No, dear God, do not let me be deceased
under blankets and sheets
and at my bedside all that crying.
Let me be struck down one day unexpected
and fall in the forest someplace neglected,
where no one can find me while I lay dying.
As a son of the forest who knows it well,
it will not deny my humble request to dwell
at long last upon some mossy mound.
There will I give back to all its animals thus,
my great corpse without speeches or fuss,
and by the crows, the rats and flies so found.
Yes, I will host a grand meal when I am deceased
for those beaks and claws and teeth a feast,
for one and all a generous serving.
And from above a squirrel will look on askance
watching with eyes alert from his branch,
almost human eyes, so unnerving.
An ample portion for each to feed,
enough to satisfy an army in need
and at the table they pick me apart.
An eagle to strip my bones bare,
staying until no more is there,
and then with talons drawn in depart.
And into late evening and all night long
the glorious sounds of a corpse in song
as lovely as when bells are rung.
Then in tribute to me a final word,
from the owl herself it is heard,
hooted as a simple oath is sung.
When the little left of me the earth receives
and at dawn is hidden under a grave of leaves,
the end of this joyous night will be near.
My friends! I have fed you all! Goodbye!
— But all these leaves about me, why?
It must be the wind that swept them here.
– Knut Hamsun
(Translated by Moraline Free)