Monday, 19 October 2009

Poem

by Anni Sumari

Trash, straw, spring ice.
The fields creak on their hinges
and fold open like a cargo hatch, for a moment
I can see straight into hell. There is nothing
down there. Just as I thought. Except bodies,
clean and smooth as porcelain, their surfaces tattooed all over
with those little blue flowers that people are encouraged
to paint on porcelain painting courses. Lies told to others
always have a reason, but the lies told to myself
make me ashamed. Nothing at all. In the nearby village
the roofs get goose-bumps from the rain’s touch and giant flowers
multiply. Chimneys wander to and fro
in their narrow spaces. The people sit in their wet coats
without moving, as if that way they get
less wet than the park benches and the chairs.
If now
you raise the hatch, lie down on the earth
and let the field slam shut on you,
you will never be able to come back. Trash. The remains
of last fall. Tales told to children.

Three jesting Fates, green-scaled,
bulge out from the roof shingles of the old church,
laughing, playing. There is no question of mercy
for a long time now. On the onion dome opposite
three golden archers blossom silently,
humourless, as if cast in metal. Ready
to stand with arrows in their bows for the rest of their lives.

A massacre? Once more, again, even later than
afterwards, how come it has never happened to me?
but I expect it happens to, among others, many
who are deeply guilty, unhappy, latent
self- or serial killers. All of this is rational
and identical with a certain paradigm, it fits
the ideal of Heavenly control. We have been told:
suffer the consequences of your actions, accept
the curse intended for you. No massacre. To the jungle
law will come only from illusions, strange interpretations
and the visions of seekers of transcendence.
Masses of nightingales, in distant souls
nightingales in their hundreds sing, in golden, green
ciphers. The dimensions are such that
the dimensions imagined by one are senseless
compared to the dimensions imagined by another.
Nothing. In that state of pain where one cannot pray
any more, one can still count, not forward, but backwards,
10, 9 , 8, 7... 0, and repeat it, 10, 9, 8, 7 and so on.

The end of the great rainbow is in a large
field. ”There came two blue angels, slender
as the spines of books” –– this too is someone’s vision. The howling
of the feet, in the tender crop. The dead fish of the torso.
At the top of the head the world’s end. You gods
remember it, and can tell us, all we have left
is a rumour, a faded image of the past.
I lie down on the earth and let
the field slam shut on me. I hear
a bird’s faint cry, but it
is outside. Outside as always,
now it comes inside. I have never
really been observant, but I do have ears,
oh yes, even now as I tell myself the truth
about what was what. Those quiet little sisters
who have God spread like poison
in their eyelids. The pearls of the necklace crumble
with a quiet crunch, like breaking radial bones. In the greenhouse
palaces of dreams silently nodding
on the water... In the bed another cockroach is
flattened. People anxiously tear bunches of
entrance tickets, trying to find an exit
from the present situation... The result of
time’s indecency, the weather, the individual crushed
by hurt feelings is charming -- like a modern fresco –
who made it, I wonder? Death painted without hands.
I lie indignantly under the ground, listening to
the springtime rumble of the dump-trucks.

translated from Finnish by David McDuff

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