Vallilan rapsodia
Vallilan rapsodia is a five-movement song cycle for soprano and piano.
From 2018 to 2020, I lived in an apartment in Vallila with a direct view of the Vallila library designed by Juha Leiviskä. Since poet Viljo Kajava used to live in Vallila and wrote an abundance of poems about the neighborhood, the library has made him a kind of a flagship author. While living and moving about in the area, I got interested in Kajava’s bibliography and developed a made-up nostalgia for his Vallila that hasn’t existed in decades. I set five poems from the collection Vallilan rapsodia into songs for soprano and piano. In my mind, the sounds of the song cycle are linked to springtime with its unpredictable changes in weather, atmosphere and mood.
Vallilan rapsodia - I: Kello seitsemän
Seven O’clock
In the morning the wind blows, the air wanders
The dewy street glimmers,
The dark horizons brighten up
Over a dripping iron gate
The arrows of the sun scatter onto the yard
They don’t fly inside here:
              At the rumbling machines   
              Through the filth of the factory windows    
              We sense the air    
              And the windy light    
              Trembling hands clenched in fists       
                          At the controls of the machines   
              The welding flame hissing out    
              Blue and red            
                                        And the sour fire of copper.
O humming wind, come in through the gate
Blast your way through us
Come in here for once, o wind
Come into us and sing within us.
Vallilan rapsodia - II: Mäkelänkadun vaiheilta
From Along Mäkelänkatu
Here and there at the backs of yards
Old barns and stables
Rose shrubs and flowerbeds
The loose freedom of children
                                      Behind a wooden fence.

But soon the bulldozers are coming
Booms high up
In one day
Freedom is fenced off with brick and concrete walls
And it’s a quick development towards a wasteland
And loneliness
                                      in rental rooms;
The smell of cars fills the asphalt yards
That will soon be gridded into parking lots.
Vallilan rapsodia - III: Pyyntö
A Request
Wind me up, o spring
Burn my shin with the needle of the sunbeam
So that I scream like a child,
Lift me up
Onto a gold-flanked cloud
Ignite me and break me down
Into little bits of fluff
In the dusty window of the poor,
Break me down into puddles of thin ice
For the kids of the asphalt yard to shatter with their feet.
Then, o spring,
Allow me to once more let out
A fierce and sharp
Primal scream of joy.
Vallilan rapsodia - IV: Yölliset vankkurit
Wagons of the Night
The quiet nightcloud wagons
Traverse towards the north
Above the morning-slow Mäkelänkatu,
Through the ripped canopies; the stars.
What do the gray wagons of the night carry
What might say the thin smoke
Rising from the skyhorses’ nostrils.
Dim-eyed and awake early in the morning
We follow the drifting cloud wagons
And a boulder of the everyday falls out of our chest.
Through thin-boned grid of our ribcage
The roaming of the quiet cloud wagons
Something unborn in a human watches.
Vallilan rapsodia - V: Romantiikka
Say what you want
Romance never dies
It blooms in the butterfly patterns
Of ladies’ trousers
In the tattoos of a sailor’s cock
It lingers in the subtle wrinkles
In the corner of the mouth of a woman let down
It flickers as a light
In the foggy landscape of her gaze.
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