Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Olli Heikkonen

Oh, Sputnik, iron star

Oh, Sputnik, iron star, keep on playing
that pop tune, spew notes into the ether.
Let your clock-hands glow above mountain ranges,
let midnight be announced form beyond galaxies,
millions of years as the rain traveled across the empty ocean
and out of it steaming stalagmites rose.
Let gastropod shells hum their tale of a time
when the cloud cover began to fray,
when molecules began to form chains.
And crustaceans gnawed messages into stones.
Let them tell how mussels wove armor
around themselves, how they carved
a rock to so resemble a brain.
Oh, Sputnik, iron star, protect our sleep,
sprinkle your rust mixed with snow on these rooftops
as they rise and fall
in the rhythm of breathing.
Light up the streets. Signpost the roads.
Guide the seafarers – as if they ever
needed it – toward the harbor’s photoelectric cells
spilling their honey on the water.
Guide the traveling fair as it proceeds
from town to town, its ferris wheel carried in containers,
dismantled. And guide me
along that track made by the wheels of their carts
past the roundabout creatures, the tiger all swollen in the rain,
to the fragrance of popcorn and spun sugar.

O Spoetnik, ijzeren ster

O Spoetnik, ijzeren ster, speel die hit maar,
slinger de noten de ether in.
Laat je wijzers over de bergen schijnen, laat
je middernachtelijk signaal achter de Melkweg horen,
achter die miljoenen jaren, toen de regen
over de lege zeeën trok
en de druipstenen dampend uit de zee omhoog kwamen.
Laat het suizen in de slakkenhuizen vertellen over de tijd
dat de wolkengordijnen scheurden,
de moleculen reeksen vormden.
En de schaaldieren berichten in stenen knaagden.
Vertel hoe de schelpen een pantser
om zich heen weefden, hoe ze de rots
die hersenvormige groeven gaven.
O Spoetnik, ijzeren ster, bescherm de slaap,
strooi met sneeuw vermengde roest over deze daken
als ze stijgen en dalen
op het ritme van de adem.
Verlicht de straten. Wijs de wegen.
Leid de zeevaarders – als geraakten ze in nood –
naar de lichtraten van de haven,
waaruit honing de zee in sijpelt.
Leid de rondtrekkende kermis, als die van stad
tot stad trekt, het reuzenrad verpakt in containers.
En leid mij
over het harde karrenspoor
dat ook de kermis volgt, voorbij de draaimolendieren,
voorbij de in de regen opgezwollen tijger
en de geur van popcorn en suikerspin.

Oi, Sputnik, rautatähti, soita vaan
iskelmää, paisko nuotteja eetteriin.
Anna viisareidesi hohtaa vuorten yllä, anna
keskiyön äänimerkin kuulua galaksien takaa,
vuosimiljoonien takaa, jolloin sade kulki
pitkin autiota ulappaa
ja höyryten kohosivat merestä tippukivet.
Anna kotiloiden huminan kertoa ajasta,
jolloin pilviverhot alkoivat repeillä,
molekyylit muodostaa ketjuja.
Ja äyriäiset nakersivat viestejä kivien pintaan.
Kerro miten simpukat kutoivat
panssaria ympärilleen, miten ne uursivat
kalliosta niin aivojen muotoisen.
Oi, Sputnik, rautatähti, suojele unta,
ripota lumensekainen ruoste näiden kattojen ylle,
kun ne nousevat ja laskevat
hengityksen tahtiin.
Valaise kadut. Viitoita tiet.
Johdata merenkulkijat – niin kuin he olisivat
pulaan joutuneet – kohti sataman valokennoja,
joista mereen läikkyy hunajaa.
Johdata kiertävää tivolia, kun se matkaa
kaupungista toiseen maailmanpyörä kontteihin purettuna.
Ja johdata minut
sitä kärrynpyörien kovettamaa polkua,
jota tivolikin kulkee, ohi karusellieläinten,
ohi sateessa turvonneen tiikerin
popcornin ja hattaran tuoksuun. 
Close

Oh, Sputnik, iron star

Oh, Sputnik, iron star, keep on playing
that pop tune, spew notes into the ether.
Let your clock-hands glow above mountain ranges,
let midnight be announced form beyond galaxies,
millions of years as the rain traveled across the empty ocean
and out of it steaming stalagmites rose.
Let gastropod shells hum their tale of a time
when the cloud cover began to fray,
when molecules began to form chains.
And crustaceans gnawed messages into stones.
Let them tell how mussels wove armor
around themselves, how they carved
a rock to so resemble a brain.
Oh, Sputnik, iron star, protect our sleep,
sprinkle your rust mixed with snow on these rooftops
as they rise and fall
in the rhythm of breathing.
Light up the streets. Signpost the roads.
Guide the seafarers – as if they ever
needed it – toward the harbor’s photoelectric cells
spilling their honey on the water.
Guide the traveling fair as it proceeds
from town to town, its ferris wheel carried in containers,
dismantled. And guide me
along that track made by the wheels of their carts
past the roundabout creatures, the tiger all swollen in the rain,
to the fragrance of popcorn and spun sugar.

Oh, Sputnik, iron star

Oh, Sputnik, iron star, keep on playing
that pop tune, spew notes into the ether.
Let your clock-hands glow above mountain ranges,
let midnight be announced form beyond galaxies,
millions of years as the rain traveled across the empty ocean
and out of it steaming stalagmites rose.
Let gastropod shells hum their tale of a time
when the cloud cover began to fray,
when molecules began to form chains.
And crustaceans gnawed messages into stones.
Let them tell how mussels wove armor
around themselves, how they carved
a rock to so resemble a brain.
Oh, Sputnik, iron star, protect our sleep,
sprinkle your rust mixed with snow on these rooftops
as they rise and fall
in the rhythm of breathing.
Light up the streets. Signpost the roads.
Guide the seafarers – as if they ever
needed it – toward the harbor’s photoelectric cells
spilling their honey on the water.
Guide the traveling fair as it proceeds
from town to town, its ferris wheel carried in containers,
dismantled. And guide me
along that track made by the wheels of their carts
past the roundabout creatures, the tiger all swollen in the rain,
to the fragrance of popcorn and spun sugar.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère