ages an elk's
hoof was considered

to have magical
healing powers. the
outer hoof of

the right hind
leg was especially
valued as a

cure for epilepsy.
headaches would be
cured if an

elk hoof was
worn beneath the
shirt. it was

also believed that
scratching a sick
person on the

breast with an
elk hoof would
cure disease. gout

sufferers were encouraged
to place a
hoof under their

pillows at night


many such superstitions
were connected to
elk hunting in

the old days.
on larger hunts,
when the hunter

would be away
from home for
several days, it

was considered important
that the hunter
went to bed

with his wife
or mistress the
night before the

hunt started. the
night's ceremonies would
be completed in

the morning when
the hunter, gun
in one hand

& his dog
on a leash,
crawled out of

the door through
his lady's legs.
the strongest hunting

power would be
gained if the
lady was naked.

in this way,
the hunter, dog
& gun would

be consecrated. with
garlic in his gun,
his bullets powdered

with churchbell dust,
the hunter having
crawled out under

a crotch, good
hunting fortune would
be assured, &

the elk would
be as good
as dead


the state has
placed restrictions on
elk hunting since

1347, to the
benefit of royalty
& the detriment

of country folk.
those who broke
the law would

have their gun
& clothes confiscated,
& be thrown

in prison. in
extreme cases, there
was the threat

of execution. however,
no person in
the kingdom of

sweden has ever
forfeited their life
for shooting an

elk. instead, they
were deported out
of the kingdom

to ingermanland (no
man's land, the
border between finland

& russia), or
to america, a
fate considered equal

to the death


the elk hunter
must follow many
rules & traditions

to succeed. his
gun must be
specially consecrated, for

example. the simplest
way was for
the hunter to

clean the bore
every day with
a cloth moistened

with three drops
of his own
blood. the blood

to have come
from the index
finger on the

left hand. another
method involved wrapping
the gun in

a horse's blanket
that had been
worn by a

black horse during
christmas night, as
well as having

been buried under
the chopping block
three thursday nights

in a row.
it would also
help to have

a human eye
in your shot
bag. it would

have to be
the left eye
of someone who

had been murdered

Lars Palm has had a bit of harvest time this spring & summer, most recently whomeanswhat from Sacrifice Press (in june) & on foot from Furniture Press (in july). he also enjoys the sun on occasion.
previous page     contents     next page



Blogger Tom Beckett said...

Buddy, can you spare an elk horn?


2:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home