Author: Lauri Viita

Onward, downward!

Issue 1/1994 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Lauri Viita (1916–1965) was one of the self-taught writers who made his debut after the Second World War. His extensive, realist novel Moreeni (‘Moraine’, 1950) taking place in Viita’s native Tampere, begins with this prose poem

…over wolds, hummocks, ridges, between boulders, under branches, from cabin to cottage to manor, from coppice to fen, and ditch to puddle – down it drew us, the sloping earthcrust, southward the magnificent granite ploughland slanted.

Paths linked to paths, brooks joined brooks. Onward, downward! The roads widened, the currents strengthened. Bigger and bigger, heavier and heavier were the loads they could sustain. More and more trees, bread, potatoes, butter, meat, people and gravestones, huge boulders, rocks, went into the maw of those channels, and the hunger only redoubled. From channel to strait, from hour to hour, the lines of barges crawled along; from day to day the broad rafts of logs passed their sleepless summer on the long blue strip of Lake Näsijärvi. Spruce, pine, birch, aspen – different pieces for different purposes. How vast the supply and how vast the need! The months and days went by; in the depths of the lake, layer after layer, there wandered the shades of clouds, ships, faces. More…

That remarkable man

Issue 4/1988 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems by Lauri Viita. Introduction by Kai Laitinen


Mothers alone, endowed
with hope, see God.
They’re given strength and given will,
to climb in dream from under the cloud,
and look from a higher hill.

Alfhild, she who gave me birth,
nightly sailed away from earth
to where her Eemeli growled his say,
coming and going, as he did in his day.
Now they walk
the bright star track,
father and mother, looking back
at the little hill and the family home,
the cats, the dogs, the people they’ve known,
waving and calling as best they can
lest any of us trip on Pispala’s stone.
On a distant planet on a garden swing
under a rowan they linger and cling
and silently remember their light and dark
as a courting couple in Tampere Park –
and if it was payday, the extra fun
of tucking away a coffee and bun. More…