Blesok no. 57, November-December, 2007

From Kun elän (“As I Live”)
Translated by Anselm Hollo

Jyrki Kiiskinen


There was no need to die,
had to stay here
and remember too much,

remember the snowy path
the shimmering foliage and mud,
look at the red trace

on the pole flashing by
and leave a message
on the answering service.


It is easy to leave
without looking back,
without remembering

a child’s words,
without enduring
the death of others,

without crawling out from
the scrap metal that was meant
to be a grave, to refrain

from waving when
the coffin continues
on its way, empty,

toward the permanent
exhibition of twisted
metal, toward

a child’s strings of words.
So much time
in the warehouse,

no one lives there,
the lights are still on
in the cabs of trucks

but the door does not
open, we have so
little room

to live so long
it goes on when
you cast the die.


What did I think about
    he asked
by the roadside
and still
keeps asking, even though
it was all cleaned up right away

it took only a moment
for the page to heal
   a jungle
of words to shoot up, and it
   covered, covered

in that sense
sentences are conceived
   he pushes
     into mouth,    sense-
lessly,    in the ruins of

     freedom,     in the camp
    where the same man
still lives,

    he walks
the same
      alleys    as
before,      buys
     the same
         foodstuffs,    in a moment's
madness       its capricious
        glitter      the road
leads to        the culprits'
       party        to a garden
where        we
      are compelled     to live
accursed       day
            is     a gift

is       a gift


A man takes his hat from the doorman,
finds his car keys,

this is the warrior’s fate: the desire
for power, over oneself at least,

to forget for a moment, grab the steering wheel,
defend his own lands, dreams, accounts:

to drive through the stone, determine
slavery’s boundaries;  shift up,

accelerate the expanse,
let the landscape flow unimpeded,

the view melts, dims
beyond dashboard and windshield.

He does what he wants, joins,
pierces, is born, dies, feels

himself to be real, just a light
pressure on the pedal and the stone’s weight

disappears, just a small evasive motion
and the girder’s hardness can’t be felt,

anywhere. The coma of substance is over,
objects rise out of their graves,

the depths of their names, no need to
trudge anymore, the forest a dim

green line, no need for a coat,
the car is another climate.

No need for bodily strength,
just turn that key,

the window green as you like it,
your mind nothing but this lane.


What did I
think then,
know then,

when I was
and free,

and running
away from
the force

of the sun,
that makes
the plants,

the trees
and even
flesh sway


And not a
one will

will not
wake up,
will not sleep.

(Translation by Roger McGough)


We are all
one coal,
a blind gambler’s
long ago.

the same old
hand still
works, it deals
the cards, the rocks
that fit in the hand,

so is it he who arranges
the stars in the sky,
the blind heroes,
the dead and the living,
the animals in the woods,

the eyes in the dark,
birds and machines
to fly in formations
spelling out
fate. your own.

hand must be
played without cheating
but with some
cunning, you must
make the most

of your cards,
the impossible.
My mind grows
the same rootstock
as this forest,

thought circles
the same track
as the planets
that travel

the sun’s
invisible axle,
I turn away
but you always follow
hard on my heels.


Gravity knows
no mercy,

love always
attracts the one

who flees his

even though his hand
left them there as a sign,

wiped them off,
he flees

toward fast
deeds to realize

desire, when
the sun’s mass

everything, me,

you, the passion
that flees

behind your back,
behind my back,

as I am still alive,
and read the day,

it radiates off the page,
I write it.

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