Sukkamieli’s Rod (Sukkamielen sauva), from The Devil’s Sword (Hiiden miekka), Eino Leino

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here’s the third of my translations from Hiiden miekka. (The others can be found here and here.)

This time I have tried to replicate the metre, which is a little fluid, but holds together within each stanza. As with “The Troubadour’s Song“, there are some archaic and dialectal features which required some guess work. Halla, it seems, is a mystical being associated with frost, painted by Hugo Simberg.

Sukkamieli (literally “Sock lover” – yes really) is an ancient Finnish God of erotic love. I make no apologies ofr the oo-er-missus quality of this translation…

Trees behind, and trees are wreathing
forest castle shelters.
Sukkamieli’s rod is sheathed
with silver bell’s peal’s welter.

When the jingling bell is heard,
as dusk descends on country,
hearts of people weak are stirred
and thin mind grows, and dreary.

Trees behind, and trees are wreathing
forest castle shelters.
Sukkamieli’s rod is sheathing
golden chime’s sad welter.

When the jingling bell is heard,
then wakens frosty spectre,
travels it through moonlit parts
and glistens sleepy vector.

Trees behind, and trees are wreathing
forest’s castle shelters.
Sukkamieli’s rod is sheathed
with diamond-chiming welter.

When the jingling bell is heard
the mind a sword depresses
sky so sunny bright is blurred
and Halla world oppresses.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Puiden takaa puiden taaksi
metsän linnat liukuu.
Sukkamielen sauvan pääss’
on hopeainen tiuku.

Kun se tiuku helisee,
niin hämy maille lankee,
riutuu rinta ihmisten
ja miel’ on ahdas, ankee.

Puiden takaa puiden taaksi
metsän linnat liukuu.
Sukkamielen sauvan päässä
kultainen on tiuku.

Kun se tiuku helisee,
niin herää hengen härmä,
kuudan maita kulkevi
ja säihkyy unen särmä.

Puiden takaa puiden taaksi
metsän linnat liukuu.
Sukkamielen sauvan pääss’
on timanttinen tiuku.

Kun se tiuku helisee,
on mieli miekan alla,
astuu ilmi aurinko
ja maailmass’ on Halla.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

3 thoughts on “Sukkamieli’s Rod (Sukkamielen sauva), from The Devil’s Sword (Hiiden miekka), Eino Leino

  1. Sukkamieli could also be “sock-minded”, and there is also the word “mustasukkainen”, meaning jealous. However, it is believed, I think, that the latter is a part-corrupted, part-translated version of a Swedish word. Cf. “sjuk” (“sick”), i.e., sick with envy.

    Liked by 1 person

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