Ready, 2004

Markus Jääskeläinen
Poems from the collection
[Ready] (Otava 2004)

Translated by David McDuff

Kuva: Markus Jääskeläinen:

These poems are taken from Markus’ fifth poetry collection Valmis, written in his native Finnish.

Patrick McDuffy is a multilingual British translator of literature.


in a chock full restaurant in the capital of latvia
i get up on my chair raise my glass to one world
in space to one animal that kills is born
the beer is foamy the woman’s tongue is pungently soft in
my tongue finland’s vodka we are holy men
we are grandfathers on our way to a europe of wooden cities
we are women we are leaking towers of blood at vilnius
cemetery horribly drunk at midnight
i lower my legs into your lap living dead
i bury my head in a flickering darkness where the eyes speak
the ears are open and listen our voices
one and we touch our voices repeating themselves
the poet’s voice our voices a gentle whore’s rough skin
we read our poems in the moving homes of the baltic
in the eternal windows of the streets imperishable
memory that we tread on our way to the hotel for breakfast


the visions of old testament prophets,
of fools, have been realized,
the thing there were no words for
has now been spoken,
for the thousandth time:
birds of prey guided by radar,
satellite maps, sweep
over the sleeping village.
but still they smell
man’s dream


the touch of melting snow in one’s toes,
room to stop moving,
on the first lawn
of spring the fieldfares’


WARD 214


in the lift
to the fourth floor
the girl
her broken leg
in the window
rags of cloud,
the tears:
“i brought you a cake
and a book;
i thought you
didn’t like flowers”


but soon
she is laughing
to wet
she lifts
her skirt, look:
her knee’s
operation scar


you have brittle bones
you walk with a stick
you sleep 12 hours at night
& take afternoon naps
you brush your teeth
with your eyes closed
without warning you break
into laughter
you eat your plate clean
you fart at the restaurant table
you belch
you are the most stylish
girl I know

(c) Markus Jääskeläinen, 2004

Translation (c) Patrick McDuff, 2004

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