Inspired by... Eino Leino Nocturne

It's again the 10th of the month and time for the "Inspired by" creation! But what is Inspired by? Every month awesome Marsha and I choose a subject to be inspired by. It can be for example an idea (link)a product (link)a person (link) or a book (link). Or anything! Then we make something inspired by that theme or a piece of art and share it with you and each other on the 10th of the month. You can browse the past "Inspired By" posts from here (link).


Ruislinnun laulu korvissani,
tähkäpäiden päällä täysi kuu;
kesä-yön on onni omanani,
kaskisavuun laaksot verhouu.
En ma iloitse, en sure, huokaa;
mutta metsän tummuus mulle tuokaa,
puunto pilven, johon päivä hukkuu,
siinto vaaran tuulisen, mi nukkuu,
tuoksut vanamon ja varjot veen;
niistä sydämeni laulun teen.

Sulle laulan neiti, kesäheinä,
sydämeni suuri hiljaisuus,
uskontoni, soipa säveleinä,
tammenlehvä-seppel vehryt, uus.
En ma enää aja virvatulta,
onpa kädessäni onnen kulta;
pienentyy mun ympär' elon piiri;
aika seisoo, nukkuu tuuliviiri;
edessäni hämäräinen tie
tuntemattomahan tupaan vie.

- Eino Leino 1903

The corncrake's song rings in my ears,
above the rye a full moon sails;
this summer night all sorrow clears
and woodsmoke drifts along the dales,
I do not laugh or grieve, or sigh;
the forest's darkness breathes nearby,
the red of clouds where day sinks deep,
the blue of windy hills asleep,
the twinflower's scent, the water's shade - 
of these my heart's own song is made.

You, girl as sweet as summer hay,
my heart's great peace, I sing to you,
O my devotion, tune and play
a wreath of oak twigs, green and new.
I have stopped chasing Jacl-o'-Lantern,
I hold gold from the Demon's mountain;
around me life tightens its ring,
time stops, the vane has ceased to swing;
the road before me through the gloom
is leading to the unknown room.

- translation by Keith Bosley

Hi there! This time our source of inspiration was a Finnish poem. We have had some poems before, even some Finnish poems, but no Eino Leino before. What surprised me with this theme was the difficulty to find a translation of this poem. Both the poet, Eino Leino (link) and his poems are iconic in Finland. Normally our national poet is said to be Runeberg, but I feel that Eino Leino should have that honor. 

"Nocturne" is one of most known poems of Leino so what was kind of shocking to me that it had so few and so poor translations! As I know the poem in Finnish, this didn't cause too much trouble for me but really threw Marsha off, I think. I had sent her one translation which didn't make sense to her so she found the one I wrote to the start of the post. It's better than the one I had sent and found. While this version too has the right words, to me that lacks the emotion. The mood is there, but the multitude of emotions, the certain tones are not translated. That got me thinking about the difficulty of the translation of poems altogether but also that if the emotion of the poem is really so Finnish, so woven into the nationality.

The poem had in its first draft three parts but in its current form it has two parts. The first part is about the scenery, description of a pleasant evening or a mind set and the second part is more personal to the poet telling about a (lost?) love. I've actually analyzed the poem during Finnish lessons, but let's not go into that. To me the magical part of the poem is the first part. To me the great point of the poem is the last lines of the first part - about heart's song. Even though I have never smelled the smoke from burn-clearing nor heard corn crake cry the poem speaks to me and captures something about Finnish people and kind of iconic national landscape whether it being real or a mind set. Leino draws the picture of Finnish people's heart's song. 

I pondered hard what to make and actually first which part of the poem to use. Like in many of the Inspired By after a little while a picture started emerging. The essential part were the lines "metsän tummuus mulle tuokaa" and "tuoksut vanamon ja varjot veen, niistä sydämeni laulun teen" - freely translated "please bring the shades of the forest to me" and "the scent of the linnaea and the shadows of water, from those I make the song of my heart". Even these couple lines are hard to translate, especially with my limited English. The word to word translation of the first part would be "bring me the darkness of the forest" but then the mood gets easily twisted. As at least to me the forest isn't dark in a frightening or uninviting way, but more like cooling, pleasant and relaxing way. 

What I saw was huge old fir trees, the inky shadows they cast to the forest floor and then the tiny bell-shaped flowers underneath the trees with their intoxicating scent. I decided to turn this image to a little canvas project. I also drew inspiration from Finnabair's first online workshop, "Imagine"

Here's the finished piece - there's the delicate linnaea bloom on top of the dark forest floor, caught in a streak of light. I'm rarely super delighted how a project turns out but this is one of those that I really like. It captures the image I had in my mind.

The shapes on both sides of the canvas are really stylized fir trees and with the exception of the flower, the color scheme is dark mix of blue and green. The detail shots show more the sparkle and shine the project has. The background is done using the Sparks mixed with black gesso and I added some glitter to the streak of light to give the canvas a fairy kid of feel.

As the piece is inspired by something so Finnish as an Eino Leino poem and it's in a way a representation of my Finnish heart, I just had to add the "Finnish lion" to the piece, the Finnish coat of arms. It's also appropriate as Finland shall celebrate it's 100th birthday this year, the 6th of December. 

But now it's your time to go and see what Marsha has made this time! I'm really intrigued as the poem is so Finnish! It's great to see how it has inspired her. Here's the link to Marsha's blog (link)

Thank you for stopping by today! Have a great day - read a poem today! 

Materials: Prima Marketing (Finnabair)

1 comment:

Marsha Valk said...

That's stunning Riikka!! I think I get the meaning, though it's different from what I read in it. Which is understandable and also kind of cool. We did pick some of the same elements though!!! And you can hear the corncrake's cry on Wikipedia. It will etch in you memory ;-).

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