Archive for June, 1982
An extract from Sudenkorento (‘The dragonfly’, 1970). Introduction by Aarne Kinnunen
I now have. Right here in front of me. To be interviewed. Insulin artist. Caleb Buttocks. I have heard. About his decision. To grasp his nearly. Nonexistent hair and. Lift. Himself and. At the same time. His horse. Out of the swamp into which. He. Claims. He has sunk so deep that. Only. His nose is showing. How is it now, toe dancer Caleb Buttocks. Are you. Perhaps. Or is It your intention. To explain. The self in the world or. The world. In the self. Or is It now that. Just when you. Finally have agreed to. Be interviewed by yourself. You have decided. To go. To the bar for a beer?
– Yes. Can you spare a ten?
– Thanks. See, what’s really happened is that. My hands have started shaking. But when I down two or three bottles of beer, that corpse-washing water as I’ve heard them call it, my hands stop shaking and I don’t make so many typing errors. If I put away six or seven they stop shaking even more and the typing mistakes turn really strange. They become like dreams: all of a sudden you notice you’ve struck it just right. Let’s say, ‘arty’ becomes ‘farty’. Or I mean to say, ‘it strikes me to the core’ I end up typing ‘score’. It’s like that. A friend of mine, an artist, once stuck a revolver in my hand. Imagine, a revolver! I’ve never shot anything with any kind of weapon except a puppy once with a miniature rifle. My God, how nicely it wagged its tail when I aimed at it, but what I’m talking about are handguns, those shiny black steelblue clumps people worship as heaven knows what symbols. It’s not as if I haven’t been hoping to all my life. And now, finally, after I’d waited over fifty years, it turned out that the revolver was a star Nagant, just the kind I’d always dreamed of. So if I ever got one of those, oh, then would sleep through the lulls between shots with that black steel clump ready under my pillow. Well, my friend the artist set out one vodka bottle with a white label and three brown beer bottles with gold labels on the edge of a potato pit – we had just emptied all of them together – stuck the fully loaded star Nagant into my hand, took me thirty yards away and said:
– Oh, Lord. More…
Pappas flicka (‘Daddy’s girl’, 1982), an extract of which appears below, is published in Finland by Söderstrom & C:o and in Sweden by Norstedt. The Finnish translation is published by Tammi. Introduction by Gustaf Widén
At first I say nothing, as usual.
Dr Berg also sits in silence. I can hear him moving in his chair and try to work out what he’s doing. Is he getting out pen and paper? Or perhaps he has a tiny soundless tape-recorder he is switching on.
Or is he just settling down, deep down into his armchair, one leg crossed over the other, like Dad used to sit? I used to climb up on to his foot. The he would hold my hands and bounce his foot up and down, and you had to say “whoopsie” and finally with a powerful kick, he would fling me in the air so that I landed in his arms.
I have worked it out that the little cushion under my head is to stop us lunatics from turning our heads round to look at Herr Doktor.
It would certainly be nice to sit bouncing up and down on Dr Berg’s foot. His ankle would rub me between my legs …
I soon start feeling ashamed and blush.
“Mm,” says Dr Berg, as if reading my thoughts. Or can he see my face from where he is sitting? I try rolling my eyes up to catch a glimpse of him, but all I can see is the ceiling with all its thick beams.
“I seem to have been here before,” I say. More…
Today the springtime shot its arrow point
into the winter’s heart:
the cranes’ crooked plow.
Today on the ice
the water splashed
half-a-yard high beneath the horse’s hooves –
may the magpie laugh cunningly
beside the ice-hole’s edge –
beneath the snow the earth growls
the hidden bodies of the trees cry:
the cranes the cranes!
From Taggiga lågor (‘Barbed flames’, 1924)
Sirkka Turkka is among the most important poets who started their work in the 1970s. So far she has published five collections of poetry and one work in prose. ‘I speak of death when I mean to speak of life,’ writes Sirkka Turkka in one of the poems in her collection Mies joka rakasti vaimoaan liikaa (‘The man who loved his wife too much’, 1979). The theme of death is close at hand, too, in the previously unpublished poems printed below. Introduction by Arto Kytöhonka
Before death itself comes
it paints the pine boles red
around this house
It erects a moon in the sky, a luminous moon,
set on edge like an old dish
with the light enamel peeling off.
Onto this house, over which
night is now pleating.
And the house, in the veering waters, in the clinging waters,
is slowly preparing itself, quite by itself, for death. More…