Lemminkäinen – Original Poems

Original poetry by < a href="http://www.pekkakainulainen.fi/" target="blank">Pekka Kainulainen.
Translated from Finnish by Erkki Virta.

Song 1: Lemminkäinen
I am of crimson blood
nought shall hold me
the dark of night my mirror
My shape reflected in water

Ablaze are my eyes
my soul consumed by woe
my braids weaved by the wind
An image in the black of my mind

Leave I must with haste
me who tires of quiet life
me who’s path leads to war
me who fears no death

I yearn for more
I yearn to rise
I yearn for everything
I yearn for you
I yearn to rise!

Song 2: I Want
What was denied from poor
I took to riches be
I ran on its’ behest
it made me take my due

To death I’d plunge with joy
For happiness to fetch
Prepared to face I am
The war under black soil

Wont to crawl I was
Wont to cringe and fawn
A lowly servant on hours of day
But a holder of nocturnal sway

I ‘m righteous if I so desire
until I shall reveal my worth
and take unto myself
What was denied from me

I stalked them in their celebrations
I delved into their worlds
I aimed at the highest of high
and decided it’s mine to take

What is denied from poor
is taken to love be
I run on its behest
it makes me take my due

Song 3: Mother Mine
Only one can make me do my good deeds
only one and the shadow of that one

Only one can make me do my evil deeds
only one and the shadow of that one

Only one can make me wage all my wars
only one and the shadow of that one

My wit, my knowledge
borne of her advice
My desires I fulfill by revolt

her alone will I lend my ear to
only her I want to obey
her alone will I want to serve
only her I want to defy

Only one can make me do my good deeds
only one and the shadow of that one

Only one can make me do my evil deeds
only one and the shadow of that one

Only one can make me do all my deeds
only one and the shadow of that one

Song 4: The Departure
I have known the arcane lore
on strange roads such visions met
that I have no fear nor concern
for hatred and obstacles of this world

By stoneshoed wanderer I’m taught
My visions from fiery eyed ironarmed chanter
I know how to fight, I know how to sing
I know how to bend, I know how to break

I’ve not grown weary on lenghty roads
on strange lands not gone astray
such is the knowledge cast in me
such is the knowledge and such are the skills

I know how to fight, I know how to sing
I know the way

If ruin is said on me to befall
it has not come to pass
I’ve conquered all who stood on my way
and drowned the snakes of death

And because of treason I now shall leave
because of my blood burning my soul
now I raise the flaming sword
towards darkness and against everyone

I know how to fight, I know how to sing
I know the way
I know the way

Song 5: The Incantation
So high soared my love, now cruelly rejected
If there be peace above, I’ll find it when I rise

A mind dejected, blood boiling with anger
the storm of the warpath now sings in my heart

To battle I equip myself, to warfare I prepare
My sable locks I comb down, and bridle them with resin

I don my enchanted black cloak of adders
my flaming sword high, summon strenght from the night

Your prayer shall not reach my heart
your despair shall not stop me now

Your pleads I now shall disregard
to weep I leave you, and to fear for me

And only this I give you, as a token
for you to have and mourn over:

This precious hairbrush that belonged to my father
I now hurl at the opposing wall
and when my blood flows from its bristles
when my sap drips from its’ shaft
then you will know of my anguish,
then will my destruction be revealed

My sable locks I comb down, and bridle them with resin
my flaming sword high, summon strenght from the night
now ready for my pain I am, now ready for my end
now ready for my road I am, now ready for my victory

Song 6: The Enigma (narrator’s voice)
On warriors trail rose obstacles of stone
he was deluded and led astray
forces strange he had to face
and magic unseen before

He asked and was not answered
he asked for and was not given
but he was not discouraged
he had no mind to quit

Into a whirling mass of waters
up on the highest mountains
of his desire and will he spoke
from ruin rose to claim his due

And then he faced the one, the highest
and shadow moved in Louhi’s mirror
his restless mind found it to his liking
the fairest maid of them all

Thus Louhi spoke in riddled tones
of three things to accomplish
to find and catch the wild moose
to pursue the elk enchanted

To seek the fire-expiring stallion
to bridle the flaming horse
he took the mad reindeer captive
he bridled the golden horse

And still remained the final test:
from sacred stream of death
to hunt the long necked graceful bird
the wild white swan of coal-black river

Song 7: The Enemy (The voice of Lemminkäinen’s killer)
Vile I am and loathsome, a wretched man of straw
the lowliest of the low, unnoticed by them all
a traitor I am, a coward I am
and I will show you my revenge!

A mad dog of the night I am
I grovel and I creep
I kill and none shall ever know
of snakes I shoot from my black heart

Ordained to be no one I am
trodden below everyone
crushed on the ground I am
unnoticed by everyone

Evil I am and rotten, a wretched man of straw
the lowliest of the low, unnoticed by them all
a traitor I am, a coward I am
and I will show you my revenge!

The man who comes to this river I now strike down
his victorious road I now destroy
to gloomy waters I cast him now
by treason into endless enigma

I wait in stony soil, in the shadows, in hiding
his hope I want to destroy
His happiness I must restrain
Now he draws near, I see his fire

A mind like that I once possessed
my soul desired to shine
such courage and hope I too possessed
but they put out my fire

A snake I’m now, a rat I’m now
I thrive on endless hate
I revel on this pain
a traitor I am, an avenger I am

I take my vengeance upon this man
who deemed me feeble-minded
who spared me in his ignorance
Who thought I pose no threat

into his heart my serpent-arrow
and stakes of bone through his lungs
his flesh I’ll rip with sharpest iron
and shoot down his burning spirit
into the coal-black rapids with him
into the death-jaws of Tuoni with him
where none shall ever come back from
where none shall return!

Song 8: The Death (Lemminkäinen’s voice)
I set out on a longest road
to seek answers from death itself
I set out to the black sacred stream
to seek out and shoot a white swan

Embraced by gloomy mists I was
on those desolate and stony paths
I descended from a mountain to a vale
from day to night I went

I reached the shore and I bent down
to hide among the shadows
and there I saw it come toward
to float into my view, the swan

I took the arrow and raised my bow
I aimed below the graceful neck
under the white of its’ breast
inside the red of its’ heart

The calm surface of black river
reflected the sky and a pale moon
and there I caught a glimpse of myself
before the vision shattered

An arrow hit me from the water
a serpent ripped apart my mind
the pain my sense destroyed
the slash went through my heart

Now I fall into the black river
into the jaws of death
I dissolve into this stream
and vanish in gory mire

My last sight a white swan
behind the swan a starless sky
under the sky a coal black river
in river reflected a bone white moon

Someone slipped from a shadow to another
someone crawled from a hideout to another
someone disappeared on the road invisible
someone ended into the endless

Song 9: The Sign (narrator’s voice)
Far from here, a house forsaken on lands of yesterday
the silence of the night has crept in
as weeping of the women, as thoughts of solitude,
as sadness and as grief

In a dimly-lit deserted room
left on a table, a token, a talisman
inherited from his father, a gilded hairbrush

Oozing from the shaft a stream of bitter sap
dripping from the bristles a slow scarlet flow
forming into a pool of blood, under the table

They know it to be an emblem of death, a sign of destruction
they recognise the end of a friend, the woe of a man and son
they look at the brush, remember the black hair,
They weep the bitter sap.

Song 10: The Shaman
Mother wept for her son, wept and sang
wife longed for her husband
anxiously pondered fate, his and her own
mother began a wail of anguish

A suns’ ray, in through the eye
glimmered in silent room of the mind
changed the shape of old woman, sorrow gone from her face
sought help from the shaman, turned herself into a shaman

Out of the chimney a witch flew out
across the sky a shaman dived
beyond her raced the woods and lakes, the roads of man
till she came to rest on Northlands gates

”I have come for my son, where have you sent my son?
I shall accept no lies, no falsehoods or deception
or else I’ll send you plagues unnumbered,
destruction upon you and your house
your treasures I’ll annihilate, and slay your fairest daughter”

So startled by the shamans’ strenght the hostess of Northland
told of the way, described the road,
the path that leads to river black
told of the task she set, impossible to complete
and from the jaws of death there will be no return

Song 11: The Power Of Shaman
Now mother filled with the spirit of shaman
as wolf through marshes bounded
as bear through wilderness she roamed
as otter through waters glided

Along the sea-coast she sprang, a hare
as ant she sought the lands
a small perch in shallow waters
and a great pike in the depths

She sought her lost one far and wide
she asked the stones she asked the trees
the forest trails and pathways
she asked the creeks but no one knew

Song 12: The Union (Mother-shaman’s voice)
A day’s light told me of my son’s fate
The sun showed the way, grim and severe
pulled under the raging waters, my child
sank in the drowning currents, my son

My strenght is not enough, my powers fail me
I need the help of heavens, I ask for thunder’s force
I plead for you oh lightning, provide a tool of iron
forge me a rake with magic, to drag the river for my son

Help me God of fire, bringer of light, forger of sun
cast your wamth on cold river, put to sleep its’ guardian
lull the folk of silent waters, drive away the serpents
to the river now let me go, to go and fetch my son away

Forged for me the gods of skies a rake made of iron
to my aid the sun was sent by the spirit of clear day
now in my way no man can stand, nor cold troops of Tuoni
and I shall walk untouched by the river of the night

Song 13: Restoration
I knew my son was torn to shreds, dissolved into black waters
to pieces hacked by blood-soaked men of silent river under ground
I knew my son was mad to seek to shoot the swan of death
but he is of my flesh and blood and he shares of my magic

So long I scoured the river black, so long I raked the waters
at last to find the hero’s shoes, his stockings and his cloak
I brought up his bloodied hat and jacket stained by death
and finally the teeth of my rake caught hold of something more

Thus surfaced the fragments of my son, with only half a head
an armless body torn and cut, with fingers missing and broken bones
his flesh a feast for eels of death, his muscles lost in black pools
the spark of his spirit suppressed by cold and gloomy depths

On leafless tree a raven sat and cast a doubtful eye
upon my bitter weeping, spoke these words unto me
”there is no hero to restore, no son left to revive
so cease your bitter efforts here and let your child be gone”

But I refused to give up hope, his measures I disregarded
I raked the river deeper still and pulled up every fragment
the remnants of his head and arms, the portions of his flesh
the knots of veins and shreds of bones, his eyes and his black hair

And so I shaped my son anew, his flesh to bones I joined
and knitted every vein together, and bound back every muscle
his lifeless members and death-like tissue I carefully assembled
until there on the river bank my son lay complete again

But still no breath escaped his lips, his mouth uttered no words
although the blood pumped in his veins his eyes remained shut
a birdling flew down from the sky, a buzzing tiny bee
I asked of him for mead and honey, the balm of magic virtues

The bee flew out, far and wide, across the golden fields
it crossed the seas and searched the lands, the rich gardens abloom
and fetched me wondrous balsams from flowery meadows
but no earthly nectar could restore my son to life

And so I sent the little bee to fly the way of shaman
to pass the borders of the moon, through distant light of stars
to soar swiftly on tiny wings to the seventh of the heavens
to the castle of Creator, the dwellings of the blessed

There to find the balm of life prepared in kettles of gold
there to cull the ointment from silver-tinted cauldrons
and bring back the holy mead, the sweet and golden honey
for me to anoint his eyelids with, and restore his injured senses

Wake my child, arise my son from depths of your slumber
heed my words and incantation, feel my love and know my wisdom
rise now from your dire misfortune, the lowest of conditions
and thus his eyes blinked open and words poured out of his mouth:

”Long, indeed, I’ve lain here, forever slept and dreamed here
of what I can remember of the moments before my death
a serpent struck from water, an adder pierced my heart
and on the shore, amongst shadows lurked an evil man
my enemy, my traitor, my shadow, my destroyer

Song 14: Return From The River Of Tuonela (Lemminkäinen’s voice)
Still searching for my way, the right way to be
Still pondering what I’ve done
Still thinking what I’ve said, still finding from within
All that I know is still not enough

I’m being held by the one
shadow tormenting my soul
the gently curving neck of a swan
the slowly turning head of a bird

So white it’s plumes and feathers
its’ breast the moon reflected in water
so silent and tranquil it moves
across the calm surface of the river

I wander back on familiar roads
I sense the marks I left on hills
I see the cuts and wounds of my deeds
I makes me muse on life

Up the hill, up the mountain
looking back and looking down
There flows the River of Death
and here the wind in my hair.