II Tryst


(Easter Monday 2009, Freiburg, Germany. On a lonely trail, the day was warm and the sun came shining through. I'd been lost in the Black Forest, with an open question. Photo by AF.)


One coffee, one tryst
From the muses and the stream
Of blood, a meeting place
Not to make us feel like losing
Near the dead park, dead street
The girls went dancing in the cellar
God, how I longed for a drink
And melancholy, strong
Liquids for beggars like me
A drunkard or not

The walls were made of wood
And the same kind of wooden dancefloor
They have in those Viennese halls
But otherwor(l)dly, was there
With thousand windows and frost
A mirror made of water
And a face that was pale
The swan with her white breast
Someone to lie there in pieces
"Dead is the park, dead the street"
When autumn fell and I fell for her

(The beginning of second chapter, first poem, of Lyrics. This "manuscript" includes also photographs, as one can see. And the autumnal park dates from October 2002, Töölö, Helsinki. Pictures taken by AF.)

And it's been a long time
(In little pieces Nuevo)
I'll be veiling the leaves
The light shining through, to begin with
And I beg you on this dusty parquetry
Give me something else to think
Sugar, now that we are here
Who would like to have
An old cup of coffee
Without any cream
Black as the heart of anyone
Learning from the girls of the river
Beneath, they were like men
Who have failed in love
And could become sirens
"Well, I'm not a decent man,
So I can't tell what to think of this all"


Among others in the meadow
Kore picking up flowers like youths
Queen of the Underworld
Proserpina's wedlock
With pomegranate seeds
Unbreakable, moving us

(This photograph of a pomegranate was taken by Laura Vilva, in September 2007. We were on Paros, Greece. I never thought this would be of any use, and I even discouraged her to take a photo at all, but it seems that I was wrong.)

The whole site is like a monument
"And a goddess will be living in ruins"
The sacred grove where lovers meet
And bodies are temples to be measured
We were sealed with the golden cut
"Laying on both sides of the bed"

And I'll paint them into this picture
The daymares, and the conversations we had
At the Night Café terrace
There wasn't much of a feeling
When I realized (in September-October)
As we sat around the table, who made a mistake
Having too much coffee down the veins
With all of that "sorry for my heart,
It's getting too black to even tell
What to think of this all"

(Vincent van Gogh's unsigned Café Terrace at night, on the Place du Forum, Arles. It was painted in September 1888. This picture has meant a lot to me. While I was living in Töölö, Helsinki, from November 2000 to September 2003, it hanged on the wall next to the dining table, where I had conversations with my room mate, and with people from all walks of life. I am grateful for the memories I have from those days. The painting literally speaks to me.)

Pearls were collected from the mud
We drank the last one, and I showed how
You'll be born again like our cigarettes
When they vanish and seem to die

As if I wrote it down back then
"We should remember this evening"
Oh keep the memory from now on
And I'll keep it, too

But I don't claim to own
The grain of the field
Mother Ceres, or wonder
If magic ever worked at all
I adore French beauty
But only to play that song
"Resting at the St Paul's asylum
With an iris in my palm"
And I want another canvas
The yellow house, the yellow moon
Irises in the decaying gardens
Light on light for this landscape
The Saviour descending to Hades
And the adoration of the magi
And I beseech, there are ghosts
On some philosopher's grave
Where churches have been
Burned to the ground,
Tending a Latin rosegarden

(Anástasis, Resurrection, a fresco from the 14th century. Kariye Camii, or St Saviour in Chora, Istanbul. This is one of the most famous and moving frescoes in the world, but it's still more or less unknown among "the wider circles", and that is my apology for using it here. The Saviour descends to Hades, taking both sexes by the hand. Photo by AF, September 2009.)


...To warn me
Of the soul that is black
And jealous, what people may think
How you all watched me
With growing disgust and shame
And black is the coffee, for the young
To learn a sense of honour
And reason, what shame could be
Learn from the girls
Of the river that flows
Through this city to be saved
And they're like virgins
Who try to sell what they have
From the Eucharist to themselves
"Pity the church, there's no one in
And no one will be there"

In springtime with the lily
White rose light and Pentecost
Let me have the first kiss of love
For this everlasting theme, and a girl
Who went through something
As I recalled, honestly
The spring of that year
When we met again
I forgave you, I forgave them

(A note paper, one of the many. It could open the Café for you. And it may close the whole place. Picture and all-that-jazz-and-hassle-writings by AF.)

And I went to the church
There was a wedding ceremony
And a medieval altar, the Holy Spirit
And the Consecration of someone like me
With memories to greet, alms to take
The Holy Dove above the head
In communion with this marriage
That I've kept here, all the notes
Written since the early years
When I tried, grief stricken
I had sinned (in May-June)

Thanks for giving me so much
Poetry, so many words to frame
"And they're still young like you were,
And they're still young like you were"
But the cage you warned me of
The cage built itself around us
Anyway, if it ever went wrong
The scent was still the same

(White rose and long johns. The Church of Pity is a title from 2003. Back then I thought of it as a sanctuary that could be found in everyone. And I have not changed my view. Photo by Laura Vilva.)

No, baby, my soul is not damned
And we're not going anywhere
Except to the Church of Pity
Until I've asked you to forgive me
That I wasn't much of a lover
In leaving names or traces

"habet iuch an mînen rât:
der scheidet iuch von missetât.
sus hebe ich an. lât iuch gezemen,
ir sult niemer iuch verschemen,
verschamter lîp, waz touc der mêr?
der wont in der mûze rêr,
dâ im werdekeit entrîset
und in gein der helle wîset."

("Keep to my advice,
it will save you from wrong-doing.
This is how I shall begin - allow me!
You must never lose your sense of shame.
If one is past all shame what is one fit for?
One lives like a bird in moult,
shedding good qualities like plumes
all pointing down to Hell.")
-Wolfram von Eschenbach / Parzival

(Les Iris by Vincent van Gogh. Painted in 1889 while he was having a rest cure at the St Paul's asylum, in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. I had this poster on my wall when I lived in Korso, Vantaa, more than a decade ago, sharing at least in my imagination some of the painter's angst, melancholy or even madness. But I also found it quite therapeutic to look at the picture - just by looking one could get better. I liked to watch the works of the great masters over and over again. Of course, I couldn't help taking their themes into my own works.)

One Coffee, One Tryst was written in 2010, between 

May and July. A thousand wor(l)ds had to be taken 
from notes that were sacked in 2000-2003 already.

”And how will you marry me...”

”And how will you marry me,
Not the world coming to its end”
My heart being sworn out of its cage

And if I’d be that man you could fall in love with
Every blond-haired girl would be the same
They wear blue jeans and they’re pretty
And we know what they’re made of
'Cause when I’m that beautiful man,
I understand but I don’t give a damn

If I hadn’t let you see it all here
Would you have taken everything
For yourself at last, not throwing it away

And what else is there for me now
Than the tree that still has to be weak
It's the end of May over here
We spent months on the bridge

Letters in May fragments were written in 2002 
when May was coming to its end, with only 
minor changes thereafter. I hope I'm forgiven 
that I've failed to be a knight and these letters were 
not worthy of their original title, "Minne-songs".


(Helsinki my beloved, October 2001. It was raining as I followed the lights all the way down to that crooked bar. Pictures and endless nostalgia by AF.)

When Amber called it was raining
Leaves lined the streets, in loneliness
"Maybe I have walked long enough"
Drunken flashes are they starry-eyed
Or lamps hanging above in pairs
With simple romanticism
A row of couples tied to each other
Who will take the burden for them
What we want from our lives
"And it was already so dark
That I couldn't find her,
I couldn't find the right place"
We're interested in that crooked bar
If there's a piano without strings
A chess board made in exile
(In old Riga there was)

And I bought this record
For the little impressions we made
"We'll never get there with the others"
And I had never been that low

(Still romanticizing in Helsinki, October 2001. The atmosphere was not hopeless, but "sorrows of youth" walked behind me. These beautiful streets would know all the loneliness and frustration I felt in the night....)

But there is Amber
Traffic light at the crossroads
And resin from the Baltic Sea dragon
Heads or tails, please throw a coin
For the gypsy street musician
Too underground for the underground scene
"How Balder would have to rise,
A fair guardian spirit of the North
In the twilight of the gods"

The flooding waters they froze
And from the ice, without fail
There was the same water again
And this earth will be the sun,
This earth will be the sun

We could sit here quietly
And smile, with our legs crossed
"When in search of clarity
The way is lost in itself,
Gone to its own walker"
We could hide in the corner
And not say a damned thing
But none of this will be required

From the womb of Isis
To her mouth again, the bark
At the Cross of this world
It was the tomb of Osiris
Beyond there slowly moving
For who we really are and will be
"And every shadow has its bearer of shadow,
Every shadow has its bearer of shadow"
To the cloister, the forest or the White Sea
If grace could not be earned it may be given
There are monks who repeat endlessly
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God
In their monasteries, the Karelian choir
And keep silent vigil (hesykhia)

(A frozen landscape in November, 2010. Another kind of view over Helsinki. And as the saying goes, "if you don't love the trees, you don't love Christ". Wintry photos by Laura Vilva.)

The wind blows where it wants to
Even on the isle of nothingness
Long Play (LP) without a needle
No gypsies in circles, and who've been
Listening to a band that never was
But it's like traditional jazz, damn good
"Oh the stairs in that crooked bar"
Death on the stage, waves of goodbye
What this record shows of the world
The windows, and a terrible fool
For the crush on her, and my will
This empty chair that I offer you

Amber Came To See Us (To See If We're Interested) 
was written in October 2010. The last verse, however, 
among other things, came almost too late.

"And we’re here tonight..."

And we’re here tonight
If none of us will ever have
What we're here for
What is it you're after

And mercy now, tonight
We’ve finally made it
To each other’s arms
And it has taken "so fucking long,
But now both of us have come
To spend nights together"
Almost like we were lovers

It's not what I wanted
And I’ll have to keep on writing
When I get hurt like this
For the love we have, that we ever had
Whatever has happened to us
Even if you were gone through it now


(Old Riga in August, 2000. I wanted to have a picture with an umbrella. I had seen the movie Les Parapluies de Cherbourg over a year before, and though I was a severe critic at the time, nothing would ever be the same when "tearfulness came breaking through".)

What will be my shelter this autumn,
What was it that I heard
Sing to me the words
And a haven in Cherbourg
For the ones we've loved
Tonight I'll meet some things that are old
The summer nights of waiting
And who has had enough
We'll have to watch our step, now
I've lived quietly for a while
This is not my umbrella,
It belongs to my love

Chorus Mysticus:
For all the things we've been
For all the things we've been
Thank heavens
If that happiness is ever seen in me again
With my broken heart I'll come to you,
My broken heart I'll bring to you

Men could stay solemn
And their whole lives rest
If there's no echo at all
"And I sing, but I don't sing for her, no more"
It's fine that you're here
When words become something else
God knows what men become
"But were the dead ends gone like they were,
And were the helpless nights gone like they were"
I should've not asked
And if their souls have to suffer,
If their souls have to suffer wrath
Who will hold to the white
Or change in weakness
And then, there a healthy one
Not asking too much

(The miracle-working icon of the Mother of God of Konevitsa. According to legend it was originally painted at Mt. Athos and brought to Karelia in the 1390s already. Photos taken with permission at Uusi Valamo in Heinävesi, Finland, 19.7.09, by AF.)

Chorus Mysticus:
For all the things we've been
For all the things we've been
Thank heavens
If that happiness is ever seen in me again
With my broken heart I'll come to you,
My broken heart I'll bring to you

A Haven In Cherbourg was written in May-June 2009. 
I began the mystical chorus in January the same 
year. A paper from October 2004 and verses 
written in 2002 helped a lot.

"Like seven years ago...."

Like seven years ago
With a letter from you in May
It would give us a name
And leave it there, for others to see
"Or may god damn you
For ever writing me at all"
What would we have to lose,
What on earth could we lose

And what names want to come between us now
When there are no names left, they’re no longer there
They were gone already in December

And if one cries now
Were we set out to fall


Chorus of the Lone Crusaders:
The crusaders return
And lone crusaders have sworn
To guard the pilgrims, and search for truth
Purified by chants and praising
"The Holy Land will be ours
And the caravan will be safe
With a little help from our friends
And some Arabian herbs"
When we're not home,
When we're not home at all
How to choose the side
On which Thy Will be done
How to spell the difference
Between black and white magic
Oh the crusaders have returned
And lone crusaders will be there
Purified by chants and praising
When the work is done, together
And see the New Jerusalem

(A tree in the garden of the holy shrine of
Ekatontapiliani, "the church of hundred doors",
on Paros, in September 2007. Photo by Laura Vilva.)

Open the hundredth door
And what will be given to you
(Constantinople will be returned)
If there's no door to be knocked on
Among things found in this world
In the stories I've read, only the door
Of thy neighbour shall be opened

Holding the very same sword in hand
The hidden marble statue will be changed
(To Constantine XI Palaiologos)
Beyond the threshold

To conquer
By the sign of the Invincible
And Greek fire burns, when it is not
The fire of heaven that is needed
On this ancient Byzantine path

(Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, in August 2009. Its tragic history as a church and a mosque may be a good thing in the end. It has gone through a kind of catharsis. And I remind you that Constantinople fell already in 1204, when the crusaders lost their way. Photos taken by AF.)

Hagia Sophia cried
When Constantinople fell
There were priests who joined in the sack
And a whore on the patriarchal throne

But Outremer would not be lost
In the siege and fall of Jerusalem, Rhodes
Or Constantinople

It was not lost, even with so much blood
And the blood that belonged to Christ
Like the Order of the Temple of Solomon
With cross and cloak, red on white
They rode to meet the council
And the accusations that were false

Demon of the Sun
How to count its number
And reveal with understanding
Not to be tangled in the web
Of Antichrist, if it's left
Unnoticed or hated in fear
Should this be looked with
The blessing and guidance offered
From the highest heavens,
Choirs of the First Hierarchy
Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones
And the Trinity itself

But even before (1998 - 1332)
It could have been disastrous
Without the Prophet's aid
"And Islam repressed the flow
Of Greek philosophy, one sided
Persian wisdom and science from Arabia;
It was too early for consciousness
To be awakened like that, wrong
Literally, there was more..."

The Knights Templar were not guilty
And they knew the curse of gold
And how to get rid of it
With the Golden Fleece
"Not for us, Lord, not for us"

The last Grand Master stood
Unlettered and in chains
Not able to save his brethren
Or himself, when something was in the wind
And confessions would be made
Of acts committed by the Inquisition

The Hospital and the Temple
Were not lost because of this, or because
They too lived in the arms of cruelty
"For the knight the poor are nothing less
Than Christ, incarnate in their suffering,
And in them he takes care of Christ"
Where the sick ate and drank
From silver cups and plates
And slept between linen sheets

(Second chapter from the Book of Lyrics. The seventh poem
takes you to the medieval Street of Knights, on the isle of roses.
The picture was found from an old tourist guide.)

In Collachium
The Inns of Tongues
They could no longer stay
When the key of Rhodes was taken
"And so Odós Ippotón was left"
Stronghold of the hounds of Hell
Or the seventh crusading state
The Knights of St John the Baptist
Sailed away with the icon of Virgin
Of Philermo, and I was wondering
Who lived a life like that
In the wall-encircled old town
The curtains around
Cobble-stone paved lanes
And the Jewish quarter
Where the Turks broke in
But they would retreat
From these towers

And like a guardian
One friendly dog followed
Later on that hill, I thought
As if saved by a miracle
Nothing has been lost

From the heights, a view over the sea
Pine trees and the sound of bells
And if there was another vision
Of Our Lady with a host of angels
And camel hair in the wilderness
"I'll have to leave you with that"

Sit tibi copia

Sit sapie(n)tia
Formaq(ue) det(ur) 
Inq(ui)nat o(mn)ia sola 
Sup(er)bia si comi(tetur)
("Wealth may be yours 

Wisdom too 
And you may have beauty 
But if pride touch them 
All will turn to dross") 
-Hospitaller inscription,Krak des Chevaliers

Chor der Älteren Pilger:
Beglückt darf nun dich, o Heimat, ich schauen,
und grüßen froh deine lieblichen Auen;
nun lass' ich ruhn den Wanderstab,
weil Gott getreu ich gepilgert hab'.
Durch Sühn' und Buß' hab' ich versöhnt
den Herren, dem mein Herze frönt,
der meine Reu' mit Segen krönt,
den Herren, dem mein Lied ertönt,

den Herren, dem mein Lied ertönt.
 Der Gnade Heil ist dem Büßer beschieden,
er geht einst ein in der Seligen Frieden!
Vor Höll' und Tod ist ihm nicht bang,
drum preis' ich Gott mein Leben lang.
Halleluja in Ewigkeit! Halleluja in
Ewigkeit! In Ewigkeit...."

-Richard Wagner / Tannhäuser

The Pilgrim / The Crusader was written 
in exhaustion during the summer of 2010. 
I had been working for years with it. Naturally, 
there were still difficult things left beyond 
the lines that needed to be worked on.

"Many of them went by..."

Many of them went by,
When more years came
But all these chances were left
With a sense of something warm
And each time we’d see each other
I would come to you
Laughing, to try a little
If you'd be a thin ice or not

And every time I’d have to go
With a heart cut to pieces
I never showed it to you
But I hoped you would see it
And you thought, you thought
The laugh belonged to me
And you liked the levity in it
"My heart cut to pieces"

But all of it wasn't like that
'Cause on these city streets
And in the nights, or whenever
We used to cross many things
With a few glances and words

And once we even had a deal
That I would fail to keep
The letters written, I didn’t send them

No more in an old house, baby
Nor with an empty bookshelf

And I would be late with my letter in spring
But I wasn't asking for you so much
I was asking for your help
And when summer came I still couldn’t breathe

We met only once then, but you were
The only thing from my youth
I could get a hold of

And I sat there for a while, at home with you
And a sense of something warm