The stone’s silence

Issue 2/2000 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

From Kiven vaitiolo (‘The stone’s silence’, Tammi, 1999). Introduction by Peter Mickwitz

I buried you
    in an onion field 
the way to take care of a love whose stems 
suddenly rupture, tubes break
   the earth's covered by 
chickweed, goose foot and red-veined 
leaves of sorrel, deep down 
the inflamed wound, as sand that glints 
in the soil, underground 
golden domes and weeping under the crust
    I tear 
with dry hands the green and you do not hear 
    because you are cry and dirt 
and onion and God and a man who's been thought
   into the ground 
and the sun is wise and hot, underground 
the trees' root systems are fishing
    for strength
there is enough left for a sigh

You have become
shoes flopping on feet, 
hands fallen away from body 
hang like palm branches from shoulders, 
wooden bowl knocks on chest, in the crotch 
cracked river meadow clay, a thousand empty 
butterflies  ground into dust in the air.
You are like an old man arrived 
from a foreign country by accident, at the wrong party 
a turner of hat brim, eater of moss 
as the sun drives you into the marsh, you are 
the language gallows that harvests the sky.


From the houses of loved women 
gentle breathing is heard
inside the light 
    is on, the outside clouds over 
with potted lilies, ladles, cups and whisks
    every-carpet knows how to fly, puffs 
of thin sighs rise from every-chimney, the wind 
    flutters ribbons of tulle
hair has been folded onto the sandy path
   you can walk 
to the house on that hair 
fingernail fragments rustle in a jar 

carefully, calmly the women bend down 
    under the evening lamp, the page turns 
the new ink smells like dust


I wanted to write for four voices 
like a chair, or a horse, 
four human throats shaping the air, 
singing up from the hooves, growing out of the ground 
like four trees of equal height
become one and 
it is a grief 
you can mount
it is death 
galloping on the pavement, 
warm back of a horse 
you straddle
solidly as in the void 
with a fine posture at the edge of the picture 
words girded by griefs harness.

Translated by Anselm Hollo


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