Poem about the Finnish winter
December 1, 2005 11:27 AM   Subscribe

I once read (on the web) a poem by a finnish poet describing the harshness of winter in northern Finland. I don't remember the name of the poet, the name of the poem or any other characteristic. I think that the poem was called "-50C" or something, but even that can be wrong. Any pointers?
posted by falameufilho to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
Did it include a line about how being caught outside overnight would kill you or something like that?
posted by duck at 12:03 PM on December 1, 2005

The only one I can recall about a Fin, and cold weather. I'm sure it's not what you're looking for, but maybe it will inspire:

The Finn Who Would Not Take A Sauna - by Garrison Keillor

In Northeast Minnesota, what they call the Iron Range
Where men are men and that is that and some things never change
Where winter stays nine months a year, there is no spring or fall
And it's so cold the mercury cannot be seen at all

Where you and I we normal folks would shiver, shake and chatter
And if we used an outhouse we would grow an extra bladder
And even when it's coldest, when our feet would have no feeling
Those Iron Rangers get dressed up and go out snowmobiling
Out across the frozen land and make a couple stops,
At Geno's Lounge and Rudy's Bar for whiskey, beer and schnapps

But there was one a shy young man, and although he was Finnish
The joys of winter had for him long started to diminish
He was a Finn, the only Finn, who would not take a sauna
"It isn't that I can't", he said, "I simply do not wauna."

And so he stayed close by the stove for nine months of the year
Because he was so sensitive to change of temperature
His friends said, "Come on Toivo, let's go out to Sunfish Lake.
Why a Finn who don't take sauna's, why there must be some mistake!"

But Toivo said, "There's no mistake, I know that I would freeze,
in water colder than myself 98.6 degrees.
To jump into a frozen lake is not my fondest wish,
For just because I am a Finn, don't mean that I'm a fish!"

One night he went to Eveleth, to attend the Miners Ball
If you have not danced in Eveleth, you have never danced atall
And he met a Finish beauty there, who turned his head around
She was broad of beam, and when she danced she shook the frozen ground

She took that shy young man in hand and swept him off his feet,
And bounced him up and down until he learned that polka beat
She was as strong as any man, she was as fair as she was wide
And when the dance was over, he asked her to be his bride

She looked him over carefully, she said, "You're kinda thin,
But you must have some courage if it's true you are a Finn.
Now I'm not particular about men, and I am no prima donna,
But I would never marry one who would not take a sauna!"

They jumped into her pickup, and down the road they drove
And 15 minutes later they were stokin' up the stove
She had a flask of whiskey, they had a couple toots
And went into the shack and got into their birthday suits

She steamed him and she boiled him until his skin turned red
She poured it on until his brains were boiling in his head
To increase his circulation, and to soften up his hide
She cut a couple birch boughs, and she beat him till he cried,

"Oh couldn't you just love me now, oh don't you think you can?"
She said, "It's time to go outside and show you are a man!"
Straight way because he loved her so, he thought his heart would break
Out the door and down the path and he ran down to the lake

And though he paused a moment when he saw the lake was frozen
And tried to think just which snow bank his love had put his clothes in
When he thought of his true love he didn't have to think twice
He just picked up his frozen feet and raced across the ice

And coming to the hole that they had chopped there with an ax
Throwing common sense aside, ignoring all the facts
He leaped, (oh what a leap), and as he dove below the surface
It chilled him to his very soul, and also made him nerfous.

And it wasn't just the tingling cold that thrilled his every limb
He cried, "My love I'm finished! I forgot, I cannot swim!"
She fished him out, and stood him up, and gave him an embrace
That warmed his very heart and made the blood rush to his face

"I love you darling dear!" she cried. "I love you with all my might."
And she drove him to Biwabik, and he married her that night
And there they live to this day, and though they sometimes quarrel
I guess that's where the story ends, except for this the moral

Marriage friends is no banquet, love is no free lunch
You cannot dabble 'round the edge, but each must take the plunge
Though marriage like that frozen lake may sometimes make us colder
It has it's pleasures too, as you'll find out as you grow older

posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 12:29 PM on December 1, 2005

-50 C by Arvo Turtiainen (1904-1980).
posted by misteraitch at 12:40 PM on December 1, 2005

I recall writing to Garrison about this poem, due to the fact that every Finn I knew would die rather than pronounce "Sauna" as "Sah-nah". (Which is required to make this poem rhyme.)

They were very strident about it being called a "Sow-nah".

Garry didn't do his himework there.
posted by unixrat at 1:13 PM on December 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

Misteraitch, you nailed it. Thanks!
posted by falameufilho at 5:51 PM on December 1, 2005

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