Eeva Kilpi, “One Morning the Earth”

Eräänä aamuna maapallo havahtui ja ravisti ihmiset harteiltaan kuin syöpäläiset, kyllänsä saaneena, myös maailmanparantajat. He roiskahtivat avaruuteen kuin täit tai tähdet. Muutaman itsetietoisen poliitikon se tappoi kynnellään, muutamia porvareita se potkaisi persuksiin ja muutaman rähisevän radikaalin se puhalsi ilmaan kuin höyhenen. Ja kun se oli taas pitkästä aikaa vapautunut näistä herhiläisistä, se huokasi syvään, asettui lepäämään ja alkoi kukkia joka rakosestaan.


One morning the earth, full of days, awoke suddenly and shook the people from its shoulders like vermin, including the reformers. They splattered into outer space like parasites or stars. It clawed a few conceited politicians to death, kicked a few bourgeois in the backside, and blew a few brawling radicals into the atmosphere like feathers. When a long time had passed since it liberated itself from these hornets, it sighed deeply and settled down to rest, and its every crack and crevice began to blossom.

Source: Eeva Kilpi, Laulu rakkaudesta ja muita runoja (WSOY, 1972). Translation and photo by Living in FIN

Eeva Kilpi, “A Song of the Love of Trees and Animals”


Eeva Kilpi
Laulu rakkaudesta puihin ja eläimiin

Nyt minä laulan rakkaudesta
puihin ja kukkiin ja eläimiin.
Pysähdy, katso, ne vaarassa ovat,
suojele niitä, oi suojele niitä.

Tervehdi kukkaa, kumarra sille,
polvistu lehdokin edessä.
Anna sen kasvaa, älä taita ja tallaa,
se kuihtuu sinun vaasisi vedessä.

Anna sen kasvaa, anna sen olla,
se on olento siinä kuin sinäkin.
Joka ruoho tuntee, joka eläin pelkää,
se on kohtalotoveri ihmisen.

Minä laulan sinulle rakkaudesta
puihin ja metsiin ja harjuihin.
Pysähdy, katso, ne silmissä siintää.
Oi, että siintäisi vastakin.

Ei ole ihminen tuhonnut vielä
kaikkea metsää, onneksi ei.
Pahaa on tehty, paljon on mennyt,
niin monta korpea ahneus vei.

Vaan yhä minä laulan voimasta jonka
vain metsä voi antaa sydämeen,
voimasta joka saloilta huokuu
avuksi tuskaan ja sairauteen.

Oi veljeni kuusi, siskoni koivu,
mäntyni, haapani, leppäni oi,
vaahtera, paju, paatsama, tuomi,
pihlajat, katajat kansani,

joukkoonne minut ottakaa mukaan,
syliinne minut sulkekaa,
suruni teidän suruunne liitän,
hätäni teidän kanssanne jaan.

Yhä kukkii niitty, lentää höyty,
puhkeaa silmu ja lehti ja nuppu,
yhä venyy norkko ja punertaa käpy,
tuoksuu neulanen, pihka ja suo.

Olen mutaa ja suota, olen sieni ja sammal,
olen mättäällä karpalo, lakka ja kyy.
Samaa kipua kannan, samoin säikyn ja pelkään,
minä pyydän vain olla, en osta, en myy.

Minä laulan vielä rakkaudesta
lintuihin, mäyriin ja ilveksiin.
Ne vaarassa ovat, kuolema vaanii,
suojele niitä, oi suojele niin.

Eläimen silmistä jumala katsoo
sinua silmiin, tunnetko sen?
Älä käänny pois, älä pakene, torju,
kohtaa totuus surullinen.

Kohtaa eläimen jumalan-katse,
sinulta apua pyytää se nyt.
Rauhaa ja oikeutta se vaatii,
Jumala sortoon on kyllästynyt.

Jätä lehdot ja kummut jumalan käydä,
rannat jumalan soudella,
jumalan lentää ja jumalan kukkia,
jumalan uida ja pöristä.

Vapauteen vangittu elämä kaikki,
ihminen, kahleet kaikilta pois!
Ei ole luonto vain ihmistä varten,
luonto on luojasi, muista se.

Oi veljeni puu, oi siskoni heinä,
oi sukuni suuri: eläimet.
Samaa kudetta ollaan, samaa verta ja tuhkaa,
samaa ahdistusta ja unelmaa.


Eeva Kilpi
A Song of the Love of Trees and Animals

Now I shall sing of the love
of trees and flowers and animals.
Stop and look: they are in danger.
Protect them, o protect them.

Greet the flower, bow to it.
Kneel before the grove.
Let it grow: don’t trample and break it.
It will wither in your vase’s water.

Let it grow, let it be.
It is a being in the same way you are.
Every blade of grass feels, every animal knows fear.
It shares man’s plight.

I shall sing to you of the love
of trees and woods and ridges.
Stop and look: they loom before your eyes.
Oh, would that they would go on looming.

Man has not yet destroyed
all the woods, fortunately.
Bad things have been done, much has been lost.
Avarice has consumed so much wildnerness.

But still I shall sing of the power
only the forest can grant the heart,
the power emanating from the wilds,
helping us bear anguish and illness.

O brother pine, sister birch,
my pine, my aspen, my alder,
maple, willow, buckthorn, hackberry,
rowan, the junipers of my people,

take me into your throng,
enclose me in your embrace.
I shall join my sorrow with your sorrow,
I shall share my distress with you.

The meadow still blossoms, the fuzz flies.
Bud and leaf still burst open.
The catkin still stretches, and the cone reddens.
Needle, resin, and swamp are redolent still.

I am mud and swamp. I am mushroom and moss.
I am cranberry, cloudberry, and viper in a hassock.
I endure the same pain. I spook and scare the same way.
I just ask to be. I neither buy nor sell.

I shall also sing of the love
of birds, badgers, and lynx.
They are in danger: death stalks them.
Protect them, o protect them.

God looks through animal’s eye
into your eyes. Do you feel it?
Don’t turn away, don’t run away—fight back.
Face the sad truth.

Face animal’s God-gaze.
It asks you now for help.
It demands peace and justice.
God is weary of the oppression.

Let God’s groves and hillocks grow.
Let God’s beaches go for a row.
Let God fly and let God flower.
Let God swim and buzz.

Free all captive life,
man, remove the chains from everything!
There is no nature for man alone.
Remember nature is your creator.

O brother tree, o sister grass.
O my great family of animals.
We are made of the same weft, the same blood and ash,
the same anguish, the same dreams.


Originally published in Eeva Kilpi, Animalia (WSOY, 1987). Translation and photos by Living in FIN

Eeva Kilpi, “Fart Hard in Your Own Hut”


Pieraista kovaa omassa tuvassa.
Joskus sitä on valmis epäröimättä
uskomann kapitalismiin.

* * * * * *

Fart hard in your own hut.
Sometimes it is unhesitatingly ready
to believe in capitalism.

—Eeva Kilpi, Runoja 1972–1976 (WSOY, 1978), p. 40. The poem was chosen using the True Random Number Generator at Photo and translation by Living in FIN

* * * * * *

The photo, above, is of an empty “fish restaurant,” built near Ukonniemi Beach on Lake Saimaa in Imatra, South Karelia, by the city government and their favorite private contractors at great expense to the once-beautiful natural environment and local taxpayers.

Although no restaurateurs had agreed to lease or operate the future restaurant when the project was mooted and approved by city planners and city councilors, the constructionn of the “fish restaurant,” which involved felling hundreds of trees, building black-topped car roads where once there had only been soft footpaths, and dozens of other kinds of deviltry disguised as “landscaping” and “improvements,” went ahead anyway.

The initial phase, the destruction of the original, gorgeous landscape, ran into considerable cost overruns, and project managers found themselves asking the city for more money to keep up their wave of mutilation.

Several years later, no one has emerged operate or lease the restaurant, although the building is ostensibly ready to fry up fish fingers and put them all in a line.

The restaurant would be a great opportunity for any shyster who wants to go in and out of business in less than a year, because the wonderful Nuotta Restaurant and Smokehouse, located on the other side of Ukonniemi Beach, has been doing land-office business ever since it added a rooftop terrace last summer.

The food and atmosphere at the Nuotta are nonpareil, as all its regular and irregular customers know, and its view of Imatra Harbor and Laimassaari is stunning. On a warm, sunny day, I could sit there for hours, just sipping a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.

Even my dog thinks Nuotta is the cat’s meow. He once forced me to go there, after a long walk through the forest, so we could sit there for half an hour and just inhale the view. I had to order a cup of coffee and a doughnut to justify our odd-couple presence on the veranda. My dog was immeasurably pleased.

So why would such a tiny harbor need another fish restaurant? This isn’t “innovation,” as the current so-called bourgeois Finnish government would call it. This is sheer stupidity that was egged on local decision-makers by the construction lobby, who are always trying to drum up new projects for themselves, whatever cost to the built heritage, environment, and taxpayers, and whether their dubious improvements are really needed by flesh-and-blood, paying customers and townsfolk or not. LIF