More Tumpkin tales

Issue 2/1992 | Archives online, Children's books, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Tiitiäisen pippurimylly (‘The Tumpkin’s pepper mill’, Otava, 1991). Kirsi Kunnas’s classic children’s books, Tiitiäisen satupuu (‘The Tumpkin’s story tree’) and Tiitiäisen tarinoita (‘The Tumpkin’s tales’), appeared in 1956 and 1957

Mr Saxophone and Miss Clarinet

Mr Saxophone
	went moony 
	beginning to fret
about Miss Clarinet: 
	Moan moan moan 
	darling little crow!
	I love you so!
moaned Mr Saxophone.
Miss Clarinet 
was very upset:
	I won't be owned!
	And I'm no little crow! 
	I sob like a dove,
	and even about love
	I sing alone!

	Oh moan moan moan 
groaned Mr Saxophone.

The deserted house

It’s cold, said the house,
now the light’s been doused.

It’s gloomy with no name,
the locked door complained.

It’s no cause for laughing,
it’s dark and uncanny,
when each nook and cranny,
all existence, is frothing
with nothing but nothing!

The electrician’s fishing story

A high-volt electrical eel 
	felt very smug
	as it danced a reel. 
But it knotted its tail!
	It needed wires,
	and insulated pliers,
	for the thing had become a plug!
I eat what I like,
	said a greedy pike, 
	as it made a strike,
	gulped the high-volt device 
	and was grilled in a trice!

The bathing animal

A water buffalo
shuffling oh-so-slow
was a frequent sight
sitting morning to night
in a lot of wet.

But he never makes
for the Finnish lakes
where the sauna freaks
sit from morning to night
in a frightful sweat.

Land of the Midnight Sun

Huh. The world's going bust!
I'm a jobless ghost:
it's white nights again
and the nightshift's gone,
	said a gloomy ghost in a haunted house.
From midnight to day 
I dwindle away, 
Monday to Sunday
I'm getting more ghostly,
	said the gloomy ghost in the haunted house.
I'll buy a duvet,
lie there, fade away,
like a redundant soft teddy,
old already,
	said the gloomy ghost in the haunted house
	at a very gloomy moment on a bright summer night.

Spider house

Thirteen spiders
invaded the windows and
	suddenly inside us 
it was all webs and spiders.

No exit, no entrance,
just a sad autumn pause,
when thirteen arachnids
sharpened their claws,
waiting for Christmas,
and Santa Claus,
who really succeeded,
on Christmas Eve,
in bringing to life
a spry
Christmas fly!

Kangaroo pouches

Mama Kangaroos
have big belly-pouches
where a little kangaroo
often slouches
with its little belly-pouch
in which so far
no kangaroo crouches.

But early one morning
the world is all strange
and everything’s changed.

The little kangaroos
have big belly-pouches
where a little kangaroo
now crouches
and boggles and goggles
as the grandma kangaroos
button their pouches
and cry STOP!

	and leap about, hop
hoppity hop! 
Stoppity stop,
 the world's not going to stop!

Translated by Herbert Lomas


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