Archive for June, 1997
Poems from Timmermannen (‘The carpenter’, Söderströms, 1996). Introduction by Jyrki Kiiskinen
The greatest message
Reader, love is
a secret, waiting
for wind, not a choice
between loving or not.
As commandment, degraded
to demand, it will soon be
fanatic like a wound,
a form of hate. How
could a secret
without dying? Every
decree destroys its region. Made a law
into the protecting
skin, with which the good
touches everything. A demand
for understanding, that,
which we call wisdom,
makes of wisdom
an armour, a cold
father around us.
The real communication is
his life. Against evil stands
the tale of a face.
How could such a secret
or die? More…
Extracts from the novel Naurava neitsyt (‘The laughing virgin’, WSOY, 1996). The narrator in this first novel by Irja Rane is an elderly headmaster and clergyman in 1930s Germany. In his letters to his son, Mr Klein contemplates the present state of the world, hardly recovered from the previous war, his own incapacity for true intimacy – and tells his son the story of the laughing virgin, a legend he saw come alive. Naurava neitsyt won the Finlandia Prize for Fiction in 1996
My dear boy,
I received your letter yesterday at dinner. Let me just say that I was delighted to see it! For as I went to table I was not in the conciliatory frame of mind that is suitable in sitting down to enjoy the gifts of God. I was still fretting when Mademoiselle put her head through the serving hatch and said:
‘There is a letter for you, sir.’
‘Have I not said that I must not be disturbed,’ I growled. I was surprised myself at the abruptness of my voice.
‘By your leave, it is from Berlin,’ said Mademoiselle. ‘Perhaps it is from the young gentleman.’
‘Bring it here,’ I said. More…
Poems from Taivas päivystää (‘Sky on duty’, WSOY, 1996). Introduction by Tero Liukkonen
Flitting from dream to dream. Vanishings.
And you can’t even look.
What you looked with has been taken.
Then there’s more you know.
How helpless you are.
Then you know what Bottom meant
awake from his dream and trying to remember
what he’d lost. Then he did wake.
‘Man’s but a patched fool,’ he said,
‘if he’ll offer to say what methought I had.’
Everything had gone topsy-turvy but she just went on feeling she was hanging her head, she just went on feeling she was searching the lawn for a four-leaf clover, and the lawn had covered everything up and not a soul was troubling her. More...
An extract rom the novel Kenen kuvasta kerrot (‘Whose picture are you talking about’, Otava, 1996). Introduction by Pia Ingström
Late at night before going to bed An Lee had turned off all the lights, opened the large bedroom window, breathed the cool air. She had done this often. It made it easier to fall asleep. It was enough to look outside for a moment and to breathe in slowly, and at the same time the bedroom air freshened and changed for the night.
Then she had closed and locked the window, drawn the curtains, and switched on the dim wall light. It might be nice to decorate the space between the double windowpanes with wooden animals, she had thought, not for the first time. They had had some at home, her mother had been a collector of such things. Almost all of them pink and lemon yellow, a whole zoo between the windows, only the panther had been pitch-black, and on one of the elephants the pretty grey color had been scratched and splotchy on one side. More…