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This poem is taken from PN Review 93, Volume 20 Number 1, September - October 1993.

Five Poems Eeva Liisa Manner

The major poet Eeva-Liisa Manner (b.1921) has a dozen substantial books of poems and several successful plays as well as prose and translation to her credit. For her, poetry is 'a letter from far pushed under the door' - 'so large and white it's filling the whole house.' The world as she perceives it is phantasmagoric: her metaphysics are experienced on the senses and in the heart: 'I can feel the autumn light with my hand.' It's as though the hand could go right through matter and touch something realer on the other side.Where everything is an apparition, it's not surprising to encounter an apparition. Yet it is our world that she's witnessing, though seen without comforting illusions.


But really I died
long since,
and when death comes, when it strikes
the body with my clothes on,
it's just a predestined meeting;
movement breaks, words disperse
like snow, the eyes' visions
flee like a score of pigeons
(since feelings are what we see with),
my body careens out of itself,
my head's in The Charioteer's looking-glass world, legs
in unknown gardens,
and my body falls and falls to meet me
in the emptiness of night.


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