Issue 2/1985 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Introduction by Bo Carpelan

	A flower beckons there, a secent beckons there, enticing my eye. 
A hope glimmers there.
	I will climb to the rock of the sky, I will sink in the wave:
a wave-trough. I am singing tone, and the day smiles in riddles.


	Like a sluice of the hurtling rivers I race in the sun:
to capture my heart; to seize hold of that light in an inkling:
sun, iridescence.
	In day and intoxication I wander. I am in that strength:
the white, the white that smiles.


	To my air you have come: a trembling, a vision! I know neither 
you nor your name. All is what it was. But you draw near: a 
daybreak, a soaring circle, your name.


	So I attain you, language of gods: confession of those fallen 
silent and transport of poets. So I attain life that soars and
exults, flits and breathes. So I attain you, only one: day above all!


	Holy vision, so you were born, wordless tone on my forehead! 
And day was a silence. And quietly in objects I lay.


Most is merely silent words and lies –
to the eye of day! that moves aside.
All is silent words –
to your eye: aimlessly light and fleeting, like the silence of an affliction.


Baruch Spinoza

	A man sat there and fought and fought. A thought raised
stone on stone, until the building stood complete, the temple without
rhetoric or ornament, a young man's dream: in longing manly, whole –
	Heaven stood raised, a fervour of reality, and you beneath it, and
a world therein.
	You were alone no more.


Alyosha Karamazov

The kiss of Christ is set above the world. And you realize:
this was – was all! The power of sacrifice, a kiss. And longing 
of all struggles, kiss: nothing but radiant gentleness. And day, 
made fertile! 
	It was nothing but a kiss.
From Vilande dag (‘Resting day’, 1922)

The Temptation

Now is the hour of the sunshine's longing
and I get up on the trampolines and move to and fro
up here. Jump down, they call to me from down there. 
But I know that I can't; no one can.
For no one has flown up here where no limits prevail.
I stand with my arms thrown wide, and point to my black birthmarks:
	is it not enough?
And the sunshine which has not hesitated!
Then I shall climb in fire-beautiful flame to the drowning gods of
	the darkness.


I want to live in the city as it is 
with WC, electric light, gas-stove
and swept streets
a rich man's park at every other corner
and palaces and cafes, abundance spread out in windows,
and for five marks or 2 marks a rectilinear
A sea of light, and motley colours
and faces, fates
and the light of the sky – an irritant to thoughts and struggle and 
	newly-ignited love
for one and one 
and for all, all!
to be like a plant in a spring meadow
to fill one's place like a stone among stones
in a building,
to know that thousands love and rejoice and have worries
and the same lovely eyes smile tears and burn and suffocate, dream
	stumble, go under,
but will go towards a realm for all and a heroes' feat with light
– I rejoice in the city's streets, factories,
and beauty is without and within.
The sky and the water stand equal
and the night is not so dark beneath streetlamps around a street and
Emptiness acquires sound from the dance of the whole, from its cries,
	despair and solidarity with the manifold familiar,
and it is lonely to bear one's fate amidst the gazes of thousands, and
	to struggle in their swarm
is as once beneath the burdened vault of the forest one struggled
with the vault of the stars concealed within one's heart.
The rumbling of cities – all!
an equal and brother to all
and the struggle of thousands towards thousands
and the struggle of all against all 
and finally the eyes, the many eyes
less familiar,
which we carry about as in a bowl
so they will not spill out.


The formula?
because we can't stop – because we race like bloodhounds after
	the pig we held by the tail, and devour it with its ears still raw. 
The formula?
because we took the pigsty and sank our teeth in, pierced the ears of 
	the angels and smote the devil dead, disintegrated the church
	wall and the feather rugs of the script of lies.
The formula?
	because we understood that all is lost,
	or nothing. In every mouthful of sausage we consume with our
	hungry tongues are opened capsules 
to heaven.
In every faith that is not the golden book of despair and the horse­
	man's spur of hesitation, we must be dead people, whom no one
	will ever dig up.
– We must know: that our happiness is as nothing, god's distortions 
	are all the things that do not rush through us
like the crown of the conglomerate and the self-evident argument, 
	without meaning, without answer, without excuse,
like the joy of being a midge on the midges' swarming-day.
Who can tell what the midges' dance means to the midges, to us and
	the soil?
that they sing so beautifully
it is as if cosmos were resting on its wings?
This new belly-dance and lingo and harp-sound under the fingers of
	our hands, what is it we want to have said?
the faith that will not let go its grip on us!
the faith that transfigures all and demands nothing, since it bears – 
	in the eternally changing – the demands of life.
The faith that is the pigslayer
and the master gatherer: come all ye!
Where there are will and voidance, objects rise up and eternity's 
understreams; all is an aboutoneanother 
on the ragfields of necessity,
the exultant breakdown of souls: 
You are me, I am you
and it makes no difference how impudently false our souls are, 
the same night of horror
and the same infinity bear our steps
and hide away the graves in the cheekbones of our days 
so that we see drunken pigs in the heavenly firmament
and paradise and the mouth of laziness are our resting beds. 
Arise, you of the honestflame: wizened footsole!
sink, radiance of emptiness, on the least of men!
Like these tangles, go out, there are beautyspots everywhere
and we stand still in the midst of our important doings, we rinse 
	the mouths of the day-labourers
and pray: sing the glory of the facts of life!
Sing the heaven of the hungry, you have seen more than we have.
We stand still before all and say:
greater than facts is the place
of your glowing speed's unique gleam.

The god of the uncompleted

It is not death's sweet bosom 
it is not soft earth
and cold depths on bridges of moonbeams,
it is not the "end with a bang" of last autumn
	that is forgotten for the life beating in other hearts' chambers 
it is not the courageous eye of liberation that escaped the
	persecutors and thought and hoped for nothing.
It is torment that cannot end, the torment of the uncompleted 
the leering eyes of the living death: "I will arrive, you do not
	know when and will not be ready
I will suck you in, you will smell my odour, the mucous wind of my
	teeth, the drive of emptiness over rattling bone pipes
the horrible thing you will not overcome – not to have brought
	order into your affairs that still survive; what you have 
	given rise to
I will disentangle,
with my black fingernails I will read the papers of your secret
	thoughts, the ones you did not destroy,
and I will strew the thoughts of your life's papers like dead
	things over the roads,
do not be afraid, no one will pay any attention, whether it be a
	king's honour, a hero's legend, or merely the bankruptcy of your
	own spirit.
All will rise up and unravel in the emptiness of the world and the
	roses you have not won.
All that you could not manage will stand there like a confused 
	jumble, the least and the greatest, you will not be able to pull
	yourself together, prepare yourself, you will not get a moment's
I see you, I come like night's shadows out of the cupboard, rise
	up under the chairs, I am the pillowcase and the view through 
	the window when you awake.
I! I remember you
I am your murdered instincts
I am your fate that lurks in wait for you
I am your happiness that stole away, I am virtue's reward, that
	took the roses from you, I am the great darkness that will not 
	let you smile
I am the one you must overcome from day to day
I am the ruler of mankind,
in the midst of its joy I whisper with this enervated unpreparedness,
	this thing that makes you turn away. 
I am the master-builder of the rich cities.
When your spirit dies, I shall go out for a walk.
When you are not expecting me, I will have arrived.
When you are dead, we shall hold hands with one another.
When you die you will see me.
I am what lurks under the ships. I am surely there.
The compass is mounted on my eye 
you print your sun-eyes on me.
But I will come and devour what your longing has not been able to
I am I, like day of pure Meaning."
 From Solgrönt (‘Sungreen’, 1933)

Translated by David McDuff

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