Author: Aulikki Oksanen

Love is the only song

7 August 2014 | Fiction, poetry

Poems from Helise, taivas! Valitut runot (‘Ring out, sky! Selected poems’, Siltala, 2014). Introduction by Marja-Leena Mikkola

Who will tell me?

Who will tell me why white butterflies
strew the velvet skin of the night?
Who will tell me?
While people walk, mute and strange
and they have snowy, armoured faces,
such snowy faces!
and the eyes of a stuffed bird.

Who will tell me why in the morning, on the grass,
the thrushes begin their secret game?
Who will tell me?
While black soldiers stand at the gate
in their hands withered roses
such withered roses!
and broken tiger lilies.

Who will tell me, quietly in the sun’s shadow
how to bare my heart?
Who will tell me?
Come to me over the fields
Come close and softly
so softly!
Open the clothes of my heart. More…

The bodyguard

Issue 1/1991 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

An extract from Henkivartija (‘The bodyguard’), winner of the Runeberg Prize, 1991. Introduction by Suvi Ahola

When spring comes Ossi’s sister tries to reach him on the telephone. She is worried; it sounds as if Ossi is partying constantly. Mostly she is told that Ossi is asleep, Ossi has just gone out, Ossi does not feel like talking. Unknown women call her a whore, tell her to fuck off. In the background she can hear muffled roars, shouts of laughter, music, shouting, the clink of glasses.

Ossi’s sister is irritated to have been left to arrange the practical affairs relating to her father’s death. There will not be much to be had from the smallholding, squeezed between two roads, and the fields have long since been sold. All the same, you might have thought that Ossi would be interested in this possible source of funds; it isn’t as if he has a job, at least not a permanent one. More…