Leino wrote this in 1918, as the Great War raged and the newly independent Finland was itself afflicted by civil war – “the fratricide”, as he called it. It was written at the same time as the much longer “Smiling Apollo” (“Hymyilevä Apollo“), and no less reveals the struggle between Leino’s idealism and his despair at reality. Here‘s a translation of a Helsingin Sanomat article by Jukka Huusko about Leino’s relevance for today’s Finland.
Behold! He comes, with garland he advances,
world his domain, and the people’s night,
the Lord of peace among us he entrances,
subdues embattled labour by his might.
God of the Yule in single nation dances,
holds sway above us all in starry height –
whoever sees his radiant garland shining
will ever after be the sword declining.
The fifth long year of war drags on unending
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