a poetry e-zine

 

 

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Sara Norja
Ninety-Eight

You saw the world change.
Yet, even at the end,
nigh a hundred years
of history written
in your wrinkles
in your memory,
you would chuckle
and play with words.

(To us, you talked of the war.
No longer the silence
of trauma. Of shame.)

Once you told me
a story you'd shared
with no one:

During the war, you caught
one of the enemy.
Even in your winter gear
you weren't as white
as his fearful face.
He was the enemy. And yet
he was from Karelia. He spoke
Finnish to you. There might even
have been jokes. You didn't say
how the story ended, for,
as often in the final years,
you drifted asleep.

You wore that same cardigan
always. You held me on your knee
when I was a child
and in your creaky voice
sang the old rhyme
about going to church
on a brown gelding
as you had sung it
to my cousins,
as you would sing it
to my siblings.

You were a river rock
with your dialect words
and steadfast hands.

Only later did I realise
how much, in your time,
you'd seen the world change.

 

City of Stones

Upright, crumbling, lichen-eaten, city of
bones, and dust, and the earth.
Here the dead mutter
at night. Here the silence
of a walled fortress.

But also life, the maples and birches,
their leaves spilt, here squirrels hunting
for their next meal, here a quick-beaked
blue-tit beside my waiting feet
pecking away at a carved oblong pumpkin
placed on a grave, a laughing face
carved into it, a burned-out candle
nestled within. See, the dead
shall also have their halloween.

Sara Norja has a master's degree in English and a predilection for tea. Born in England and currently settled in Helsinki, Finland, she lives for the wind, dance, words, and moments of wonder. Her poetry has appeared in publications such as Snakeskin, Curio, Polu Texni, Strange Horizons, Through the Gate and Niteblade. She blogs at http://suchwanderings.wordpress.com.

Copyright 2014  Chantarelle's Notebook