Archive for March, 1998
A selection of poems, translated by Herbert Lomas and Anselm Hollo. Interview by Tarja Roinila
Set your altar up in the evening, in the morning clear it away: the wandering goes on. Don't persuade yourself of anything, or anyone else: fearful forces are epidemic, no place is sacred for long. Again and again the sacred starts. If you happen to be there don't refuse to see.
(1989) a light wind stirring a treetop: a shoal of fish in blue abyss
From Hiidentyven (‘Weird calm’, Otava, 1984) More…
A short story from Sunnuntaina kahdelta (‘Sunday at two’, Otava, 1997)
Maisa enjoyed her trees without knowing their names, without ever counting how many of them there actually were. The trunks twisted together and then forked again, the branches wound round and stretched past each other, and the tapered leaves rustled in dark, wide fans. In the autumn, when the wind blew and the rain fell, the naked stand of trees flailed in a single damp movement, and in February the branches snapped and cracked invisibly under the snow like a promise that would be fulfilled before long.
Sometimes on summer evenings, when the boy was asleep, she listened to the birds fluttering among the shaded lower branches, to the shrews and field mice dashing between the trunks on their nocturnal journeys and the roots pushing deeper into the soil day by day. When she shut her eyes, she could see the sap pulsing under the bark, and her own arms and legs moved more lightly, her heart beat strongly, and her thoughts welled up. More…
A fairy-tale, first published in the literary yearbook Svea (Stockholm) in 1879. Introduction by Esa Sironen
The matchstick lay for the first time in its new box on the factory table and thought about what had happened to it so far during its short life. It could still dimly remember how the big aspen tree had grown on the river bank, how it had been felled, sawed, and finally planed into many thousand small splinters of which the match was one. After that, it had been sorted into piles and rows with its friends, dipped in horrible melting pans, put out to dry, dipped again and finally placed in the box. This was not really a remarkable fate, nor a great heroic deed. But the match had acquired a burning desire to do something in the world. Its body was made from the timorous aspen, which is constantly a-quiver because it is afraid that the faint evening breeze might grow into a gale and tear it up by the roots. It so happened, however, that the match’s head had been dipped in stuff that makes one ambitious and want to shine in the world, and so a struggle developed, as it were, between body and head. When the inflammable head, fizzing in silence, cried: ‘Rush out now and do something!’ the cautious body always had an objection ready, and whispered: ‘No, wait a little, ask and find out if it’s time yet!’ More…
Set your altar up in the evening, in the morning clear it away: the wandering goes on. Don't persuade yourself of anything, or anyone else: fearful forces are epidemic, no place is sacred for long. Again and again the sacred starts. If you happen to be there don't refuse to see. a light wind stirring a treetop: a shoal of fish in blue abyss
In this horror story by the Finland-Swedish author Kjell Lindblad (born 1951), a man believes he is wandering among art installations in an apartment block – but the reality he is experiencing turns out to be much more sinister. From the collection of short stories Oktober-mars (‘October-March’, Schildts, 1997)
I only noticed the poster on the notice board in the vegetarian restaurant because it was so obviously different from the rest of the colourful items there, with their large headlines offering everything from Atlantic meditation to Zen ping-pong, together with promises of a new and fulfilled life in harmony with the soul and the cosmos. Poster is perhaps an overstatement it was a white sheet of paper with an egg-shaped oval in the middle. Inside the oval there was a horizontal row of seven numbers. For some reason, perhaps because the row of numbers was the only information on the piece of paper, it stuck in my memory and when I got home I had a compulsive desire to find out if it was a phone number. So I dialled the number and a tape-recorded voice that could have belonged to a man but equally well to a woman, said:
‘We bid you welcome. Please don’t write down the address just memorise it….’ More…