Thursday, 7 July 2011

Concerto grosso

by Lassi Nummi


Listen
to this tone,
tone of these days, this grass, these stones.
Tone of people, words and gazes
tone of the gazelle, of tiger, fallow deer and lark,
tone of streams, of a dark quiet room, of a distant forgotten fragrance..
Hear the tone of a dark room, of warmth – of icy brightness, of firm rising steps
tone of frozen seas, of breaking ice floes.
Tone of muscular bridges, of deed that is liberated into its realization
of movement that releases into its beauty,
of bow and arrow, of cloud and lightning, of avalanche, of echo
-- of steed bounding into a gallop.
Hear the tone of submission and defiance, of the hard cold and grey landscape
-- of misty cliff, of burning forest,
of boulders rising from foam
Listen to the tone of silence.

Hear the tone of opening lips – do not slip past it,
let your hand slip over the hair and hear its tone.
And hear the tone of steely weakness, of glassy strength,
and hear the tone of mirrors, be reflected, vanish, and be ready
at the moment of your birth, as you hear it,
tone of shattering mirrors:
tone that senses its form, tone of strength being liberated into its firmness:
Be born, step outside your mirrors and the shards of your mirrors and be free!
And be ready, and stretch out your hands to meet the hands that wait in the darkness.

So listen to what is left: the flowing tone of days and nights.
Hear the happy days and the mist and the wind and the rain and the clouds.
Do not forget the tone of affection, touch, of simple joy and the caressing gaze.
Do not flee the tone of death. The tone of death is bright, exhausted and free.
Leave the rest - leave the rest, and seek only the tone of silence
and build your dwelling beside it. When it is ready, when you stand in its doorway,
let the silence be silent, and let new voices ignite on the borders of muteness:
you listen to a new tone, all the voices of the world resound in it.
You are listen. You listen to every voice, you listen to every voice
and yet hear only one, -- distant, -- near, -- through them all.
No nights, no days, no love, no pain – no longer. Only a flowing tone
No beginning, no end. You are dead, you are alive. Take your crown, release your gaze
and listen, with forehead raised.

[from Tahdon sinun kuulevan, 1954]

translated from Finnish by David McDuff

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