Hannu Salakka, “In the Midst of Fear”

kuutostiensiltaFinnish Highway 6 bridge over the Vuoksi River in Imatra, South Karelia

Yön unet ovat sanomattoman hiljaisia,
maailma
josta ei muista muuta kuin
eläneensä.

Haaveilija nukahtaa aurinkoon
ja sulattaa siipensä,
vajoaa yöhön
ja sen metsään,
jossa minulla on rautaiset kynnet
ja terävät siivet
eikä yö ole hiljainen,
hammas puree hammasta vasten,
huohotus katkeaa,
kädet puristavat jokaisen tukahdetun äänen
kaikua joka parahtaa.

Ja joka aamu on herättävä keskelle kaikkea,
niin monen on käytävä peloissaan makuulle
ja moni herätetään kesken uniaan.

Joka aamu on herättävä keskelle
kaikkea pelkoaan,
laskettava käsi veljellisesti sen olkapäälle
ja sitten,
tunteettomasti ja uupumatta,
pakotettava se takaisin
päivänvaloon.

Night dreams are unspeakably quiet,
a world
of which nothing is remembered than
it lived its own life.

The dreamer falls asleep in the sun
and melts its wings,
subsiding into the night
and the forest
where I have iron claws
and sharpened wings,
and the night is not quiet.
Tooth grinds against tooth,
the panting breaks off,
hands stifle the echo of every pent-up voice
crying out.

Each morning waking up in the midst of everything.
So many must go to sleep in fear,
and many are woken in the middle of their dreams.

Having each morning to wake up in the midst
of all the fear,
Laying a brotherly hand on its shoulder
and then,
callously and tirelessly,
forcing it back
into the light of day.

Source: Hannu Salakka, Kuin unessa viipyen (Otava, 1990), p. 281. Translation and photo by Living in FIN

Scary US Elections: Americans in Lappeenranta Speak Out

Ariel Massengale (left) and Samarie Walker play for the Lappeenranta Katz basketball team. Photo courtesy of Kai Skyttä and Etelä-Saimaa
Ariel Massengale (left) and Samarie Walker play for the Lappeenranta Catz basketball team. Photo courtesy of Kai Skyttä and Etelä-Saimaa

Scary Elections
Kaisa Juntunen
Etelä-Saimaa
November 4, 2016

Scary. Really scary. Teacher Elena Barrett, who hails from Connecticut, describes the US presidential election in these terms. Ohio basketball player Samarie Walker and her Illinois teammate Ariel Massengale use the exact same expression.

“I’ll move from the country if Donald Trump wins. I don’t want a sexist, racist president,” Walker blurts out.

Walker has already inquired about whether she can get a visa to Canada or England.

“I’ve lived in many countries, and moving doesn’t seem impossible at all.”

Walker and Massengale say many of their friends are having the same thoughts.

“But they are hardly serious. If a person hasn’t been outside her own state, she is not likely to move abroad,” says Walker.

Talk of moving speaks to the fact people are really scared.

“I’m afraid racism would increase and the position of blacks would become harder if Trump were in power,” says Walker.

Walker believes the circumstances of many other groups, such as gays, would become more difficult.

Trump’s belligerence also appalls Walker.

“It sounds bad that Trump would have decision-making power over nuclear weapons.”

Walker and Massengale think Hillary Clinton has the right priorities, such as equal rights and education.

Massengale says she has exercised her right to vote. Despite her tough opinions, Walker neglected to vote.

Elena Barrett teaches at the Lappeenrannan Lyseo Upper Secondary School. Photo courtesy of Elena Barrett

Elena Barrett, who teaches at the Lappeenrannan Lyseo Upper Secondary School, closely follows the electoral battle in her homeland.

She earnestly hopes Donald Trump will not win. Barrett fears democracy in America will crumble if Trump comes to power.

“For a while it seemed Trump had no chance of winning, but the situation has changed now the FBI has begun to investigate Clinton’s emails again.”

Barrett believes the situation has tipped in an alarming direction and Trump may well win.

Even if Clinton won, the duel would not be over, in Barrett’s estimate.

“If Trump loses, he will hardly be satisfied with the outcome. For one, he would be in the media a lot, raising grievances and seeking to complicate Clinton’s job as president.”

Barrett has not voted herself.

“I’m resident of a state where the votes always go to the Democrats, i.e., Clinton, for whom I would have voted.”

Barrett supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries.

Barrett has noticed that Finnish high schoolers are very interested in the US elections and especially in Trump.

Translated by Living in FIN. The article was published in the print version of the newspaper (“Pelottavat vaalit,” Etelä-Saimaa, November 4, 2016, p. 6). The link, above, is to a slightly different version of the article published in the online edition.