Electric Verses

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Pentti Saaritsa

Pentti Saaritsa

Pentti Saaritsa (b. 1941) first collection of poems, Pakenevat merkit (Fleeing symbols) was published in 1965. Since that he has published about twenty more. Saaritsa has also made numerous translations, especially of Latin American poetry.


December sans snow, a fortress of darkness
full of little twinkles of domestic yard trees
clusters of Arctic fireflies,
cautious ceremonial light,
but the holiday arrives only too soon: a chilly
black-lung storm from the southwest, sturdy
as a city built out of wind,
it rattles every last piece of loose metal,
makes every gate squeak, and roars all long night long
across metal rooftops like distant thunder.
An overripe autumn, a fifth season
traversed by no resolution;
only habit helps, torpor
and the ever reliable crankshaft,
the planet’s motion.

From Elävän mieli (A Living Mind), 1999. Translated by Anselm Hollo.

  • December sans snow
  • A mild winter is a state of mind
  • Light again, after snowfall
  • In a minute, a warm embrace
  • A winter day like the parable…
  • the tenses of language
  • and my favourite thought
  • alone
  • I’ll leave tomorrow
  • NOW
  • We looked into each other’s eyes
  • the same familiar sonata