Kalevala Runo 42 from Louhi's viewpoint
May 10, 1995
John Major Jenkins








Louhi Gazes Deep
Louhi waits upon the landing,
She, the Mistress of Far Northland,
Stares into the churning seawaves
Anticipates the fated meeting.

On the horizon, there, she sees it
Boat of plunder plunging shoreward,
Coming to her very feet
And she knows, she feels it in her,
Väinämöinen, with his brothers -
Wiley wizards of Kaleva -
Have come to steal her precious grinder,
Magic Mill they call the Sampo.

And why should they desire the Sampo,
Why pursue the Magic Maker?

The Sampo spins upon the Polestar
Ciphered Cover is the Star Dome,
Brightly colored in the springtime
Among the roots of Sacred Tree
Runs the streaming Juice of Heaven
Always ready to anoint us
With its speckled velvet cover
Oven belly of the Mother
In her navel, a churning furnace,
Making more of everything -
Time and Space and people borning
From the Magic Mill of Northland
In the Sacred Copper Mountain
Protected from the death of Tuoni
Who boils the barley to feed the darkness.

No, the Sampo doesn't conceal
With numbing nectar of the cornfield -
Instead, it shows the many levels:
Realms of three or five or nine
interweaving planes of vision
Or maybe seven by the counting
of the shaman who, there, journeys
to the Polestar, hinge of heaven,
Gullet of the spinning mælstrom,
Umbilicus of the swirling cauldron,
Stomach of old Vipunen,
Pillar of the ancient Sampo.

And they've come to steal it,
Rip it out from root of tree
Flip the Ciphered Cover sideways
Stow it in their birchwood boat
And take it from this land forever,
Stolen from the land of Louhi
Pohjola - home of Soma.

They want to drink from Louhi's fountain
Bridesmaid of the forest spirit
Turner of the milling stone
And drain the blood from glowing features
Dry the rivers with their damning
Sing the Goddess into serving
Hungry weapons of the smithy
Her golden tresses torn to pieces
Like the fragments of our knowing
From a former Age of Wisdom.
Louhi gazes deep.

They're coming closer, and she sees
the blowing beard of the great
Väinämöinen, steering sternly,
And Lemminkäinen, rowing proudly.
Ilmarinen fronts the crew
Rowing full with bent knee forward,
Pushing the boat through chest-high billows
Closer to the shores of Louhi
Closer, with each beat of heart.
And she knows: she will not do it
Won't surrender precious Star Mill
Will not lay down without fight
Won't hand over Juice of Heaven
To those who drink not with their hearts.

Louhi gazes deep.

the Muse made me do it