Author: Jarkko Laine

Timeless time

30 December 2005 | Fiction, poetry

Poems from Jumala saalistaa öisin eli Jobin kirjaan meidän on aina palaaminen. Osittain kursivoituja runoja (‘God hunts at night, or, we shall always return to the Book  of Job. Partly italicised poems’, Otava, 2005)

Greek delights

I eat Giorgios D. Haniotis'
                    small joys
     buried in powdered sugar,
vanilla, rose petal and strawberry,
           as if wooing his three daughters,
reading Angelos Sikelianos' poem
                         'A country wedding':

and it is a beautiful blue day, Sunday,

the strange charm of Greek letters: i kiriaki,
hazelnut kernels dipped in thyme honey,
white herb ashes from the roadside,
a cigarette taste deep as sin,
tobacco smoke the only haze one can stand looking at,
a little quarrelsome noise, bus station flu,
promises made by Turks,
the threadbare pile carpet of the entrance hall as a word of honor, More…

The 101-year anniversary celebration

Issue 3/1989 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

From the collection of short stories, Saksalainen vävy (‘The German son-in-law’) , 1988. Interview by Erkka Lehtola

Järvinen thought he must have turned up at the wrong place when he saw an iron cross on a grey concrete wall. Surely the library couldn’t be holding its celebration here?

He groped in his breast pocket for the map the librarian had sent him. No: there the landmarks were, he’d followed them, he was at the right place.

He drove on a bit and saw there were cars parked behind the building. He parked next to them and got out. All the other cars were shiny, as if they’d just been washed; his was the only dirty one, its chassis a dusty grey. Rosinante came into his head, and he started wondering what Rosinante’s colour was supposed to have been: just the sort of knowledge he could fit in somewhere. Grey, he guessed – just as General Sandels’ horse in the Runeberg poem was white. And what colour was Pegasus? Didn’t know that either – it hadn’t ever even occurred to him to wonder. Almost certainly it would be there in the mythology. More…

Mishaps, perhaps

Issue 3/1976 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Jarkko Laine

Jarkko Laine. Photo: Kai Nordberg

Jarkko Laine (born 1947) writes both prose and verse. He is the author of several hilarious and highly imaginative novels and a pioneer of the generation of Finnish underground poets. One of the most productive of younger Finland’s poets, he draws on the language and forms of mass commercial entertainment, comics, and pop music to write about people of today.

He is currently the editorial secretary of the literary periodical Parnasso. The poem below is from his latest collection Viidenpennin Hamlet (‘Fivepenny Hamlet’, Otava 1976)



In Turku again
the taxi’s travelling East Street
whose wooden sides have gone,

the radio’s laryngeal with static, VHF, the driver’s
telling me the tale,
the ice hockey season’s on us already,
even though there’s rain, green in the park,

I’m staring at the lifted houses
stuffed with sleeping persons,
the landmarks are going out one by one, all of them,
you might as well be
in the middle of the sea in a rubber dinghy,
soon I shan’t recognize anything here but
the cathedral, the castle,
my own name in the telephone directory. More…