Author: Timo Harju

Memory in my hands

19 August 2010 | Fiction, poetry

A couple of years ago Timo Harju chose the non-military alternative to national service and was detailed to work at an old people’s home. Its director warned him that its inhabitants were ‘no sweet old grannies and grandpas’. Harju thought this might be a joke. In his first collection of poems, entitled Kastelimme heitä runsaasti kahvilla (‘We watered them abundantly with coffee’, Ntamo, 2009), he patiently gathers fragments of dreams and fears, memories and forgotten songs in the house of oblivion, treating them with gentle empathy. Commentary by Pia Ingström

Ward A5, Thursday

The clouds in the nursing home corridors, sky-open springlike after a bathe
and forgotten, in a frayed blue dressing-gown beside an osiery.
The grannies in the nursing home corridors, the last beautiful pride
you keep in a small wooden box behind your forehead:
if the lid opens by accident all the things may drop to the floor
topsy-turvy you won’t be able to find them, your back won’t let you
you won’t recognise them any more even if you do,
the springtime tears your insides to pieces.
Here they come, the grannies.
Better to stay here indoors, the journey to the dining room is a rough one
exposed like this
a long way and all by sleigh.
You stare at the keyhole: the clouds are coming. More…