Poetry by Kristiina Ehin

by Richard Adang

Kristiina Ehin

Saint Simon’s Day

suddenly fog
the ships have set sail
among the white swarm of swans
frozen gravel grinds at the gate
and the flowers in the house tremble
away from the windows

you don’t know what to write about
in this morning of silence
that slowly turns to evening
and where thoughts outrun words
today you don’t wish to chase
images of solitude
not paint silence
not rush breathlessly into the future

the day lingers
and fades away
suddenly even the maps freeze


Thief of Women

you are a man of the north
norman of the storms
old scars roam over your muscled flesh
and your swords as heavy as islands in the sea

I cast my spell -
your hair caught under a rock
so I can examine you
walk around you
clockwise and anticlockwise
how you tremble
how you howl
even make the sun set

on a long starry night
I lay eyes on you handsome viking
your eyelids close like the doors of a stronghold
what runes would
decypher your dreams?
half human half beast
my captive

the time has come
when the world cracks
when the sap runs down the birch
and all you knew
falls slowly to pieces

the time has come
when you dance your clumsy dance
rub your hips against your own shadow
see with the soles of your feet
hear with your tongue
feel the leaves falling behind hills

the time has come
when your heart’s iron door is wide open
flagstones won’t burn
the handrail doesn’t sway
you can see the minerals you’re made of  –
such simple water
such thin air


when we die we go to the land of the dead
without thinking - we know where to go
we see behind our eyes
and into our hearts’ tributaries

after a long long winter
our soles are tender as the skin on a colt´s eyelids
in the spring, in the spring elegantly down the staircases
and then along the cobblestones
where it is a bit painful to walk

hot hot day
between the jaws of dew-drenched morning and cool night
your breath moistens me, dries me
burns my nordic cheeks

birds birds
birds above rivers birds above graves
birds above daisies and stony staircases
birds above isles and treetops birds above meadows
birds birds
and their wa-aaarble

Translated by Richard Adang and Taavi Tatsi