Poems

Issue 1/1978 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Laulu tummana tulevi (‘The song comes darkly’, 1976). Introduction by Pentti Saaritsa

1

                      I have longed for you
as the burning heath for rain,
                      I have asked for you
as fingers of moss for shade,
                      I have yearned for you
as the dusty mind for tears,
                      and I have loved you
as distant lightning the dark,
                      I have been in you
as flowering pine in the wind.

The blue will-o’-the-wisps dance,
strangers stitching happiness.
Silvery the spring mornings,
the trumpets bright in summer,
the autumns cranberry-red,
the white legend of winter.

The coppery magpies swing,
                      like clocks they rattle,
                      they revolve like flints,
they build a house for the cold.
                      The rainy eyes splash,
the watery heart murmurs.
You do not grow calm in me
and you do not stop smiling
                      though our years go by
                      and time wags its tails.
Memories destroyed by frost
                      die away, away.

Only the rain patters on.
A distant tremor of hearts.

2

The rain forms a lucent dusk,
I sit with shades on my face.
Again I dream, again wait,
I hear the station echoes,
feel the aching departures,
pain in coming, in going,
tension in the intervals.

                      So I walked, wandered,
distance slipped away in front,
called me further and further.

But you did not walk with me,
time crumbled your memory.

Do not weep, my little bird,
in the big station hall, in
the circles of the lonely;
                      don't hold out your hand
                      to those who run fast,
                      they will not grasp it,
they will think you are begging;
                      don't turn when they go,
                      they are rags of men,
the wind shall play upon them,
the blast shall sweep them aside.

That way you lose everything
when you want it for your own.

Come now underneath my coat,
I do not melt in the rain
nor do I go damp with tears,
and when I hold out my hand
                      grasp it, hold it tight,
                      I'm not made of rags
                      although my scars gape
                      no wind will sweep me,
it is I who play on the wind
and I who roll on the blast.

The station clock devoured you,
you were torn by departures.

Again I dream, again wait,
through everything now I walk
that I left without walking.

                      The spruces hear me,
                      the pines nod their heads.

3

The wind brings the clover scent,
the white clover is in flower.

How did that season rush by,
under wind and over frost,
and all else walked in my mind,
how did I not think of spring
although the cranes announced it,
nor notice summer’s going
though the grasses shed pollen.

I thought of winter's legend,
                      of tracks in old snow
being covered up by new.
                      I look, my eyes melt.
                      My girl, slim-fingered,
                      who laughs, who dances,
                      hops in clover-flowers,
                      twines a long garland,
determines the thread of life
for herself, for her darling.
                      The bright flowers sparkle,
the threads of the young ones blaze.
Evening trundles down the hill;
                      what is dark, darkens,
                      white glimmers as grey,
                      grey as greyer still.
My daughter, my wintergreen,
far away your darling steps
                      out in his bright shoes,
on his shoulder a bright bird,
a bright cloak upon his back.
                      To him as he goes
life goes in all its brightness.

The wind takes the clover scent.
The white clover was in flower.

Translated by Keith Bosley

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