Author: Ilpo Tiihonen
The poems in Ilpo Tiihonen’s new collection, Jumalan sumu (‘God’s mist’) – about fakirs, beggars, poets, lovers and life – are tinged with a gentle sense of the ephemerality of human life (see Gatecrashing the universe)
Poems from Jumalan sumu (‘God’s mist’, WSOY, 2009)
These mornings when beggars
station themselves at church doors
and a little grace slips through
the fingers of some of us,
it seems for a moment good
That crows are flying about
and princes’ bones are clattering in huge sarcophagi
And now, with a basic shape planned
for the daily bread,
Early morning wakes up in Florence
with black flour in its fingernails More…
Kesäillan kevyt käsitteellisyys.
III laulu: Suvisimfonia, omistettu Joel Lehtoselle.
‘A summer evening’s slight conceptualness’.
III song: Summer symfony, dedicated to the author
Joel Lehtonen (1881–1934)
From Eros (WSOY, 2002)
A summer evening’s slight conceptualness
Ah summer evening, and its eveningness,
its prodigious wonders and their bridgefulness
when the nightunited seamlessness
steals into one’s heart with restfulness
O heiferiness and humanness,
ah shivering shimmeringness,
and vastness with its stresslessness –
five or six chicks of a dabchick,
and deep water, lapfulness.
Our blue sky’s mirrored changefulness!
the spruces’ tall topliness, their tips’ sacredness
the yellow-billed black singer’s flutiness.
Nested cosiness, mutual tootiness! More…
Poems from Boxtrot (WSOY, 1998)
So far nine lives only, and all mine, like my head in my hands. My first was curled up at the foot of a fir tree in the autumn forest just at day-dawn in nighttime's raindrops. The resin's still in my fingernails. My second was the scent of split wood by the shed, and the circular-saw blade's horrific disc. The gruel, track shoes too large, and President Kekkonen, ink spreading across my notebook, and the clank of the railway under my dreams. Mayday's red flags, the neighbour's daughter naked, and dead pigeons lying on the gravel. My third life was the discovery of anger, blind rage turning and turning me in its leather bag, wearing the edges of my day down. Sitting at our schooldesks being forced towards a goal that can't be named. Seeing how they start drinking, drinking into their eyes that black impotent rebellion. I'm on the point of drowning, someone's traversing the Atlantic in a reed boat. And if I did die, it wouldn't matter who sneered. The stars in the sky are watching us in horror.
A selection of poems. Introduction by Herbert Lomas
He stands at the edge of the market,
not much to look at himself,
with a stare:
across the black dome a shooting star
draws its portrait – and is not there.
His bag weighs on him heavy – a hard day's skychart inside. He fumbles for... a formula – some old saw, or a soaring phrase – to lay the moment wide.
He’s nailed fast to the world,
but before he goes away –
what did he come here to say? More…
Poems from From Eroikka (‘Eroica’, 1982). Introduction by Pertti Lassila
Ilpo Tiihonen (born 1950) published his first collection of poetry in 1975. From the beginning, his poems have been couched in the language of the street, and he uses slang liberally. Tiihonen has always been opposed to the miniature idylls of nature that were so characteristic of the 1970s. He aims at the secularisation of poetry, and he uses humour and comedy as a counterweight to high culture. He has evidently been influenced in his technique by Mayakovsky and Yesenin, to whom he often refers in his poems. His preferences in the poetic tradition are apparent in the fresh and liberal new interpretations of poems by Gustav Fröding contained in his collection Eroikka. Unusually for a contemporary Finnish poet, Tiihonen makes extensive use of rhyme. The result is often strongly lyrical poems that could almost be called modern broadsheet ballads, and may also bring Brecht to mind. More…