‘One stray look and you’ll fall
Into a strange country, the strangeness will fall
Through you, just as I fell out of
The world’s confines, and am still falling.’
Finland of snowdrops,
Finland of sparkling slender
And you, Tua, small frail and radiant fairy
Among the dewy grasses of morning!
How vast are the blue spaces
Of your soul!
How well you know the art of filling your eyes
With crystalline joy
And the freshness of wild strawberries!
I can hear the rhythm of
Your Gothic words
By the Finnish lakes
That caress with clear waters
The chivalrous face of the sun!
And all around your laughing eyes
There reigns, like a passion
Which exists far beyond itself,
The passion of your inner world !
Your slow descent
Into the very depth of the heart
Makes my fingers tremble!
I hear the feverish incantation of the forests,
And words of celebration
Made holy and vertiginous!
Your lines wear fine red dresses,
Your syllables are deep ruby,
And your Finnish consonants are like crimson raspberry canes
Extolling the overwhelming clarity
Of the North’s endless daylight dressed in
Vast silent water lilies!
Translated from the French of Athanase Vantchev de Thracy by Norton Hodges