When At Last the Tired West, by Eeva Liisa Manner
A poem for the winter solstice, translated from Eeva Liisa Manner’s Kun väsynyt länsi.
When At Last the Tired West
When at last the tired west
reddens, darkens, and is laid to rest,
the ripe season poured into sky’s brimless cup,
and swords snapped in two, and books taken up,
and a murmur descends like the flutter of wings,
and things from their cages like spirits ascend
brighter and whole after rest,
a snowy steed from the war on the steppes,
wades into a field, another star on its forehead,
and with it a child: a naked soldier;
and they run over the blossoming landscape
as over the skirt of the Madonna, billowing in blue
and boundless, woven from light
And the beauty of everything
tenderness, joy, play, friendship, and peace.
And morning after glimmering morning ascends,
birds to the branches.
translated by Lola Rogers