Arto Lappi: Five Tanka

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Varpunen kävi
koputtamassa lasiin
ja minun oli
juostava ulos heittämään
muutama kuperkeikka.

A sparrow strutted
while tap-tapping on a glass,
and I was supposed
to run out, launching myself
into several somersaults.

Talitiainen
aloitta kosintansa
ja sirkuttaa kuin
järkensä menettänyt:
Sammakko loikkaa lampeen.

A great tit commences
its mating and marriage dance.
It chirps and twitters
as if it has lost its wits.
A frog leaps into a pond.

Isketään hanskat
kottikärryjen sarviin,
kottarainen on
ehtinyt jo rakentaa
betoninmyllyyn pesän.

Work gloves are slapped down
on a wheelbarrow’s antlers.
A starling has found
the time to build a nest in
the concrete cement mixer.

Kuka jännittää
jousen, josta pääskyset
noin mutkaisesti
singahtelevat aina
kuitenkin maaliin osuen.

Who bends back the bow,
sending the swallows hurtling
in such crooks and curves,
nonetheless always hitting
the target straight on the mark?

Turha miettiä,
matka on jo alkanut:
parasta pitää
hatusta kiini, kyllä
tuuli aukaisee takin.

It’s pointless to think:
the trip’s already begun.
It’s best to hang on
to your hat, since all the same
the wind will open your coat.

Source: Arto Lappi, Kukko puusa (Turku: Sammakko, 2002), pp. 9–11, 13, 29

Translation and photograph by Living in FIN

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