Search results for "herbert lomas"

From life to life

30 June 1997 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Taivas päivystää (‘Sky on duty’, WSOY, 1996). Introduction by Tero Liukkonen

Flitting from dream to dream. Vanishings.
And you can’t even look.
What you looked with has been taken.
Then there’s more you know.
How helpless you are.
Then you know what Bottom meant
awake from his dream and trying to remember
what he’d lost. Then he did wake.
‘Man’s but a patched fool,’ he said,
‘if he’ll offer to say what methought I had.’

                                                                          Everything had gone topsy-turvy
                                                                          but she just went on feeling
                                                                                      she was hanging her head,
                                                                          she just went on feeling she was searching the lawn
                                                                                                   for a four-leaf clover,
                                                                          and the lawn had covered everything up
                                                                          and not a soul was troubling her.  More...

The next nine lives

30 September 1998 | Authors

Ilpo Tiihonen

Ilpo Tiihonen. Photo: WSOY/ C.G.Hagström

‘I was blamed by another translator for working with the early Ilpo Tiihonen,’ writes Tiihonen’s translator, Herbert Lomas; ‘He was supposedly superficial.’

It’s a mistake to confuse lightness of touch or facility with superficiality. Shakespeare himself, who wrote three plays a year and ‘never blotted a line’, must have had facility. And lightness of touch is a sign of intelligence and artistic security. Ilpo Tiihonen (born 1950) carries his intelligence and his reading of the Swedish and Russian classics (Fröding, Mayakovsky, Yesenin) without self-importance, which may not always pass for a paradoxical humility. More…


30 June 1979 | Archives online, Children's books, Fiction, poetry

Kirsi Kunnas

Kirsi Kunnas. Photo: Jyrki Luukkonen

Poems from Tiitiäisen satupuu (‘The Tittytumpkin’s fairy tree’, 1956)

The old water rat

There’s a shiver of a reed,
a rustle in the grass,
a slop-slopping through the mud:
Who’s that puffing past?

Who’s that peeping there?

A whiskery head
and a muddy tread.
It’s Old Mattie
Water Rattie.

Squeezing water from his eyes,
trickling from his sneezing nose,
freezing and sneezing.
Then: Oh dear Misery!
A-snee, a-snee, a-snizzery! More…

Two Poems

31 March 1977 | Archives online, Authors, Fiction, poetry

Eeva-Liisa Manner

Eeva-Liisa Manner, 1963. Photo: E. Lahtinen

Eeva-Liisa Manner (born 1921) has enjoyed a high reputation as a poet since the 50s. With Tämä matka (‘This journey’, Tammi 1956) she established herself as one of the leading poets of the period.

So far she has published 10 collections of poems. In addition, she has excelled as a playwright, novelist and
translator. Her three plays Uuden vuoden yö (‘New Year’s Eve ‘, Tammi 1965), Toukokuun lumi (‘Snow in May’, Tammi 1967) and Poltettu oranssi (‘A shade of burnt orange’, Tammi 1968) have acquired a permanent place in the repertory of many Finnish theatre companies. Her poetic drama Eros ja Psykhe (‘Eros and Psyche’, Tammi, 1959) has been published in German and a Swedish version of her novel Varokaa voittajat (‘Victors, beware’ Tammi 1972; Mainakes hundar, Schildt) was published in 1974. She was awarded the State Prize for Literature five times between 1952 and 1967, and has received two major prizes for her translations (the Mikael Agricola Prize in 1967 and the State Prize for Translators in 1975). Her poems reflect a deep feeling for music and a special interest in mythology. The influence of oriental philosophy is also clearly discernible. The strong intellectual content of her poetry and its disciplined technique have won her a circle of devoted readers, while her prose writings and her translations of Hermann Hesse and Oscar Parland have reached an even wider public. In a lighter vein, she has ventured into the field of detective novels. Her most recent work is one of humorous and satirical verse: the two poems below are from Kamala kissa (‘An awful cat’, Tammi 1976). While devotees of Old Possum will have no difficulty in recognizing the characters, those familiar with the present cultural scene in Finland may detect nuances never dreamed of by Eliot.

The poems have been ‘remodified’ into English by Herbert Lomas.

Jack, the Terror of the Thames

Jack was a yobbo who lived in an alley,
And his clobbering of rats could hardly be called pally.
He was one of pollution’s blackest of gems
And proud of his cognomen – the Terror of the Thames.

Big-shouldered he was, a good fifteen-pounder
And rejoiced in a furcoat that made him look rounder.
He’d an ear like an aerial, precise and pricked funny,
And only one eye, as hard as money. More…

Three short stories

30 June 1987 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

from Väärinkäsityksiä (‘Misconceptions’). Interview by Markku Huotari


Kaija couldn’t understand why she felt like laughing all the time.

‘As for me, what I stand for is good old-fashioned courtesy,’ he pointed out.

He’d got a soft, low, caressing voice. He rested his hand on Kaija’s shoulder. They’d got that far already. Kaija had decided to say yes, even though he hadn’t suggested anything yet. She was beginning to picture luxurious rooms, gourmet dishes, expensive drinks, and tender, passionate love­making.

‘Socially I’m a radical,’ he said. ‘Culturally a liberal, but in personal things an unshakeable conservative. A woman, in my view, is to be respected – I don’t consider that damaging to her independence. Too often, in today’s world, equality’s used to justify what are quite simply bad manners.’ More…


30 September 1979 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Introduction by Thomas Warburton


What about going up into the birch tree together
so high till it bends with our weight
and we’re thrown, two seeds on one dandelion chute
down into the lake and its quaking looking glass
There we wash around together without
a stitch on our feelings
We let ourselves sink down to the lakefloor and set up
house there for a time
Among the fakirs the watercolourists and the alcoholics
we can hear the water sprite fluting, all out of tune
like a gipsy band gone down with the ship. More…

Asking for more

14 April 2010 | Fiction, poetry

The heroines in Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen’s new collection, Iloisen lehmän runot (‘Happy cow poems’, 2009), are timeless creatures, mythical and archaic, and yet our contemporaries, living their lives alongside us (see Ruminations)

Let the cows out on Monday
and they’ll enter the forest, wander far
aim for the waterfalls, the hole in the rock and down the precipice.
The dead come back along our the road to our yard:
Rebecca, Isolde, Rosamunda.
Allison, Eulalia, Euphrosyne.
Not as ghosts but as old friends.
Whom will they, the wingless ones, protect here?
A lean lass, a lean lass. More…


31 December 1984 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Ilpo Tiihonen. Photo: Irmeli Jung

Ilpo Tiihonen. Photo: Irmeli Jung

Poems from From Eroikka (‘Eroica’, 1982). Introduction by Pertti Lassila

Ilpo Tiihonen (born 1950) published his first collection of poetry in 1975. From the beginning, his poems have been couched in the language of the street, and he uses slang liberally. Tiihonen has always been opposed to the miniature idylls of nature that were so characteristic of the 1970s. He aims at the secularisation of poetry, and he uses humour and comedy as a counterweight to high culture. He has evidently been influenced in his technique by Mayakovsky and Yesenin, to whom he often refers in his poems. His preferences in the poetic tradition are apparent in the fresh and liberal new interpretations of poems by Gustav Fröding contained in his collection Eroikka. Unusually for a contemporary Finnish poet, Tiihonen makes extensive use of rhyme. The result is often strongly lyrical poems that could almost be called modern broadsheet ballads, and may also bring Brecht to mind. More…

In the backwoods

30 June 2005 | Archives online, Authors, Reviews

A solitary writer who spent all his life in the Finnish wilderness, Pentti Haanpää (1905–1955) wrote hundreds of short stories, often using ambitious male characters to shine a satirical beam on Finnish society. Vesa Karonen introduces two of Haanpää’s short stories, ‘The Schoolmaster’s bicycle trip’ and ‘Saikansalo the racing cyclist’ from Heta Rahko korkeassa iässä (‘Heta Rahko at a great age’, Otava, 1947)

Piippola is a village in the precise middle of Finland on a boggy forest terrain, with meagre fields, far out in the wilds. The writer Pentti Haanpää’s parents had emigrated to the United States but returned in 1904; he was born in Piippola in 1905 and lived there until he drowned in a lake during an autumn storm.

Haanpää wrote ten novels and hundreds of short stories about people living surrounded by forest. His stories, often about lumbermen, vagabonds and ‘backwoods philosophers’ blend gloomy primordial backwoods life with satirical comedy and philosophical wisdom. More…

Bearded Madonna

31 December 1984 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Parrakas madonna (‘Bearded Madonna’, 1983). Introduction by Pertti Lassila

The first volume of poems by Eira Stenberg (born 1943) appeared in 1966; since then she has published both poems and children’s stories. In her most recent collection, she examines human relationships within the family, divorce, motherhood and childhood. Stenberg’s voice is clear and concrete. Her treatment of both mother and child is unsentimental, sometimes ironic; perceptively and far­sightedly she deals with the importance of childhood in the way it predestines the fate of the individual. No love or hate burns/ like that we receive as a gift from childhood, Stenberg writes in one of her poems. The home – protective, restrictive and punishing – is often the scene of her poems. The man, the father, is the butt of considerable irony and criticism, but Stenberg also destroys the myth of the madonna-like mother and the idyll of the home. More…

An intimation of Paradise

31 December 1984 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Paratiisiaavistus (‘An intimation of Paradise’, 1983). Introduction by Pertti Lassila

Satu Salminiitty (born 1959) has published only one collection of poetry since her first appeared in 1981, but with these two volumes she has achieved considerable success. She writes with a fine rhetoric using language and rhythm that are far removed from those of spoken Finnish. Religious pathos has a prominent place in her work, and her poems often derive from praise, prayer or even magic incantations; Salminiitty is a creator of vision who trusts to her metaphysical intuition, a quality not generally discernible among today’s Finnish poets. Equally rare is her lively faith in the goodness and beauty of people and of the world. A conscious rejoinder to materialism, pessimism and fear of the future can be read in her poems. More…

Narcissus in winter

31 December 1984 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

Risto Ahti

Risto Ahti. Kuva: Harri Hinkka

Poems from Narkissos talvella (Narcissus in winter’, 1982). Introduction by Pertti Lassila

Risto Ahti (born 1943) published his first work in 1975. His poetic expression finds form remarkably often in prose poems, and Narkissos talvella is made up exclusively of these. His poems transmute language into a mystical, surreal world, sometimes enigmatic and subjective in the extreme, and at its best strangely suggestive. It is as if Ahti’s world were in a state of constant change, subjected to a relentless process of demolition and rebuilding. The experience of the individual, generally his encounter with truth, is central to many of Ahti’s poems; the inner reality of a person manifests itself as more essential than the outward appearance. Ahti’s poems exhibit a fruitful contradiction: on the one hand, the accuracy with which he uses words and, on the other, the continual shape-changing and lack of definite boundaries of the world they describe. More…

Poems, poèmes

30 June 1987 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Poems from Mies joka rakasti vaimoaan liikaa (‘The man who loved his wife too much’, 1979 and Vaikka on kesä (‘Although it’s summer’, 1983).  Interview by Markku Huotari

Look at this epitaph with whiskers.
Threw herself so gladly into my troubles, sometimes she seemed to be bearing, properly, my burdens.
A dog called Julia. Combining
July and Yuletide.
Often thought of putting her down, so she wouldn’t need to die.
Smash her skull or break her neck
with my own hands, to stop her mourning her premature death.
Which still seems to be delaying.
She puts her four paws gently down, one at a time. So the Lord won’t hear her still about
and whisk her away.
Two years ago, she steps on some glass, her toe sticks out, a tendon’s cut.
She looks at me. Believe it or not,
I’m grieved by little Julia’s lot: for a second
I think the blood’s dripping from my own heart. More…

Family mysteries

31 March 2003 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Extracts from Einen keittiö, Eines kök (‘Eine’s kitchen’, Tammi, 2002). Introduction by Satu Koskimies

This sort of detached block of flats is as much of a living organism
as the folk dwelling in it.
For above are the brains and below are the intestines and outlets.

The upper floors were flaunting their kitchen taps, sink-tops,
lion-clawed sofas, mahogany chests and
sapphire-pendant crystal chandeliers, flashing the violet-tones of sea and
rain. More…

To live, to live, to live!

31 December 2001 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

From Kaukainen puutarha (‘A distant garden’, WSOY, 1924). Introductions by Vesa Mauriala and Leena Krohn

Flowering earth

The earth’s spilling out purple lilac clusters,
a rime of white rowan flowers,
constellations of red catch fly.
Crazy seas of blue, yellow and white flowers
ripple across the meadows.
And the smell!
More seductive than sacred incense!
The heathen smell of the earth’s skin –
hot and quivering, making you mad drunk!

To live, to live, to live!
Living the high moment of life with a rage,
petals wide open,
blossoming beautifully,
raving at your scent, at the sun –
living tipsily, the whole way!

So what if death’s coming!
or this wondrous multicolour’s
withering down to the earth?
Once at least there’s been a blossoming!
The sun – sky’s
mighty and burning love – has shone
straight into the flower heart,
down to the tremulous ovule of being!

Kukkiva maa

Maa kuohuu syreenien sinipunaisia terttuja.
pihlajain valkeata kukkahärmää.
tervakkojen punaisia tähtisikermiä.
Sinisiä, keltaisia, valkeita kukkia
lainehtivat niityt mielettöminä merinä.
Ja tuoksua!
Ihanampaa kuin pyhä suitsutus!
Kuumaa ja värisevää ja hulluksijuovuttavaa,
pakanallista maan ihon tuoksua!

Elää, elää, elää!
Elää raivokkaasti elämän korkea hetki,
terälehdet äärimmilleen auenneina,
elää ihanasti kukkien.
tuoksustansa, auringosta hourien –
huumaavasti, täyteläästi elää!

Mitä siitä, että kuolema tulee!
Mitä siitä, että monivärinen ihanuus
varisee kuihtuneena maahan.
Onhan kukittu kerta!
On paistanut aurinko,
taivaan suuri ja polttava rakkaus,
suoraan kukkasydämiin,
olemusten värisevään pohjaan asti!