Poem of the Month

May 2018


Lake Keitele – by Tony Isaacs

On the surface

Shimmering water lapples the shore,

Pinewood scent drifts o’er the lake,

Tranquil Keitele is safe once more,

Threatening clouds lift and break.

Angular bands divide the waters,

Where are they from? What do they mean?

Crisscrossing wakes the lake alters,

Escaping menaces yet unforeseen.

Native lakesiders, fear not the stillness,

Avenging destiny favours the brave.

Wrongful outsiders conquer the masses,

Rightful occupants still remain slaves.

For appearance may not be what it seems,

It serves merely to withhold hidden dreams.


Under the surface

The white-bearded elder has sailed ’cross the lake,

His copper-bottomed craft scarring the sea,

The pensive presence a balm to the forsaken,

The unseen figure an omen to liberty.

A repressed nation strives for its freedom,

Uncertain times give hope to the few.

Frequent skirmishes with the cruel tsardom,

Prevent oppressed Suomi from starting anew.

Revived Kalevala re-discovers its voice,

An epic poem, Suomi proclaimed.

The people, uprising, make their choice,

Russia, unrepentant, suffers its shame.

The white rose soars jubilant at dawn,

And Gallén-Kallela – metamorphasised – is born.


Based on the painting of Lake Keitele in Finland by the artist Gallen-Kallela.