Paavo Haavikko
Translated by Anselm Hollo
from The Winter Palace

The Fourth Poem

This poem wants to be a description,
And I want poems to have
Only the faintest of tastes.
Myself l see as a creature, hopeful
As the grass.
These lines are almost improbable,
This is a journey through familiar speech
Towards the region that is no place,
This poem has to be sung, standing up,
Or read without voice, alone.

What else did I say.
I said that every thing lies outside,
And I am here.
I hung from the trees like the birds on the trees.
All doors are locked

Day and night passing, I sign them
Without caring, not reading,
Like the newspaper
Or any useless document.
While sleep stays awake, I sleep,
And in my sleep I say: I.

This forest is dense,
Full of scrawny trees, and they are afraid:
Here, in this forest, the voice moves dripping with sweat,
This is a region where trees open up, in here
The blind tree forgets that it can be seen.

A hollow region, and all in accordance,
The forest burst into flower to confuse me;
Should I compare myself to the unborn one
Who was out of luck,
Who was swallowed by flesh that was elastic and soft
And every inch, a bitch. . .

I did not know what it was like
To be

I wanted to fall silent,
To eat the words and change,
Be forced to change, as I was forced to be born.

I have come this far: the house lies in the centre,
I've come to the table, to hold the pen, and down, to the
       sheet of paper,
It is very northerly here, but my mind is a thicket,
This is a poem I'm writing, in the fall, at night, alone
And who is not I?
Nothing out of the ordinary, here,
Here? even here:
Someone who wants to go far has reason to get happy
Too soon.

I am only an image in this poem,
Full of mind,
Not wanting to know why the fruit does not flower,
I ask myself who cares for these goods, this mind
Thrown into the scale, it floats in the air, a round ship,
Leisurely, running before the wind.

I came through the forest,
Went on from line to line.

As soon as you're born
They let you peer up at the stars; are they there.
This insatiable greed in me,
Suddenly turned into sadness.
The rain, pouring down,
And what
Is poetry?

I want to tell you:
A small house, narrow, high, and a room
Where I am writing this.
Yet, I imagine it all to happen,
And who is not alone
And who is not the world?

I want to be
Silent about all
That gives rise to speech.
I want to turn back
Where I come from.