Archive for September, 1993
A selection of previously untranslated poems by the Finland-Swedish modernist poet Gunnar Björling (1887–1960), introduced by Birger Thölix
Like silent sounds sail passes after sail.
But the night’s globe stands
and just as open stands the wide sea
and all the days expire in morning brightening.
Like a thing not expired
a life-warm scent throbs
through my limbs
and my hand is filled with tablets to read
and new hearts burn.
Prose pieces from Bamalama (WSOY, 1993)
After eating his family, he went abroad. There was a heatwave in Torremolinos. The sandy beaches were empty despite the Mediterranean waves’ enticing glitter. Although it was so hot, not a trace of the sun could be seen in the sky, and no clouds either. He sat in an armchair in his modest hotel room and breathed deeply. He thought about the pretty young girls on the beaches just waiting to be casually plucked, bony adolescent bodies, opulent and luscious adult female forms, and lips beyond all powers of description. He sat there, and time passed. Soon darkness spread over the beach, and he could see nothing but velvety black nothingness stretching out to the horizon. He was overcome by a powerful sense of fear, caused by the bleak desolation of the scene, this gloomy darkness that covered and hid the millions of shades of natural colors. He accepted his feelings and let them flow into himself, because he knew that morning, sunrise, and the play of nature’s colors down there on the beach boulevards, would resuscitate within him a great dreamer, impervious to the storms of the world. More…
An extract from the novel Vieras (‘The stranger’, Otava 1992). Introduction by Pekka Tarkka
I lay there for a moment, motionless, eyes closed.
The bunk was damp. It felt damp around my thighs; I slid down lower – and there, it was really wet.
My sleeping bag was obviously soaked, and that meant that the mattress was soaked, too. Oh, rats. I couldn’t imagine having wet myself. Or – worse – had the boat sprung a leak, the water already rising up to the floorboards? I bounded to my feet: the rugs were dry. So was the cabin floor. I raised the boards, peered down: two fingers of water in the forward bilge, as usual. So, where the –? In the course of yesterday’s rough sailing, some water had seeped in below the windowframe. No more than a cupful, but it had trickled down inside the panel and then onto the mattress. I tried the other side of the bunk. It was dry. Well, I would just have to pick up the mattress and set it on its side. More…