Journal

by Birgitta Hjalmarson

Mark and the Devil

May, 2018

They say when God created Sweden, he began with the south, and so it became fertile and good in every way. The Devil, meanwhile, ran farther north, where he created the district of Mark.  On the surface it was deceptively beautiful: rounded mountains in a bluish distance, dark forests with caves for the wild animals, deep valleys with shimmering rivers and lakes. But underneath the land was harsh and stony, designed to break the backs of those who tried to farm it.  When God saw what the Devil had done, he frowned. “You have created the land,” he said. “Now I shall create the people.”  And so he made the people strong and industrious — and almost invincible.

 

Journal

by Birgitta Hjalmarson

Rilke, Summer of 1904

Journal by Birgitta Hjalmarson Rainer Maria Rilke was in his late twenties when he wrote Ellen Key from Rome, complaining about the “galloping spring.” Two years earlier, in 1901, he had married Clara Westhoff, a sculptress, with whom he now had...

She Sat the Whole Time Cold

Journal by Birgitta Hjalmarson The castle in Stockholm was cold. Descartes had died here in 1650, supposedly freezing to death. Queen Kristina, whom he had come to tutor, would abdicate and flee to Rome. In 1891, when Victoria...

Emir, the Swedish Ardennes

Journal by Birgitta Hjalmarson A shorter version of this post was first published by Women Writers, Women Books at http://www.booksbywomen.org.  They named him Emir, after those powerful Arab rulers. He was an Ardennes draft horse, a...