In my memory

Issue 4/1987 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems and aphorisms from four collections. Introduction by Erkka Lehtola

Let the healing epidemics out! There must be some.

The many-headed monster, the market ideology, it can simultaneously read, count and even write at least 666 works. And without the sign of the beast no one can buy or sell.

Those who can read know you only realise you’ve forgotten how
when you can do it again.

What a handsome winter we have here! If it weren’t so dark, we’d see it. We could orientate ourselves on the stars with the beam from a pocket torch. Somewhere in mid-sky, I’d say, they come flying along on long lights.

As a child I said I’ll do what I want. Now I want what I do.

Who’s in the middle when the two sides of your face are side by side, as they are, in the mirror.

The trees that hide the sun are bright inside.

A frosty night when you feel the stars on your skin and discuss what you’re wearing.

Somebody’s walking over there, with an umbrella over his head, taking the rain for a walk.

I’m so delighted to find so much that’s useless.

What a relief there’s no longer enough time to get acquainted.

From Tuoreessa muistissa kevät (‘Springtime fresh in the memory’), 1987


One must speak 
as if my words 
still had a voice
and you were saying it all in reply
to the one near you 
in this wind
that comes from the beginning
and never stops winding over us and around us
				here we are
so close in age
we could shout with a single voice.

You’ll never get such tenderness
never as from the snowfall’s
thousands and thousands of thousands of moments.

From Syksy muuttaa linnut (‘Autumn migrates the birds’), 1961


The yard walls are being buried in snow, 
soon the little trees will be too,
		the streets are getting blocked, the cars 
are whitening,
the snowploughs are grumbling, and the shovels, 
there's no human speech
to speak of,
and I know nothing about you, even I.
Last year went by as well,
that old person
no longer peeps out of the Peter Street window, 
Is there still time, do you think, to grow old.

From Kohtaamispaikka vuosi (‘Rendezvous year’), 1977


At night when I can hear me breathing in you 
and your skin's warm under my hand
			I see through a cloud of colours, 
on your right shoulder
there are the water's sunny reflections,
			my childhood, in a new alliance 
of shore and water, and the water's risen,
and I was almost too tired to make it up the hill, I made 
and then I was in a blue atmosphere,
				I could see a boat
I raised my hand, and the water, it went on rising.
In my memory, have I undressed you, 
			you, in my memory,
a creation of caresses, a seaworthy rock in my lap. 
Sun, and a sun
in my hand, I down through my years,
	a tern-plunge in the water, ah, ooh, and out, even the 
find each other in these waters.
There are maples
		all over town,
last spring leaves even sprouted from the trunk, 
l'm waiting for this tree to grow
into a shade for my hot room,
each spring it stretches up its crown,
			its blossoms 
are in the window already, its window 
on your eye-level in this town,
			from this height 
it's a single tree, from below it's many.

From Puun syleilemällä (‘Embracing a tree’), 1983

Translated by Herbert Lomas

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