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Travis Calhoun

In the poem, "Nordic Spring", what do you suppose the 'air castles' are referring to? It seems at first as though this is left to the reader's interpretation. However, the common theme of emptiness would lead the reader to believe there is something more specific the author is referring to.

What thing, event, or thought could the author is insinuating?

Kyle Wilson

I believe the author wants the reader to interpret "air castles" as being a heaven or spritual place of relief. The poem was written during a time of war and people looked at religion and religious literature in a time of uncertainty. Therefore, the author is attempting to convey a sense of hope for the future in a time of ncertainty such as war.

Kyle Wilson

In the poem "Earth" by Katri Vala, what is the author attempting to describe? Discuss a specific example from the text of the poem that led you to your conclusion.

Travis Calhoun

In my opinion, Vala is attempting to decribe how despite life's hardships, there is always an underlying beauty. The perverbial 'silver lining' is a perfect example of this. The state of the Finnish people, described with, "...more weeping than laughter and more hatred than love," is clearly in reference to the Finnish Civil War. The very next line, "But the Earth radiated a wondrous beauty," conveys the peace and homeostasus nature is typified within poem.

Laura Patterson

The poem Child in Starlight seems to have symbolic undertones when discussing the cross. What does it symbolize and predict about children's futures?

Laura Patterson

I think Vala is describing how blessed he feels to be alive even during a time of war. When he says "more hatred than love" and then later "and the angel yearned to leave his lofty spaces," it shows how much he values what he has here even though it is a hard time. I think he is trying to say you have to take the good with the bad and even more importantly count your blessings and be able to see the good things in life.

Deven Rice

To me it seems that in the poem "The land that is not" it starts out talking about heaven and then goes on to talk about her search for her beloved. So I don't understand why the poet brought up the child? Is the child alive and is she dead. "earthly child" does that mean she is not on earth (dead) and she's looking down at her son? Is her child the only person she will always love? Is it even her child she's talking about. I'm confused.

Monique Ohanessian

When reading Edith Sodegran’s poem “The Land That is Not,” it seemed to me that this was an example of how the “Reds” may have felt during the Finnish Civil War. Particularly lines 5-12, where the land is described as one where “our chains fall” and “we clean our bleeding brow”. I was wondering if anyone else felt that this poem or the others we read for class represented “Red” sentiments. How do you think “White” poetry would differ during the Finnish Civil War?

Monique Ohanessian

In response to Laura’s question, it seems like “cross” is just meant to represent the struggles of life that belong to everyone on Earth. I may be under-analyzing here, but I think Diktonius is using the obvious religious (and crucifying) themes to show the sacrifices that are made just to be able to live. The child is shown as innocent, not understanding the troubles of the world, while the mother is jumpy and overprotective, with the weight of the world on her shoulders. When she “looks up at the star and understands” she knows that the child will have to bear a burden to its world, as every adult must. The descriptions of “rosy” and constant allusions to “human” are evocative of Jesus-qualities, so perhaps this is where Diktonius is going with knowing “nothing yet about the cross,” considering it will be his demise. Considering this was written during war times, it makes sense that religion and especially such a great sacrifice as the crucifixion would make an impact on war-weary people searching for guidance. It is also a way to link humans to religion, and create heroes out of ordinary folk.

Alison Bailey

In "Nordic Spring", I think "air castles" might also symbolize previous visions/ beliefs about the future of the Finnish nation which were shattered by the Finnish Civil War. Everything that was previously thought (such as the conflicts between left and right, red and white which lead to the war) was atleast temporarily discarded during the war and notions about the Finnish nation, what it was and would become, were considerably changed after.

Alison Bailey

I like Monique's observation that the first stanza of the poem, "The Land That Is Not," could be an example of the Reds' feelings during the Finnish Civil War. I'm not really certain how the second stanza ties into the first. Who is her beloved? Is this representative of something else and how does the earthly child figure into this?

Jim Lee

I don't understand the poem "Earth" and the line. "my heart fell down on the earth / like a crushed flower." Dicuss what this line line might mean.

Jim Lee

I agree with Kyle "air castles" are a type of shangri la. It is a mythic place that one can only dream of reaching. This poem was written during a period of conflict and war.

Andy

Great questions and comments! It's intriguing to see the extent to which people are able to link the poems to the experiences of the civil war. One thing that is missing from the poems as printed in the reader is dates. Some were written right before and during the war, but others were written in the 1920s. Why do the dates matter? Sometimes, as we see in Linna, people try to remember wars and why they happened. Other times, people turn away from wars, and try to forget them. One thing we can take up in class is whether these poems are ones that try to remember, or look in a different direction.

Deven Rice

In responce to Laura's comment, "The poem Child in Starlight seems to have symbolic undertones when discussing the cross. What does it symbolize and predict about children's futures?" I think the poem is telling us that no matter where you live or who you are when you are born all babies do the same. All children have no idea about religion "the cross". So basically, I feel that this poem tells us that we have no controll over the situation we are born into (religion or anything else), however, there is time in our life when eveyone does the same.

Kirk Heinrich

I was curious if anyone had any ideas as to whether/why the Finnish poet selected to write about a Jaguar, it seems like an odd anmal choice considering they are not indigenous to Finland.

Kyle Wilson

I believe Diktonius chose to write a poem about a Jaguar because it represented or was symbolic of the revolutionary vision he had for Finland. The poem is used as a tool to push and provoke the Finnish to fight against the politics of the time. I believe he chose a jaguar because it is a fierce, dangerous and aggressive animal which Diktonius wanted to portray the Finnish people as being capable possessing these characterisitics. Elmer Diktonius is known for his aggressive, sharp, violent and aggressive writing which he used to attempt to persuade the people of Finland to act in a particular way. (This style of writing by Diktonius is part of the avant garde)

Kirk Heinrich

Kyle, I agree with the connection that Diktonius was looking to make between the fierceness of the people and a jaguar. I just thought that it was an interesting animal choice considering that many Finnish people have never been in contact or observed a jaguar. I would think that it be more motivational to consider animals that the people would have been in contact with (bear,hawks,wolves, etc). Perhaps that was his intention though, by selecting a jaguar, he is having a people identify with an animal that they know very little about. We all know that a jaguar is a fierce and aggressive animal, but without actually seeing a jaguar, we can exaggerate the qualities that make them seem so scary. People are always more afraid of the unknown.

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