Summer and Autumn (Kesää ja syksyä), Eero Eerola

 

eerola

Eero Jalmari Eerola (10th April 1884, Tuulos – 20th January 1939, Hämeenlinna) was a Finnish agronomist, journalist and writer. Eerola’s parents were the farmer Erik Johan (Eero Johannes) Eerola and Vilhelmiina Brusila. He matriculated in 1903 at the Hämeenlinna Lyceum and graduated in agronomy from the Mustiala Agricultural Institute in 1906. Eerola worked as a teacher at the Uusikirkko Folk High School between 1906 and 1915 and as the Viipuri city agronomist between 1915 and 1928. Eerola was the author of both plays and poems. (From the Finnish Wikipedia entry about Eerola)

I was encouraged to translate these sonnets by their regular iambic pentameter. I fear, however, that the simplicity of the original is buried by my rhyme’s contrivance.

1.

In recent days I’ve seen the sunny shimmer
at play, O homely lake, upon your billows,
And thus refreshed at edge of shoreline’s willows,
again believed in dream of summer’s glimmer.

And there the temple’s holy bells were ringing,
its walls of grey arose as if in pleading
as on your surface church boats then were speeding,
and so afresh my childhood thoughts were springing.

And as before I’ve keenly felt the blessing
I’d felt when I to mother’s knee was pressing,
and all the summer crickets’ song was sounding,

as birds were singing, swayed the gladed flowers.
as frolicked forest maidens ’midst the bowers,
with loveliest tunes of shepherd’s pipe resounding.

2.

So here I sit again as leaves are falling,
and leaden wave is washing beach already,
but pearly sand’s not heated with its eddy,
and summer moons burn but in my recalling.

Now oats and rye for storage farmer’s reaping,
without complaint the autumn’s burden carries,
as sun departs and moon no longer tarries,
alone forgets life’s dismal drabness creeping,

but still he sees the hills – a view so handsome –
creator’s gracious gift and costly ransom,
the natural order’s wondrous fascination.

Though sun is oft obscured by clouds so gloomy,
the lofty autumn heavens are still roomy,
and always time will bring new consolation.

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

1.

Näin sinut, kotojärvi, viime kerran,
kun leikki päivän kilo laineillasi,
niin viilvas olla oli helmassasi,
taas uskoin kesän unta hetken verran.

Ja kellot hartaat soitti templiin Herran,
mi harmain muurin kohoo rannallasi,
kun kiiti kirkkovenheet pinnallasi,
niin elin lapsuusmuistot jälleen kerran.

Ol’ autuasta olla niinkuin muinen,
kun olin polvenkorku pikkuruinen,
ja mulle kaikki kesän sirkat soitti,

ja linnut lauloi, ahon keinui kukat,
ja leikki metsänpiiat kultatukat,
ja paimentorvi parhaitansa koitti.

2.

Täss’ istun jälleen, putoo lehdet puista,
jo laine raskahasti huuhtoo rantaa,
ei päivä lämmitä nyt valkosantaa,
vain muistot heljät palaa kesän-kuista.

Nyt maamies aittaan korjaa kauraa, ruista,
ja nurkumatta syksyn taakkaa kantaa,
näin päivän mennä, toisen tulla antaa,
hän elon harmautt’ ei yksin muista,

vaan näkee loistorikkaat myöskin kunnaat –
niin suuret Luojan antimet on, lunnaat,
ja iki-ihmeellinen luonnon taika.

Jos pilvet synkät joskus päivän saartaa,
myös korkeana syksyn taivas kaartaa,
ja aina uuden lohdun antaa aika.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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