Archive for December, 1988
In this short story, from his collection Pronssikausi (‘The bronze age’, 1988, on the Finlandia Prize shortlist in 1989), Martti Joenpolvi takes up the subject of the problematic transportation of a human cargo
He braked abruptly; the woman lurched forward, straining against the seat belt, and the car drove into the parking space. The only vehicle parked there was a solitary trailer loaded with timber: a resinous pulpwood-odour came wafting through their open window, so physical, it was as if someone were snooping into the car’s most intimate interior. When they stopped, they got the whiff of a yellow refuse bin, incubated in the heat of the day.
‘We’ve got a problem.’ More…
Hannu Salama’s short story Hautajaiset (‘The funeral’) – taking place in Pispala, Tampere – in the volume Kesäleski, ‘Summer widow’, was published in 1969. Introduction by Pekka Tarkka
On Tuesday Venla came round: as Sulo was being lowered into the grave Vihtori had had a heart attack. The next day a letter arrived from father: funeral on Sunday, and Gunilla and Timo want you to speak at the grave. I telegraphed back: ‘Vikki too close to me. Unable to speak.’ Outside the post office I realised I could have sent fifty words for the same money.
Irma ordered a flower arrangement. Did I want to put an inscription? Part of the last stanza of a revolutionary song went through my head:
Sowing makes the corn come into ear:
Hundredfold higher that happier age will be.
I said not to put anything, I’d say something at the grave if it seemed the thing to do. I told her to put mother’s, father’s and Heikki’s names on, and we’d take these off if they’d sent their own wreath. More…
Poems by Lauri Viita. Introduction by Kai Laitinen
Mothers alone, endowed
with hope, see God.
They’re given strength and given will,
to climb in dream from under the cloud,
and look from a higher hill.
Alfhild, she who gave me birth,
nightly sailed away from earth
to where her Eemeli growled his say,
coming and going, as he did in his day.
Now they walk
the bright star track,
father and mother, looking back
at the little hill and the family home,
the cats, the dogs, the people they’ve known,
waving and calling as best they can
lest any of us trip on Pispala’s stone.
On a distant planet on a garden swing
under a rowan they linger and cling
and silently remember their light and dark
as a courting couple in Tampere Park –
and if it was payday, the extra fun
of tucking away a coffee and bun. More…