Obsession to Surrender

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Hers are the hands that sculpted me, under her touch I was created. This body had a shape before but it had no meaning.

Her fingers brushed against mine so carelessly that at first I did not notice what was happening, but soon I realised that only now was I gaining awareness of the love that resides inside flesh. Gently she put aside the first layer, the one of suspicion, and tried to see into the core, the possibilities of the material.

One always has to stay aware of the limits, because it is easy to get too enthusiastic and chop off a large piece that was meant to stay intact. Afterwards there would be no chance of ever making me a human being again.

Sometimes her chest was flushing, particularly when she was very certain of what she wanted but not whether I would yield. But of course I did, I wanted to be the water she drinks, the cat she strokes, the scarf wrapped around her neck, the shirt that made her warm. Maybe she was all those things to me, for when we were together I seemed to desire no water, no warmth and comfort, just the knowledge that she was in the same building.

Her pain was my pain but it did not help her at all. Shared pain brings solace only if both people care about each other. I would have gladly taken all her burdens but she did not want to give them to me, that would have been to intimate.

But I was not born to be a sculptor, I was simply made of energy looking for an outlet.

I thought she would receive me and stay happy for the rest of her life but instead I merely went through her, hardly changing her at all even though my own charge was utterly transformed.

Maybe one day she will stand in the rain and feel me in each drop. I will turn myself into clouds and water just to stay close to her, but even then I could never be as soft as her skin was.

I do not think I will be able to love anyone else the same way, but then again just because she created the love I never knew could exist, it does not mean that it cannot be redirected.

Yet, as the creator of the feeling she will always be in charge. I know that people cannot be owned, but I want to give myself completely. I am hers.

Comment. All the stories I’ve posted so far were written in a short period of time, the first one 19/02/11, this 25/02/11. That perhaps explains why there are similar themes, although writing about different facets of love are a pretty common theme anyway. At the time I was not in a relationship, and I cannot recognize these descriptions to be related to any real person or situation. However, since then, in the last 10 years, I’ve had some of the experiences I wrote about back then.

Surely in an intimate relationship it may feel like we’re being sculpted into better beings, and you can wish to surrender like that. But it’s not an attitude I wholeheartedly recommend. Of course this story isn’t prescriptive, but merely a description of a state of mind. Some of that feeling is inevitable in the early stages of the relationship when boundaries are blurred for a while. But then you find yourself again, perhaps more strongly than ever. That is also natural. Becoming a sculpture with clear lines and a smooth surface, more beautiful than ever.

How much the meaning of life is enhanced or even created by falling in love! It is intoxicating to the point at which we adopt attitudes that are not sustainable. That is also part of its charm, how we are ultimately in a flux, forced to re-evaluate our personalities, return closer to the beginning, approach one another again. This endless dance. Love is not just one approach and then being together happily ever after. It is constant movement, and it’s fine like that. Nothing to be afraid of.

Neil Sedaka – Laughter in the Rain

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Laughter in the Rain is a song that revels in its innocence. At the time of its release in 1974 Neil Sedaka had been largely forgotten; he had major hits in the early 60s, when the times and music were altogether different. While I do not know how people might have heard it in the 70s, I imagine the song was to many people a reminder of simpler times. And it still feels like that today, only now the 70s themselves have an image of innocence and simplicity. This shift in the perception of innocence is indicative of how people tend to see earlier times, their youth and time before we were born, in contrast with the adult responsibilities.

Reportedly Phil Cody, who wrote the lyrics, penned them in just 5 minutes after taking a walk. He had just fallen in love and didn’t really want to spend time with Sedaka to write the song. Maybe the whole situation is reflected in the story: it retains that feeling of first falling in love when life seems so much simpler than other times. And in some ways it really is: when the feeling is overwhelming, everything else becomes insignificant, including all your worries. The rain is sweeter, warmer, or if it’s cold, that too is an opportunity to get close, to feel the support and warmth of the one you love. The world may not be reduced to laughter and gentle kisses, but nothing else matters anymore, not even the task of writing a love song.

And that’s just where the song receives its strength from, although the pentatonic melody also contributes to the feeling of innocence and simplicity. In that sense the lyrics and the melody support each other nicely. There’s a sense of ease similar to just walking with someone and feeling like everything is understood, everything is interesting.

What is especially lovely about the song is that there are absolutely no hints of complications. Listening to this I’m struck by the realization how rare that is in a love song. Even if there aren’t any current bumps in the relationship described in a song, doubts and insecurities are often present, whether they are about the narrator, the loved one, or obstacles set by other people. Falling in love we get a glimpse of this presence that could be a reality even without the loved one: the rain is beating on the leaves, but the sky is not furious. There is just love of raindrops, the understanding of how we can laugh. “Sharing our love under stormy skies” could mean that the love is already there within each person. It’s just that finding that special someone we can finally share it, reveal it, and discover our own happiness when seeing each other and laughing together, no matter what the weather is like.

Thus the song is a nice reminder of what matters, walking hand in hand with someone, and just remembering that is enough to make you happy. Remembering the rain, the myriad possibilities present in a kiss, all of them wonderful. The light shines through, the woods have a fresh scent. We shiver; we are warm. We want the same thing, to feel intimate. And in that wish we are never alone, but a part of the same humanity, same possibility to love and be loved.

A Beastly Comedy Canto 1.1

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A poem is always a disguise, which is a blessing. Often it is easier to tell the truth by means of fiction, creating distance between the poet and the work. As a writer I am often, but not always, aware of where I end and the narrator begins, and other people much more commonly mistake me for the narrator.

Even as I was recording the poem, after reading some passages of the first part I asked myself: was I really this unhappy when writing? Then I remembered what it was like at the time. The truth is that I was writing all three parts at once, working on each in a cycle of 3 days, and thus all the ecstatic, happy things in part 3 were written on the days before I wrote about unhappiness in part 1. But while writing I lived through the experiences and emotions so intensely that I managed to capture something believable. It doesn’t mean my life was like that. But then again, while I was writing, and partly also when rewriting, my life had little else than this book.

One big difference between the Dante in my book and Dante in The Divine Comedy is character’s arrogance. The narrator of his Comedy is a relatively humble man. Yet Dante the writer is a person who is the judge and the jury, placing people he knew in hell. It is likely Dante didn’t think he’s literally describing heaven and hell, but the effort for such a massive undertaking does require some arrogance. It’s a feature that I’ve found present in many epic poems, particularly when an authorial voice is present, like Ovid’s at the end of Metamorphoses. Arrogance, however, does not mean the absence of humility. People always have conflicting traits.

This is why I have him introduce himself in partly contradictory phrases. One line with which he describes himself is “A victim of malaria, acquainted with disease”. The first part describes how Dante died, but the second part is an allusion to Isaiah 53:3, a verse that Christians often see as a prophecy of Jesus. I am not trying to make Dante a Christ figure here. Partly he may be just unconsciously quoting the scripture because he’s a Christian. But also he would have been aware of the Christ connection, and to descibe himself with the same phrase does turn into a comparison that suggests some degree of pride or arrogance, even if it is concealed. Yet, in this case the reader doesn’t need to recognize the allusion at all. It may change the interpretation slightly, but the line stands on its own even without it.


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At that moment I looked up and saw all the naked branches against the white clouds. It was a quiet town and trees could still thrive here, so the branches grew wildly, reaching for something that was always too far away.

It made me think of the darkness of her pubes reaching for the white plane of her stomach, or the roots towards the heart of existence. She had kind eyes but not a single hair on her body wanted to relinquish the wildness. She noticed I was looking up, but could not see anything special there.

I touched her hand as though it was the first time and I had to keep it a secret. Her hand was cold, we had been out too long walking on the cobblestones, looking for something we did not need. At least when I sensed her warmth, it felt like nothing else was important.

I drew her close just to smell her own scent under the one she was wearing. It was earthy, slightly sour, not at all like the floral sweetness under which she was hiding. But I did not want the mask, I always wanted to know what lay beyond her ideas on how to be attractive. They were so much based on old compliments, half-remembered smiles or long gazes, that it was difficult to tell which parts of her mask she had painted herself, reflecting her own tastes instead of those of others.

As I pressed my face against her neck, I thought that love must always contain a vestige of loneliness, because no matter what I do, my longing will always stay there, it is never quenched.

She will always be a mystery, a mind that rotates differently and shines with different colours from mine. But the difference excited me, I would always be trying to understand her, no matter how easy or hard.

So the thought of loneliness never frightened me, as it was an essential part of love that renews itself every moment. It only becomes torture when the desire to understand is not mutual.

I lifted up my eyes and saw her smiling. She would still be beautiful fifty years from now. I wrote a wordless prayer on her skin with my lips. Let this be enough.

Johnny Mathis – Misty

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It’s strange how Johnny Mathis isn’t mentioned as often as some other crooners whose repertoire had many love songs. The reason might be because Mathis rose to prominence in the late 50s when the popular taste was changing and would rapidly start to favour rock music. So even though he’s had a long career, the limelight didn’t shine on him quite as many years as the likes of Nat King Cole or Frank Sinatra. And yet many original Mathis recordings became well known jazz standards, and his singing style cannot really be compared with anything else.

Misty was first a jazz piano piece by Erroll Garner before Mathis recorded it, arguably his biggest hit. And you can still hear its origins in the gentle dissonant chords and the quirky melody. There’s sweetness and peace in the way it’s sung, and yet the melody has tension. The whole situation seems fragile, just like having a strong infatuation and feeling all the more vulnerable because of it, like a kitten up a tree.

This uncertainty is present from the very first phrase: when Mathis sings “Look at me,” the melody rests on the seventh note of the scale, or the second, if the song is thought to be in the relative minor key. There is some ambiguity in that sense. Not only does the melody rest on a tension, but the song itself seems to hover in that misty area between C minor and Eb major. At least to my ear it largely sounds uncertain whether it’s going to resolve in C or Eb. And as the song ends, we’re given the beginning phrase again, leaving the melody hanging in the mist. This feeling is strengthened throughout the song. Singing “you can say that you’re leading me on, but that’s just what I want you to do” the melody goes even deeper into dissonance. You can hear it as the song going to a different key (Db) for two bars, or just resting in b9 or b7 for a moment.

Perhaps the music theory perspective means nothing to the average listener, but the gist of it is this: the lyrics in themselves are naive, but because the music goes to such unusual places, the naivety sounds fresh and intriguing. And in the first grip of love our thoughts are usually idealizing and naive, so it fits the mood perfectly.

We also have the arrangement and the voice to enhance the mood: the sweeping violins, which were a feature of so many love songs of the time, and the first violins enter just when he’s singing “and a thousand violins begin to play”. There’s also a harp in the background, enhancing that heavenly feeling. And then the oboe solo which ends with a subtle fade-in of Mathis singing in falsetto. Apparently that was an accident – he simply came in at the wrong time, and yet it fit the arrangement perfectly

And this combination of sweetness and tension, infatuation and uncertainty, has raised the song to be one of the classics. To hear music when your lover says hello, to be confused about your right and left foot, so in love that you’re completely misty. It works both as a fantasy and as a description of what love does feel like, when you can’t believe your luck that something like this has happened. That all this time somewhere there was this person so wonderful, and now just thinking of her it seems like the whole world has been transformed because you are so different feeling that way, so much in love. There’s the longing to be seen in the hope that both could share that feeling, make it even more intense perhaps by the mutual recognition. It’s like Misty is not even a song, but one of the greatest dreams written, just under 4 minutes of bliss in uncertainty.

Syyskuun tyhjyysrunoja

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Viimeiset 1,5 kuukautta olen ollut kokonaan kirjoittamatta (pl. blogitekstit ja kommentit). Sitä ennen kirjoitin runoja joka päivä, jopa 6 runoa päivässä 14 kuukauden ajan, joten alkoi tuntua siltä, että pitää elää hetken eteenpäin, jotta on taas jotain, mistä ammentaa. Tuntui myös siltä, että entistä useammin runot epäonnistuivat tavoitteessaan tai toistin vanhoja asioita. Toisto ei välttämättä ole huono asia. Varsin usein keskityn yhteen teemaan lyhyen ajan sisällä, pyörittelen sitä ja yritän löytää eri näkökulmia samoihin kuviin ja tunnelmiin. Mutta joskus kun kirjoitan paljon, runot alkavat lipsua ajatelmien puolelle, koska kuvat ja metaforat alkavat loppua.

Tässä on muutama tyhjyyteen liittyvä runo viimeisen kirjoituskuukauden ajalta. Näiden lisäksi kirjoitin myös tyhjyydestä negaationa, poissaolona, pelottavana asiana. Näissä teksteissä tyhjyys kietoutuu rakkauteen, läsnäoloon, itsensä unohtamiseen kosketuksessa, jonka voi myös kokea jonkinlaisena transsendenssinä, omien rajojensa ylittämisessä kaikkeuden suhteen. Jos koskettaessaan rakastavasti unohtaa itsensä, onko silloin täydemmin läsnä?

16/09/21 on lyhyydessään hyvä tiivistys kuvista ja teemoista, jotka toistuvat ajatuksissani. Linnut, sammal, taivas, avaruus, rakkaus, tyhjyys. Linnut ovat kiehtovia jo siinä, miten erilaista niiden elämä on nisäkkäisiin verrattuna, niiden ulkoasu näennäisen loputtomasti muuntuva. On myös kiinnostavaa, miten lentämisen tavat, pesiminen yms. voivat olla metaforia hyvin monenlaisille ihmisten tunteille, ajatuksille, kokemuksille ja tavoille. Sammal taas on teksteissäni yleinen rakkauteen liittyvä kuva, pehmeä, vähän mystinen siinä miten paljon ne eroavat muista kasveista. Lentoonlähdön ajatus taas on olennainen myös runossa Halauksen jälkeen, mutta tässä se saa hieman eri merkityksen, ja taivas symbolina on erilainen. Minne matka? On lennettävä, on elettävä riippumatta siitä, millaisen merkityksen taivaalle annammekin.


Kun kosketamme toisiamme, olemme tyhjyyttä,
ajatus värisee syysillassa, avaruus,
sormi liikkuu kaikkeuden halki,
vetää viivan aurinkojen välille,
lehdet putoavat maahan kuin taivaaseen,
lentävät kohti elämää,
kevät jo kapinoi ruskean maton alla,
olemme tämä kaikki, vapisevat puunrungot,
lähestyvä talvi, ihmisen lämpö arvokas
äärettömyys, jossa on kaikki merkityksellinen,
vaikka äärettömässä kaikki laimenee olemattomiin
ja tyhjyys kirkuu, huokaisee,
hetken tiedämme lämmön olevan todellista,
ainoa totuus
ja ihmisyys
on suutelemista.


Vapaus on unohtamista,
vilkaisu yön vaunuihin,
unen rämiseviin rattaisiin,
kosketus, joka hävittää maailman,
sormi rintaa vasten
kuin jumalan lämmin henkäys,
huokaus pimeässä,
ihmiseen sitoutuminen niin kiihkeästi,
ettei osaa ajatella sitä,
muistaa silti
joka hetki unohtaessaan.


Pisaroiden paino huulilla,
sammaleen sileys sormissa,
niin katsomme toisiamme
kuin pajulintu pyrähtää pensaikosta
kohti sinistä, loputonta tyhjyyttä,
jota taivaaksi kutsutaan.


Suurin osa maailmankaikkeudesta on näkymätöntä,
pimeää energiaa ja ainetta,
ja kun halaamme,
kosketan valoa ja tyhjyyttä,
yritän ymmärtää,
mitä muuta on.


Kahden tuulen välissä
hämärä hämärältä
elän itseäni kadonneeksi, ehjäksi.
Vasta kun unohdan kaiken,
olen kokonainen.
Ajaton vapautuu huolista,
menettää merkityksen.

The Serpent and the Sun

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He loved her like the serpent loves the Sun, longing for warmth that would animate him.

It was like he had barely had any pulse before, now he only wanted to stretch out in front of her, exposing himself to all the nasty elements, the children who would scream “Snake!” and the sons of Adam who would cut his head off for daring to worship the Sun.

And like the Sun she was indeed, infinite was her warmth, endless her indifference. For friendliness costs nothing and she was either too happy or too scared to show any uncertainty. After a while he slithered away and hid among the rocks and hissed his terrifying love songs that made most people recoil in horror.

In some ways it was good, even people pregnant with boredom could finally feel something. Hungry with disappointment he went out onto the fields and in the long grass waited for something special to happen, and soon enough he saw a herd of cows.

He swallowed one of them whole, his jaws wide open, but he was still hungry. He kept eating large animals until he was the size of a house and only a cat the size of a palace could kill him. But he was no longer a danger to anyone, he was tired of eating and made a nest close to the Moon. It would have been an ideal place to guard eggs, and sometimes he dreamt of having offspring he could send out into space to love other stars much warmer and bigger and even more indifferent.

But despite the way he had seen her, she had always loved him, given him life, and even now on the rocky surface of the Moon she was his only comfort. In fact, what he called indifference was only love that did not discriminate between life forms, and the serpent was just as beautiful as the cows and the mice he ate.

He was so big now that he was almost as lonely as the Moon itself and thus one day he said “I am ready to die” and started travelling towards the Sun to see if he could swallow her whole like everything else.

But she was still too big for him, and she welcomed him with open arms. As he plunged into the hot plasma she let out a loud hiss, although of course no one on Earth heard it. This was a private moment.

He smiled mischievously.

Finally they spoke the same language.

Comment. This story is doused in myths. The style reminds me now of some African myths, but the idea of a serpent or some other animal swallowing the Sun must be pretty universal. In addition, there’s some play on perspectives, the differences between how the serpent sees itself, how it imagines everyone else sees it, and how they actually see it. In that respect there are some questions of postmodernism lurking in the background. Maybe it’s better not to lock down the meanings of myths. I like the idea of this Sun as an eternal mystery, a kind of deity, and how indiscriminate love may look like indifference.

Charles Aznavour – For Me… Formidable

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Sometimes I’ve seen Aznavour called the French Morrissey, a comparison that would be an injustice to both of them. Aznavour’s first album came out in 1952 and the last one in 2015 when he was already 90 years old. A lot of his songs deal with love one way or another, and many of the more famous ones are about loss or recalling past happiness, which is probably the reason for the comparison in the first place.

For Me… Formidable, however, is an example of a humorous song in which the music is a part of the joke. It plays on the clichés of love songs but also on the similarities and differences between the French and English language. Both have adjectives formed with -able, though the meaning is often slightly different. As the song begins, we’re led to think that it’s in English, and then it turns out it’s only a few phrases, with -able words functioning as transitions. If you only understand the English lyrics, the song appears to be a tune listing the good qualities of the loved one, the chorus being an emphatic confession of love like the peak of excitement in cinematic musical numbers, the melody ascending from the verse to the chorus.

However, the French text is at the same time affirming and subverting the message. It is still a love song, but one that is poking fun at the English statements. Just before Aznavour sings “Darling I love you, love you, darling I want you,” he’s lamenting that he doesn’t have the eloquence or vocabulary of Shakespeare or Molière, but only has these kinds of words to offer. He only wants to be close to his lover, and as the chorus booms we’re led to think that surely the statement has to be sincere, since he’s sad that these simple words are the best he has. Yet, at the same time it’s the moment when the music is at its most bombastic, as if the whole confession has been turned into a show tune, revealing its artificiality. So according to the song the words in English are actually superficial and cannot do justice to the real feeling. It’s not obvious that French would be any better, but since the music sounds like an American show tune, the song seems to poke fun at the ease with which such words are uttered in American movies.

Moreover, at the end of the song, where the final peak is reached musically, he’s actually wondering why he loves her at all since she mocks him and everything else. The final line “How can I love you?” thus has two meanings: ignoring the French lyrics and just listening to the music, it sounds like it could mean the singer is looking for a way to love her properly. But in reality he’s questioning the love itself. A good example of how the context changes the meaning of a sentence completely. Perhaps if he was more eloquent things could be different, but being in love it seems all words are escaping him. So the ending is yet another reversal of meaning: first the singer has lamented how inadequate these English words are, so superficial, but in the end maybe his love itself is superficial, which would make the statements actually appropriate. It’s the instability of meaning that makes the song brilliant even more than the clever puns when switching between French and English.

Thus the song can have two very different effects. Just listening to the music, it’s fun to dance to it and be swept by the show tune qualities, ecstatic love confessions in which the most bombastic statements suddenly feel sincere because at the height of infatuation all the things that otherwise might sound ridiculous feel very real. But the song also makes me wonder about the relationship of language and the world, and whether we can ever truly express what we feel, and how the gap between words and meanings affects everything.