Mirkka Rekola 1931-2014

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I was intended to write about some lighter topic, but the news just said that one of the great poets has passed away yesterday. Mirkka Rekola, a Finnish post-WWII modernist poet published poems, aphorisms and essays starting year 1954.

YLE (Finnish Broadcasting company) culture reporter says about Mirkka Rekola: “She was experimental, rhythmically strong and imagistic, a unique, top-notch.” For me personally, she became important when I found her work by chance at the age of thirteen. The concise imagery of her poetry was impressive. Her poems are generally short, only a few lines, and follow a clear structure. Her language is classically pure but quite the same as an everyday language. Some poems take start from a concrete observation, to widen to more abstract themes.

Mirkka Rekola opened me the way to the world of poetry. So she has been my favorite poets ever since. This post is in her honor and memory. Poems are translated in English by Sari Hantula and Herbert Lomas.

I look at the years across this
where they’re going    
    in gusts of wind
my face’s shadows dart over the sea.
Everything had turned upside down
but she still had the feeling
of hanging her head,
she still had the feeling of seeking
the four-leaf clover in the grass,
and the grass had covered everything over
and no one disturbed her.
The sea raises you to your feet. And dead calm.
Strands of light hold your hand. Now you have left
this shore. Now you are in the wind of an invisible sail.

Please look after human beings, animals move around
in them, where else would they go, you know how it is,
a bear may start using you as a pillow, and it’s better that way.

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