Archive for June, 1996
Extracts from the novella Ilo (‘Joy’, Helsinki Media, 1995)
‘The flower is a characteristic feature of the highest group of the plant kingdom – the flowering plants – and is the name given to the association or organs, more or less leaf-like in form, which are concerned with the production of the fruit or seed.’
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910
The encyclopedia made us happy. But what was happiness? That the encyclopedia did not say. You had to set out to look for it. Our exploratory party represented the highest achievements of the field: it would be difficult to find a more serious or committed group.
When we waved to the people cheering on the quay, we were overcome by a strange feeling. It was as if we had already arrived. I made the mistake of speaking my thought aloud.
‘It will all end in tears,’ remarked our welfare officer, Mrs Rose. The atmosphere was ruined. What a pity that our quick-witted Doctor Stratelli was not present at that moment! For it was he who solved the problem of happiness.
Poems from the collection Musta oli valkoinen (‘Black was white’, WSOY, 1995). Introduction by Jukka Koskelainen
When I learned to pay attention to unlikely reptiles to surprising glacier waters to nightgowned rejections to wall-mounted assault rifles to traveling angels to lips shaped like promises to mussels swimming in dreams to crashes, rules and funerals to shady, secret sacristies to the indecisiveness of dancing shoes to the immeasurable indifference of looks like bullets to spring, myself and seductions slow as clouds all of these between the words, was that when the difficulties began?
About the third
To stop waiting, the second step.
To be born of woman. The first.
The price of the word and the moon are determined with the same weightless scales.
The third we don’t know about, don’t ask.
On the ear’s walk
The landscape's deepest melody flowed on over the banks of the resounding Middle Ages.
Do you hear, do you hear it
the way a snail hears,
that snail there who teaches
learns from the earth’s replies, learning
the snail hears and gets there,
gets there for sure
even the slow one gets there,
even the slower one will
then get there, it will
surely get there, into the pot.
New churches, old harmonized organs and repetitions like a prayer or a psalm for seven voices. Against scant blue a hundred people believe in pilots and safety belts. The wind just a little too strong.
But my heart it was, that loaded institution through four expectations it came here. Exactly here where you, with both hands, almost inaudibly intended to break the fragrant life of a sprig of thyme.
That soundless break, the speech of dust, said all I understood.
Around zero o’clock
Just be the shape of an angel, be, be be, be a screeching hatful of sleepless night it dresses even the seagulls in diver's suits, be be lazy intellect and come to bed be manager of nightmare and conqueror of desire
Be the disease of saying Be the lifelong remedy which whether you take it or not certainly kills
Be the one who no longer is a dab of the freedom of the void, a flight of three strides out of thought's night be
Because I’m jading
Translated by Anselm Hollo
Extracts from the novel Pyhiesi yhteyteen (‘Numbered among your saints’, WSOY, 1995). Interview with Jari Tervo by Jari Tervo
The wind sighs. The sound comes about when a cloud drives through a tree. I hear birds, as a young girl I could identify the species from the song; now I can no longer see them properly, and hear only distant song. Whether sparrow, titmouse or lark. Exact names, too, tend to disappear. Sometimes, in the old people’s home, I find myself staring at my food, what it is served on, and can’t get the name into my head. The sun came to my grandson’s funeral. It rose from the grave into which my little Marzipan will be lowered. I don’t remember what the weather did when my husband was buried.
A plate. Food is served on a plate. There are deep plates and shallow plates; soups are ladled into the deep ones. More…