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by Peter Humphreys

it was cold outside
and I mean cold
cold as a Finnish winter
can be
twilight cold
pale ambered sky
but deep dark warm
in the Athenaeum's womb

I sit
on a velvet red carpet

I'm not alone

afore me
the children
in a semi-circle
listen enchanted
to their teacher's
story from the Kalevala
before the eyes

when gone
I quietly move closer
I seek to feel
the black water lake
the swan
the mother's grief
for her son
the restoration of his life

but words defy me
I close my eyes
entranced by images
the joy of the children
the awe of the teacher
and the sleek silver birch
outside the window
making hands
suppliant to the sky
looking east
to the rising sun

Inspied by the painting of Finnish painter, Axel Gallen Kallela,
which in turn was inspired by the Finnish national epic poem,


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