Monday, 20 September 2010

The art of aphorism

Over the past 25 years Finnish poet and scholar Markku Envall (b. 1944) has pubished seven collections of aphorisms, a literary genre particularly favoured in Finland, where it has a long tradition stretching back to the nineteenth century. Envall's seventh collection has just been published by WSOY, but these are a few examples I've translated, drawn from earlier collections, courtesy of Aforistiblogi:
He loved Bach as the music of the future. Bach was the only sure thing he knew about it.
Break out of prison, at every moment.
          Life a dream? If a nightmare, it has a happy ending. Awakening.
You think you are using the machine. The machine is using you. 
          It is frowned upon to eat so much at the table that the other goes without. Not so
          in the world at large.
The trees will  be there when you are gone. When the trees are gone you will not be there. 

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