Kaarlo Sarkia


Deep waters glimmer
Treetops hover,
over deep water.
I sense it’s over,
the road growing
dimmer and dimmer.
Images of stars
on water engraved:
your eyes remained
in front of mine, forever.


August evening, skyline red.
Tender moment, sunset’s dimness.
Fields and fences blurred in darkness
the road sign shows ‘curve ahead’.

Silver stream is like a serpent,
like a brownish copper shield.
Dew descends on stubble field,
stronger roars the rapid’s torrent.

Scent of meadowsweet fills the air.
A song thrush whistles in a hiding place,
another answers, then silence prevails.
The veil of dimness is thick and fair.

Harvesting on the field has ceased.
In tender mist the catkins drowned.
The bats flying without a sound.
Whose veil in the allay swayed?


The ground is frozen,
the snow will soon beam.
Someone said: “you were chosen”
-this is like a dream-
and rowed me to the ocean.
In red glow of the twiligh.
Towards ocean we row
blood and fire in tow,
the bridge to the night.
– I felt grief and delight–

– “Death”, someone shouted. –

The joy hides in your eyes,
on your beaming face:
The life to death smiles,
the spring in autumns embrace.
Gold all around,
black earth left behind,
never again confined.
The flames me surround
in the craft seabound.

Forget the village,
it enslaved me.
Row away from the bondage
to the hem of the rolling sea,
the land needs no homage.

Carefree is my mind,
seawinds are now blowing.
Earthy joys left behind
merry waves are now flowing,
no more to land confined.
The waves, keep on surging!

Waves and heaven all around!
The open ocean awaiting!
If we run aground,
I am not scared of drowning.

Don’t be afraid of life
Don’t deny the beauty of life,
don’t be shy the life to meet.
Let it come to your home,
or if no hearth under your dome
go and meet it on the street,
life’s little pleasures are rife.
Don’t hide at the graveyard from living:
soon enough the death will be calling.

Fly like the birds do,
don’t dwell on the ruins of the past
and about the present be worried.
Let bygones lie buried,
covered in grave, nothing will last,
strive to meet life that’s new.
Be free, like the sigh of the wind you hear,
the gate of death is always near.

And newer, never say:
This is mine forever to keep.
Get drunk from the cup of life
and when needed, give it up without strife.
The riches of the world you reap
if to own something you never pray.
Stake boldly everything on one card,
the gate of the death waits on your yard.


Do hate and love have common roots,
two branches of one tree, from common shoots?
Sunshine’s glimmer on the waves
same as gloomy dimness of late autumn days?
From the same spring sorrow and enjoyment?
One finds happiness, another crushed by torment,
some drink wine, others bitter cowbane juice,
a drop of sorrow the bowl of joy can bruise,
a happy flower may hide seeds of strife
and death perhaps, twin-sister of life…


Short like a breath was your joyous embrace,
brief like a wink of the eye your deep pain.
In the gentle bosom of the earth like a grain
you quietly fall asleep, you rest in grace.

The Beauty that was prevented to form
by life’s imperfection will be remedied,
in your death to perfect form exalted,
flourishing, a thousand times reborn.

In grave the roots will grow root cap,
the lilacs and lime will search root’s bosom,
and in flames of summer flows the sap,
in trees honeyed flowers will then blossom –
thus to sweet fulfillment of your dreaming
will bring the sparkling spring.


You went away, far, far away,
my sole is desolate, insane.
Golden carpet of autumn day
so heavy, painful on my way,
the image of my pain,
the image of my rich pain.

On the road no flowers beckon
fiery, enchanting.
I remember another season,
sunshine, blossoms beyond reason,
blossoms your smile crowning,
your carnation smile crowning.

Your flowers from sunny days,
you want back and I will give.
But the fire of longing stays,
heavy pain, like gold it weighs.
I will survive and live,
without alms survive and live.

*From Poetry Salzburg Review No.13, p 166, 2008


In the moonshine valley of the land of repose,
lilies, myrtles and primrose,

the flowers of death there thrive.
From the banks of a creek
the spices of Hades, fragrant, alive
my feverish hands seek,
the bowl of petals touch my lips so week,
the cup of the darkest nightmare:
the intoxicating nectar sooths despair.

The silence! Just the sighs of the roller
to the shoreline’s sand whisper
the language of eternal rest,
the soothing song of the blessed.

From the blue heavenly skyway’s crest
by the cool womb of the ocean possessed
sunk the firewheel of sunny days,
only its silvery reflections stay,
like the moonshine on the waves,
glittering, enchanting play.

*From Poetry Salzburg Review No.13, p 165, 2008


Summer night. Dim light
under cloud’s silvery crown.
Flowers blossom at riverside,
mowing machines drone.

An accordion plays,
a farm-hand on cottage stair.
In the night the scent of herbs sways
and soil’s fragrant warmth in the air.

The playing stops. Silence invades.
Not even the whisper of the fire.
Just the moving machine’s blades
heard slashing dewy clover.

*From Poetry Salzburg Review No.13, p 167, 2008


Waking up, I miss your voice, your hand.
In the glow of September mornings reddish flood
the flame flares up in the pearls of gilliflower’s band
and the mallow shines in cranberry blood.
You died.
But one by one, the memories grandiose of a flower arise,
they blossom on my mind, in my eyes.
The herbs of earth will soon in snowy linen dress,
but in blood’s purple caress
the flowers of that September will flame the skies.


Twilight, dim sky.
Sauna smoking.
A lonely corncrake’s cry
somewhere calling.

Cottage wall is gray,
red poppy sleeps.
The scent of fresh-cut hay
over the field sweeps.

In silence of the night
remote rapid resounds.
The fog, veiled in white,
the riverside surrounds.

A corncrake’s lonely cry
again somewhere calling.
Twilight again, dim sky.
Sauna smoking.

*From Poetry Salzburg Review No.13, p 167, 2008


Ugly and lame I was born,
when the bolts of fait locked me in the cage of suffering,
my beautiful brothers, you passed by without caring,
your eyes reflected coldness and scorn.

Encrusted in ugliness, a corneous band my form maimed
I waited for the imago of beauty, in deception,
you stayed in your chambers of perfection,
at your windows the candles of complacence flamed.

When my crust was shedding,
a crustacean, I carried the mountain of suffering,
a human, cross on shoulders, crown of thorn,
deep in heart wounded by ridicule and scorn.

When tears of weakness burned my eyes,
you tightened my shackles with your cold tepidity ropes.
I found my strength when I cut my swaddling clothes,
perhaps I should thank you for your despise.

*From Poetry Salzburg Review No.13, p 165, 2008

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