Heat (Hellettä), Uuno Kailas


Kailas was born in Heinola in 1901. He was brought up by his grandmother in a strict Lutheran setting. He died of tuberculosis in Nice in 1933. In 1929 he had been hospitalised with schizophrenia, which the Finnish wikipedia page suggests may have been brought on by the suppression of his homosexuality.

I’m not sure when this was written. It may be helpful to explain that “Musti” is a common name for a dog.

As he always has, the dull-eyed Musti
on the steps outside the house is sprawling.
On the yard gate’s wooden pillar rooster
stretches out his neck in lusty calling.

Like a flame, the dung-red wall is shining
there behind the giant roses’ cumber.
Underfoot, the threshold stone is burning.
Reapers lie about in well-fed slumber,

snoring… Snore they will it seems until the
start of next July without cessation,
but the wise old cat is chewing grass-tips –
heralds thunderstorm her divination.

On the road a cloud of dust is rising,
thrown above by wheels’ clatter’s rumble.
Crow is squawking. Cataracts sky darken –
thunder in the northeast starts to grumble.


Rappusilla vanhan tavan mukaan
silmäpuoli Musti loikomassa.
Pihaportin pylväspuulla kukko
kiekumassa, kaulaa oikomassa.

Seinän puna niinkuin liekki paistaa
päivänruusu-jättiläisten takaa.
Kynnyskivi polttaa jalan alla.–
Eine-untaan niittoväki makaa,

kuorsaa … niinkuin kuorsata se aikois
aina ensi heinäkuuhun hamaan,
vaikka Mirri ruohonpäitä purren
ryhtyy ukonilmaa ennustamaan.

Tiellä tomupilven alta pakoon
joku ajaa jyrisevin rattain.
Varis vaakkuu. Nousee ukonpilvet
koillistaivaan niinkuin kaihi kattain.

Translation by Rupert Moreton 

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