Merja Virolainen (b. 1962) has published four collections of poems, Hellyyttäsi taitat gardenian (Because of Your Tenderness You Break a Gardenia, 1990), Tervapeili (Tar Mirror, 1995), Pilvet peittävät sisäänsä pilvet (Clouds Encompass Clouds, 2000) and Olen tyttö, ihanaa! (I’m a Girl, Wonderful!, 2004). She has also written a book about shamanism and witchcraft and a play called Täyttymyskomedia (Fulfilment Comedy, 1993). Virolainen has also worked as translator, translating Keats, Shelley, Dickinson and Indian modern poetry among others.
Lanterns shimmer on the garden’s branches,
the lilac has just burst into bloom –
the little man’s too short
to see farther down.
Is it lovers on the swing,
entwined, flowers pinned to their chests?
The swing squeaks, complains,
piglet and chicken sizzle on the grill,
a hot wind wafts across the boy’s face.
At the window, a cat licks her paws,
the made-up night walks in the garden
“Come into love’s enchanted
Time ceases here, and so does
lovers never grow old,
the well’s playful mirror never
and the night, the night is
always young here.”
What does the song mean? The boy does not know,From Pilvet peittävät sisäänsä pilvet (Clouds Encompass Clouds), 2000. Translated from the Finnish by Anselm Hollo.
his stick keeps knocking against the fence,
kicking his skateboard along with a ragged sneaker:
the fence is too tall
for him to see what happens
on the other side.
- Bottles clink, glasses break
- What´s the use of prolonging,…
- You put out my heart, like a cig…
- Bear Park
- That pimply-faced Narcissus
- Friend, against my will
- This parting of ours, how many…
- Quietly sighing like sand
- I close my eyes and open again
- Oh back, shimmery parchment
- This time next year
- No, he didn’t grow yet
- Afterwards everyone leaves
- Say, my sagacity, goodbye
- I am the last poem
- There are no neon lights in Hels…
- By speaking from close by
- Nothing has been
- When a curlew cries
- Mother’s scent is powder
- Grandma, your tissue-paper face…
- Autumnal night pauses as I pause