Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Paavo Haavikko, "A Flower Song"

Paavo Haavikko, 1966

A Flower Song

The fir-trees at play;
comes raining down
O you, the wood-cutter's
steep as the mountains,
as gruff and as gorgeous,
if you never loved, if I
never loved (your
bitterest words
when we parted), O listen —
the cones, raining down upon you
abundantly, ceaselessly,
without mercy.

— tr. by Anselm Hollo

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Paavo Haavikko (1931-2008)

Life being short, poverty and wealth
     are final verdicts, in that
poverty and life are of equal duration
     and wealth and cold indifference
are perennial and hereditary, like diseases.

(from May, Eternal, 1988, tr. by Anselm Hollo)

And, briefly:
The old part (1754-1762) is known as
The Winter Palace.
Accordingly everything,
Floor, ceiling, walls
Is covered with these exalted beings:
Venus, Jupiter, many ladies
Of a full-bodied vintage.
You can still see how many a man
Lost head and hat
By the Berezhina River,
You can see that Borodino
Was a victory;

Of such
I'm talking, here,
Under the roof
Thatched by my hair.

(from The Winter Palace, 1959, tr. by Anselm Hollo)