Johanna Venho, “The Whole Evening is Youful”

kekkola-rappunen-evening

Koko ilta sinun-täysi
(kun mökki hämärtyi ja ikkuna lahdelle
oli elävä taulu, kesäkuunyö),
oikaisen metsän läpi, sormien lomasta valuu
muistia, vanhaa laulua, kivimurskaa, en saa keuhkoihin
kylliksi ilmaa, siipisulkia, kaikki hipoo,
en saa kiinni

The whole evening is youful.
(The cottage blurred, the window overlooking the bay
a tableau vivant, a June night.)
I take a shortcut through the woods: memories, an old song, rubble
slip through the holiday’s fingers. I cannot get enough
air, wing feathers into my lungs. Everything closes in.
I cannot be caught.

Source: Johanna Venho, Postia Saturnukseen (WSOY, 1998), p. 40. Photo and translation by Thomas H. Campbell

Jorma Etto, “Mothers”

fog

Äidit
Siellä ne, osastolla, synnyttäneet,
petinsä pohjalla pötköttävät,
tyytyväiset tytöt,
ruusun ja maidon makeassa hajussa,
mahdottoman mellevinä,
möyheinä möykkinä, hymyhyytelöinä.
Tupakkirullat tuu tuu tuotiin,
lirulirkutus lirisi,
tussutettiin, tassutettiin, tuputettiin,
lettas-sentään, tissin-tassin,
omenaista, olevaista,
pehmokaista pullukaista paijatella,
maamotella makeaista
ilo on, on onni,
nänni nauraa, koko äiti.

Mothers
They are there, in the ward, after birthing,
cuddled deep in their cots,
contented lassies,
smelling sweetly of rose and milk,
impossibly, incomparably cozy,
super succulent blobs, smiling jellies.
The cigars were ro-ro-rolled,
there was dribbling, cooing, and gurgling,
fiddling, tiptoeing, and foisting,
dear oh dears, pitter patters.
Joy it is, a happiness
mothering a sweet thing,
snuggling a soft chubby,
an appley entity.
The nipple giggles, the whole mother.

Source: Jorma Etto, Suomalainen ja muut valitut (Oulu: Pohjoinen, 1985), p. 52. Photo and translation by Thomas H. Campbell

Jorma Etto, “Life Is”

clouds over the vuoksi

elämä on
niin suurena niin tavoittamattomana
oli elämä edessäsi
ja sinä sanoit itsellesi
ennen kuin kaiken jätät
kaiken myös ymmärrät

nyt
kun käännyt katsomaan taaksesi
kun uskallat sen tehdä
näet elämän
yhtä suurena yhtä tavoittamattomana
ja poikasi näet
seisovan hautakivesi äärellä
pitäen kädestä jotakin konttorityttöä
(hautausmaan rauhassa heilläkin
on tilaisuus olla oma itsensä)
ja kuulet poikasi kuiskaavan
hänen suloiseen pikku korvaansa
salaisuuden jota sinä et ymmärtänyt
elämä on
(niin hän kuiskaa
ja hän tietää)
elämä on

life is
life confronted you
so great so unattainable
and you said to yourself
before you left it all
you would understand it all, too

now
when you’ve turned to look back
when you dare to do it
you see life
just as great just as unattainable
and you see your son
standing before your tombstone
holding the hand of some office girl
(in the cemetery’s calm they have
a chance to be themselves)
and you hear your son whispering
into her sweet little ear
the secret you didn’t understand
life is
(so he whispers
and he knows)
life is

Source: Jorma Etto, Suomalainen ja muut vaalitut (Oulu: Pohjoinen, 1985), p. 5. Photo and translation by Thomas H. Campbell

Blueberry Tarte Tatin

Timjami (thyme) is my favorite word in Finnish, which is just as well because thyme is one of my favorite herbs. I have cooked it fresh countless times in traditional (apple) tarte tatin and various other dishes. I am sure it will not be out of place in this summertime pie, in which mustikka (blueberry), found throughout Finland’s extensive woodlands, replaces the apples (omenoita) usefully found in the famous French upside-down pie. {LIF}

mk0518_mika_mustikka2_preview_pSe99

Blueberry Tarte Tatin: The Summer’s Most Wonderful Pie Does a Somersault
Text: Mika Rampa • Photo: Satu Nyström
meillakotona.fi

The secret to the taste of the upside-down pie known as blueberry tarte tatin tarte is thyme, which deepens the blueberry’s woodsy flavor. Bake the little pies in blini pans (or other small ovenproof frying pans), so everyone gets his or her own individual serving.

Ingredients (4 servings)

Pastry Crust
75 grams butter (at room temperature)
1 deciliter sugar
1 egg
2 deciliters flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2–1 teaspoon cardamom

Filling
75 grams butter
1 deciliter brown sugar
8 sprigs thyme
3 tablespoons citrus liqueur*
3 deciliters blueberries

Serving
2 deciliters whipping cream (whipped)

Cooking time: 55 min {active–35 min; passive–20 min}

Bake blueberry tarte tatin as follows:

  1. Mix the butter and sugar in a bowl. Add the egg. Combine the flour, baking powder, and cardamom in another bowl. Add the flour mixture to the first bowl and mix until you have a smooth dough. Place it in the refrigerator.
  2. Add the butter, brown sugar, and thyme sprigs to a frying pan. Let simmer until the sugar has melted. Add the citrus liqueur and blueberries. Remove the pan from the stove.
  3. Press the dough on the pan or pans with a rolling pin. Make sure the pastry crust fits the pan exactly and it is on top of the blueberries.
  4. Bake the tarte tatin in an oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the pan’s size.
  5. Put a plate over the baked pie and swiftly turn it upside down to serve.

* You can easily substitute lemon juice for the citrus liqueur.

Translated by Living in FIN

Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen, “Contrary to Popular Belief”

nine.JPG

Toisin kuin luullaan, useat asiat tulevat valmiiksi,
sellaisiksi kuin niiden halutaan tulevan.
Vapaudesta puhutaan kuin valinnasta,
pidetään hengitys tasaisena että ilma kantaa
höyhentä.
Voi nostaa vihreän rinkan selkään,
vähemmän se painaa kuin omat hartiat.
Saa puhua viidellä kielellä siitä mistä puhetta riittää,
eikä muutosta ole havaittavissa kun siiryymme
paikasta toiseen; kiinnitämme huomioon
samaan maisemaan, siihen jonka omin silmin näemme.

Ajojää sulaa pyörien alla ja vuoret kolahtelevat toisiinsa,
jättiläisen kyynärpäät. Ajamme peräkkäin autoilla
kuuntelemaan valaan röyhtäilyjä. Kun tuuli yltyy,
alkaa tärisyttää, silmät ja tasapainoaisti antavat eri viestin.
Mutta ei hätää:
pahoinvointiin auttaa piste
jonka rantaviivalta löydämme, se johon taas on tuijotettava.

Olemme syyttömiä,
miljoonia vuosia vanhat ruhot painuvat pinnan alle.
Niin meidät harppunoidaan
kesken lauseen, kesken haukotuksen

eikä mikään voi torjua lohtua.

* * * * * * * * *

Contrary to popular belief, many things emerge intact,
just as one would want them to turn out.
Freedom is spoken of as a choice.
One breathes steadily so the air holds
a feather aloft.
You can lift the green rucksack on your back:
it weighs less than your own shoulders.
You may speak in five languages about something when a chat would do,
nor is change observable when we move
from place to place. We fix our gaze
on the same landscape, towards what see with our own eyes.

Drift ice melts under the wheels, and mountains bump into each other,
a giant’s elbows. We drive one after another in cars
to hearken to a whale’s belches. When the wind blows harder,
it begins to shake, and the eyes and sense of balance send a different message.
Not to worry:
nausea is alleviated by a point
we locate on the shoreline, a point toward which we must stare again.

We are blameless,
carcasses, millions of years old, sinking below the surface.
We are thus harpooned
in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of a yawn

nor can anything ward off consolation.

Source: Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen, Sakset kädessä ei saa juosta (WSOY, 2004), p. 29. Translation and photo by Thomas H. Campbell

10 Reasons to Eat Strawberries

It is a tiny miracle that strawberries grow this far north. It is even more of a miracle that Finnish strawberries are supremely delicious, perfectly succulent and sweet.

Finns celebrate this miracle by eating as many strawberries as they can while they are in season.

They also honor strawberries by incorporating them into desserts concocted only on the most festive occasions, such as the strawberry whipped cream cake our downstairs neighbor Maija makes on her birthday, her name day, and her husband’s name day,  which all take place in July and August, during and just after the peak of the all-too-brief Finnish strawberry season.

Maija’s strawberry whipped cream cake is to die for, by the way.

But strawberries are not just delicious, they are good for you, too, as I was reminded yesterday by this placard at the pop-up strawberry stand at my local grocery store.

ten reasons to eat strawberries

10 Reasons to Eat Strawberries

  • It improves the immune system.
  • It maintains eyesight.
  • It prevents cancer.
  • It firms up the skin.
  • It lowers cholesterol.
  • It makes the joints work better.
  • It lowers blood pressure.
  • It improves digestion.
  • It helps control weight.
  • It is positively yummy.

 

Photo and translation by Living in FIN