Archive for September, 2002
Short stories from Förklädnader. Sagor, parabler (‘Disguises. Stories, allegories’, Schildts, 2001; Valepukuja. Satuja, vertauksia, WSOY, 2002)
All over Hellas, even in the barbarian lands, the lyre-players competed with one another. Odes, paeans, dithyrambs echoed endlessly. Phoebus Apollo himself generously oversaw these productions.
A certain promising singer, Deinarchos by name, who hoped to participate in the upcoming Pythian contest, sat in his study-cave in the mountains of Thessaly waiting for inspiration. He prayed repeatedly to Phoebus for help, but did not detect any response. More…
From Piiloutujan maa (‘The land of the hider’, Otava, 2002)
When we look for a good apartment, a good café, a good place to be, we are looking for a childhood hideaway. We are looking for the wardrobe we used to retreat into when we had been hurt. We will always remember what being there feels like. We yearn for that same illumination, felt by the baby Jesus in Mary’s womb, as the world’s light shone in through the hymen. More…
Poems from Dessa underbara stränder, förbi glidande (‘These wonderful shores, gliding by’, Söderströms, 2001). Introduction by Claes Andersson
We don’t have our whole life ahead of us. Talk about your experience. About the sensual, about giddiness and falling, about the time you were out of your mind. I bow down, I proceed by trial and error. Wait. Time is short. I begin with light, light that’s autumnal sky-high all-embracing. When I painted I saw nothing but the light. Within the light: the invisible creating that hallowed feeling under a tree. Each tree holds the light in its arms like a child or a lover. Birds ruffled with light, breeding inside the tree’s head. The touch of light’s wind on the tree is like a caress on the skin. Birds that are everywhere, no one ever catches sight of them but sees them all the time.
A short story from Afrikasta on paljon kertomatta (‘Much is still untold about Africa’, WSOY, 2002). Introduction by Maria Säntti
You’re exactly what a dog should be, I told him. You’ve a black ear and a white one. You’re not too big and you’re not all teeth.
I stroked his black-spotted coat. He wagged his curly tail.
I crouched down. He squeezed up against my chest. I sent my ball rolling along the stairway corridor. He shot after it, accidentally running over the top of it. As he braked, his claws screeched on the tiles. Sparks went flying.
He snapped the ball in his jaws, nibbled its plastic and sent it back with a snuffle. His tongue was wagging with glee. Next I wanted to roll the ball so he wouldn’t get it. It bumped against the iron banister and went off in a different direction, skidding under the dog’s belly. He turned and dashed after it. More…
A short story from Haapaperhonen (‘The butterfly’, Gummerus, 2002). Introduction by Kristina Carlson
When Father comes to visit me, he sometimes sings a hymn. I can’t ask him not to. But when he doesn’t, I wonder why not, whether there’s something up with him. I can’t ask him to sing, but something is missing, the same thing that there seems to be too much of when he sings. It’s too much, but I miss it when it’s not there. I wonder about it after Father’s gone; my thoughts curl into dreams and I sleep.
When I sleep I don’t know I’m here, in a strange place. I’m at home, sleeping at home, in my own bed. The window is the right size, not too big like it is here; here there isn’t really a window at all, half the wall is missing and instead there’s glass. Behind a glass wall it’s not safe, everything is taken through it, including me. But sleep takes me to safety; I’m at home there. I breathe it peacefully. In the cabin there are two breathings, mine and Turo’s, and in the bedroom Father’s breathing. They are in no hurry to drive time away; time can linger, sleep, the moment of night, and when sleep withdraws there is no hurry either; I can sit in peace on the window seat and gaze at the cloudy, moonlit yard. The apple tree is asleep; it’s the only one. The fieldfares ate the apples before we could pick them, but it did not bother me or Father. It was good to look at the flock of fieldfares making a meal of the apple tree. Then they went away. More…