Author: Rakel Liehu

Change the words

30 March 2008 | Fiction, poetry

Poems from Bul bul (‘Bulbul’, WSOY, 2007). Introduction by Karri Kokko


Which street was it? A question in a poem doesn’t demand an answer, it’s
itself, like that accurate filter, a blood-soaked liver –

The city was a giant, budging my brains, the fireworks’
ash trailed down to earth, the clowns screeched, a book’s face
was waiting like a child’s face,
and they began swarming out, releasing themselves from signposts,
neon signs, from the pages of a closed book (smelling of a dried
ranunculus), from graves, from a woman’s abhorrent womb – More…

In the mirror

Issue 3/2003 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Extracts from the novel Helene (WSOY, 2003). Introduction by Leena Ahtola-Moorhouse

It was raining that day, and I was leafing through art books, as I often do, in the bookshop. Then I happened to pick up a work in which there was a picture; a bowl of apples, one of which was black.

Stories often begin like this, inexplicable as deep waters, secret as an unborn child which moves its mouth in the womb as if it wished to speak. For people do not seek mere understanding… people seek the sulphurous, tumultuous shapes of clouds; people seek bowls of apples of which one is black.

I bought the book and made an enlargement of the still life; on the wall, it was even more remarkable, for its correct position was standing up, tête à tête, looking straight at you, unblinking.
The apples seemed to move, to speak. I began to ponder them more and more. In the end I had to read everything I could lay my hands on about the still life’s painter. I had to visit Hyvinkää, where she lived for a long time, and touch her tree in Tammisaari with my hand. I had to travel as far as Brittany to see the rugged landscape that meant so much to her. More…

The scorpion’s heart

Issue 2/1998 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems From Skorpionin sydän (‘The scorpion’s heart’, WSOY, 1997). Introduction by Jyrki Kiiskinen

Earth’s hot womb brought to a boil
the grain ripens

among your golden chaff
and sharp awns
you walk and listen

        The Stranger
here it found a place, 

its dark apartments glittered
 the dead
perfumed, trembled

and now
through the small cremation hatch
you see
see how the coffin thunderously
flares, disappears
in elemental fire