Timo Malmi (1948) has published poems, prose, novels, scientific articles and non-fiction books. Love, yearning and war are themes that connect Malmi’s multifaceted work. His love poem collection Tuulensuu, minä rakastan sinua, was published in 2014 to honour the women who were killed in 1918 defending their city of Tampere in the Finnish Civil War. Malmi has directed a short film entitled, ‘Defenders of Town Hall’ that was shown at the Tampere Short Film Festival 2015. Currently he is writing about Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union in 1941 and onwards.

 

 

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Here are some poems from his next short film: 

 

Tampere, I love you

 

The Commander´s Call

 

That´s the Whites marching there…

 

Young girls, you young women.
Come and do your bit, play your part.
Your city needs you. Faithful defenders.
Listen to Kaisa. Rauha, answer me!
Ida Vilhelmiina, come and join the ranks.

 

We were the bearers of love

When I was on guard, I could see from the window
this soldier of Red Guard marching
with the other soldiers on the Central Square.
He went past the City Hall – such a perfect beauty.

 

The sun was at its highest and his eyes shone
with a look that will newer grow old.

 

The passers-by took no notice of him.
Nobody asked about him.
Nobody cared which division of the Guard
he belonged to.

 

I saw her first. I noticed him at once
and the light he was carrying.
I saw when he disappeared into a gateway
in one street and came out in another.

His radiance melted the snow –
whirls of sand followed him.

 

I feel sure that he went where at night
they awake into life, where they are drunk
with the spirit and their own sensuality.

 

I feel sure that he went where
dubious pleasures change a woman into
a force of her own.

 

 

 

Rose red cheeks

 

But the smell of us girls is innocent,
the smell of the faith of the New Testament.
Rose red cheeks, heart and blood
soon to be shed on the floor.
Sun still dancing on the square,
rain knocking at the doors.
Sisters and brothers alongside me,
mother and father far away.

 

People of Tampere: once again 

Today we daughters of the city stand together
on the steps of the City Hall. And it is ours.
Stone walls, grand pillars, the grey granite
that we defend.

 

The balcony of the City Hall,
like the palm of God`s hand calls to you, your people.
Here we stand, defending equality,
the republic and justice.

 

We defenders of the City Hall are women
We come from the fields and from the factories,
from the shores of the mighty lakes.

 

Barefoot we walked to the rowing boats,
shoes over our shoulders, with swinging strides,
We had Bibles in bags made out of shawls.

 

The power of Tampere has raised us from the dust,
us poor mortals It has raised the poor from
the ashes and put us in a hall with purple hangings.

 

The men soldiers have lost their spring.
They are running for safety in Pispala.
But the rapids flowing through the city
bring fresh water, the ones lying on the
cobblestones are filled with new power.
And we are filled with food.

 

We shall not lack food, love. No, no.
We shall not leave the City Hall,
not  empty handed – no, we shall leave
replete and with faith in the future.

 

We have fallen back to the city hall.
Time will ensure our fame.

 

 

You who are still here 

You who are still here, take care
of the cobbles of the Central Square.
Hold up the walls of the City Hall,
feel the holes of the shells in those walls
so that you know it´s all true.

 

Look at the fountain on fire.
The fountain has chosen a good part.

 

The blood we shed still feeds the flames
of the fountain rising up to heaven.
Whenever you touch the side of the fountain
the water trembles.

 

When the surface calms down into a mirror
bend over and look into the water
and you will see a human being
who has a new beginning in her life.

 

 

Timo Malmi

 

 

Original book: Tuulensuu, minä rakastan sinua.
Poems of women who defended city of Tampere during the civill war in spring 1918 in Finland.
Publisher SanaSato 2014.
Interpretation Virginia Mattila.

 

Website: www.liwre.fi/timo_malmi

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