Around zero o’clock

Issue 2/1996 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from the collection Musta oli valkoinen (‘Black was white’, WSOY, 1995). Introduction by Jukka Koskelainen


			         When I learned to pay attention
to unlikely reptiles
to surprising glacier waters
to nightgowned rejections
to wall-mounted assault rifles 
to traveling angels
to lips shaped like promises
to mussels swimming in dreams 
to crashes, rules and funerals
to shady, secret sacristies
to the indecisiveness of dancing shoes
to the immeasurable indifference of looks like bullets 
to spring, myself and seductions slow as clouds
			                                     all of these
					                                         between the words,
was that when the difficulties began?

About the third

To stop waiting, the second step.
To be born of woman. The first.

The price of the word and the moon
	    are determined with the same weightless scales.

The third we don’t know about, don’t ask.

On the ear’s walk

The landscape's deepest melody flowed on
	     over the banks of the resounding Middle Ages.

Do you hear, do you hear it
the way a snail hears,
that snail there who teaches
learns from the earth’s replies, learning
the snail hears and gets there,
gets there for sure
even the slow one gets there,
even the slower one will
then get there, it will
surely get there, into the pot.


Herbal wisdom

New churches, old
	                       harmonized organs and repetitions 
like a prayer or a psalm for seven voices. 
Against scant blue
	               a hundred people
believe in pilots and safety belts. The wind
	                                                 just a little too strong.
But my heart it was, that loaded institution 
through four expectations it came 
	                                               here. Exactly here
where you, with both hands, 
	               almost inaudibly
intended to break
	              the fragrant life of a sprig of thyme.
That soundless break, the speech of dust, said all
			                                  I understood.

Around zero o’clock

Just be the shape of an angel, be, be 
	                be, be a screeching
   hatful of sleepless night	it dresses 
even the seagulls in diver's suits, be
	      be lazy intellect and come
to bed
be manager of nightmare
	  and conqueror of desire

	to say
Be the disease of saying 	Be the lifelong remedy
	   which 	                        whether you take it or not
	              certainly kills
Be the one who no longer is
	     a dab of the freedom of the void, a flight of three strides
out of thought's night	                    be

Because I’m jading

Translated by Anselm Hollo


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