Author: Johan Ludvig Runeberg

Bitter moments, luscious moments

Issue 1/2004 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Fänrik Ståls sägner (Tales of Ensign Stål, 1848–1860) and Dikter II (‘Poems II’. 1833), translated by Judy Moffett. Introductions by Pertti Lassila and Risto Ahti

Sven Duva

Sven Duva’s sire a sergeant was, had served his country long,
Saw action back in ‘88, and then was far from young.
Now poor and gray, he farmed his croft and got his living in,
And had about him children nine, and last of these came Sven.

Now if the old man did, himself have wits enough to share
With such a large and lively swarm – to this I cannot swear;
But plainly no attempt was made to stint the elder ones,
For scarce a crumb remained to give this lastborn of his sons. More…


Issue 4/1985 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Introduction by George C. Schoolfield

Birds of passage

Ye fleet little guests of a foreign domain,
When seek ye the land of your fathers again?
When hid in your valley
The windflowers waken,
And water flows freely
The alders to quicken,
Then soaring and tossing
They wing their way through;
None shows them the crossing
Through measureless blue,
Yet find it they do.

Unerring they find it: the Northland renewed,
Where springtime awaits them with shelter and food,
Where freshet-melt quenches
The thirst of their flying,
And pines’ rocking branches
Of pleasures are sighing,
Where dreaming is fitting
While night is like day,
And love means forgetting
At song and at play
That long was the way. More…