Archive for March, 1992

Mole’s hole

Issue 1/1992 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from Pikku karhun talviunet (‘The little bear’s winter dreams’, published posthumously in 1974, edited by Mirkka Rekola), prose fragments and fairy-tales. (See commentary by Soila Lehtonen)

Vauveli-Vau had grown up. She went round to Mole Hill and went into Mole’s Hole, so she could work in peace. As there are a lot of Mole’s Holes in the earth, no one had any idea where Vauveli-Vau had gone. They weren’t all that keen to know, as there’s always rather a lot to do in Mole’s Hole: pine cones and branches to be collected, trips to be made to the spring in the forest, an eye kept on Dottypot in the fire-embers, and at night you have to get up to see which bird it is that’s singing in the old rotten tree. But still more laboursome are the thick books in foreign languages and the pile of blank paper.

Quite a few days and nights had gone by before Vauveli-Vau was used to being in Mole’s Hole. During those days a lot of remarkable things occurred. A slug flourished his horns and muttered: ‘Who on earth would want to lie about in his cottage in fine weather like this?’ More…

Images of isolation

Issue 1/1992 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems by Helvi Juvonen, commentary by Soila Lehtonen

Little is known of the circumstances of Helvi Juvonen’s life. Her fame rests on five collections of poetry – mixing humility and celebration with an uncompromising rigour – published in the ten years before her death at the age of 40 (a sixth appeared posthumously). Her existence, in the drab surroundings of post-war Helsinki, was modest: after studies at Helsinki University, and posts as a bank clerk and proof-reader, she lived by writing and translation, including some brilliant renderings into Finnish of the poems of the 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson.

Helvi Juvonen’s universe is crowded with ostensibly insignificant phenomena: her eye discerns a mole, lichen, dwarf-trees, a shrew; she studies tones of stone and moss; she ‘doesn’t often dare to look at the clouds’.


Rocks, forgotten within themselves,
have grown dear to me.
The trees’ singing, so useless,
is my friend.

Silver lichen,
brother in beggary,
please don’t hate my shadow
on the streaked rock. More…

How love begins

Issue 1/1992 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Kuinka rakkaus syntyy (‘How love is born’; Otava, 1991)

All that day the words of the song ran through Annika’s mind.

‘How love begins, nobody knows’: those were the words with which the clock radio had woken her this morning.

They had bought a clock radio so as not to have to listen to the ticking of a clock in the dark, echoing room, or its ear-splitting alarm, like the screaming of a small wounded animal.

They had bought other things, too, to make their lives easier: a dish-washer, and a washing machine that also dried the clothes, and a microwave oven, and a second telephone, because the flat was a big one. Life went on; there was plenty of time to be, and to think about what had been, and what could have been, and what would come to be. More…

The skin at its thinnest

Issue 1/1992 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Huden där den är som tunnast (‘The skin where it is at its thinnest’, Schildts, 1991)

Just now I find myself where I most of all 
	want to be.
Just now the view is the one I most want to look at.
She who is sleeping in my bed is the one I most want to 
	sleep with.
This sandwich tastes better than all other sandwiches. 
The grass on our side of the fence is greener than on
	the other side.
This summer is more beautiful than all the summers of childhood. 
The illnesses I suffer from suit me better than
	all other illnesses.
My loss is greater than any other I have encountered. 
I would not trade my face in the mirror for all
	the mirrors in the world.


Letters from Klara

Issue 1/1992 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

A short story from Brev från Klara (‘Letters from Klara’, Söderström & Co, 1991)

Dear Matilda,
you are hurt because I forgot your ancient birthday: that is unreasonable of you. To put it bluntly, you have expected my particular devotion all these years merely because I am three years younger. But let me now at last tell you that the passage of the years An Sich is no feather in one’s hat.

You pray for Higher Guidance – excellent. But until you receive it, it might perhaps be as well to discuss certain bad habits which are, as a matter of fact, not foreign to me, either. More…