Pentti Saarikoski
from Trilogy: The Dark One's Dances
translated by Anselm Hollo

"On Theory Road"


On Theory Road, in the afternoon
             Stupidity and Malice assailed me
                                       Stupidity sat on a pile of rotting wood
                                                    and hissed through wrinkled lips
                                       you're stupid
             a little higher up, under the wild rose bush
                                                                Malice was hiding
             its forehead wavy it screeched you're malicious
                          I climbed the steps to the dance floor
                                       summer skies called me
to dance with them, but I refused, lay down
                          on my back
                                       in the grass, listened