Saturday, November 26, 2011

Paavo on psephology

In view of the authoritarian side our Prime Minister has been showing in recent weeks, I'd better not break the law which forbids election day propagandising.

I can't resist quoting, though, one of the many fine short poems - poems which are at once gnomic and aphoristic - that the Finnish* modernist Paavo Haavikko produced during his career in the second half of the twentieth century:

I vote for Spring, Autumn gets elected, Winter forms the cabinet.

I think about Haavikko's poem every time I vote.

*In case you're wondering, I don't know Finnish: on the page, the language looks to me almost as full of strange spellings and syntactic thickets as Basque, or Rotuman. I rely for my knowledge of Haavikko on the Finnish-American translator-poet Anselm Hollo. Back in 2008 I included Hollo's translation of Haavikko's The Winter Palace in my list of the twenty great long poems of the twentieth century.

[Posted by Scott/Maps]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a freaky looking dude

10:23 am  
Anonymous M said...

as I often say in these situations, anteeksi, en puhu paljon soumea!

7:46 pm  
Anonymous Scott said...

I thought you might know Finnish Mark, but then I googled the phrase! Do you know a Bit? Know some Kiwi-Finns? I've never met any, though I know plenty of folks from other parts of Scandinavia. I suppose the language looks so odd partly because, like Hungarian and Basque, it's outside the Indo-European family...

12:03 am  
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