Saturday, 8 August 2009

The mailbox

Hannu Marttila, writing about Joseph Brodsky's grave in Venice:

Leaning against the gravestone is an ordinary steel mailbox, of the familiar kind that lines the roadsides and suburban streets of Finland, though without an address on the side. Behind the box a dozen lead pencils wait.

- - - - -

On top of the beautifully curving marble slab someone has placed two red granite stones that have been polished by water until they are round. They are probably a reminder of the Gulf of Finland shore, which Brodsky loved.

I would have brought a basket of mushrooms. If Orpheus could entice his dead spouse from Hades by his playing, Brodsky could probably be induced to return by the smell of mushroom stew. After all, we managed to persuade him to come to Finland at mushroom-picking time in 1988, in the midst of all his Nobel rush.

And remember, Iosif or Joseph, waterbuses 41 and 42 will take you from the cemetery back to town. Next time I visit I will put a waterbus ticket in your mailbox.

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