The Freezing Lake (Jäätyvä järvi), Saima Harmaja

This poem is from Saima Harmaja’s first collection, “Huhtikuu” (“April”). I’ve tried to reproduce her meter – I’m not at all sure it works. And I was a little mystified by “Tajuamaton” – I wonder if “Senseless One” is right.

Here, tonight, the lake is freezing.
Hardening water barely stirs.
And under the glint-white crescent
death-silent, the earth defers.
The trees in the dark are standing
in silence, alone, commanding,
the trees with their shadows’ cast.
A dog far away is barking.
Dreadful dog of the night it is barking
as the inky blackness holds fast.
“Here, tonight, the lake is freezing.
The moon has stopped, is still.
Take my hand in yours and hold it,
Senseless One, amidst the chill.”

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

Tänä yönä jäätyy järvi.
Vesi tuskin liikahtaa.
Kuun valkean paisteen alla
on kuolemanhiljaa maa.
Vain mykässä vartiossa
puut seisovat pimennossa,
puut pitkine varjoineen.
Ja kaukana koira haukkuu.
Se on hirveä koira, se haukkuu
sysimustaan pimeyteen.
– Tänä yönä jäätyy järvi.
Kuu pysähtynyt on.
Pidä kädestäni kiinni,
sinä Tajuamaton.

Translation by Rupert Moreton

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