In this installment Leevi Lehto reads “Bright star!” by John Keats. Lehto (born in 1951 and living in Helsinki), is a Finnish poet, translator, and programmer. Since he made his poetic debut in 1967, he has published six volumes of poetry, a novel, Janajevin unet (Yanayev’s Dreams, 1991), and an experimental prose work, P„iv„ (Day, 2004). He has been active in leftist politics (during the 70s) and worked as a corporate executive in the communications industry (during the 90s). He is also known for his experiments in digital writing, such as the Google Poem Generator. His translations, some forty books in all, range from mystery writing to philosophy, sociology, and poety. He is currently working on a new Finnish translation of Ulysses by James Joyce and his collection, Lake Oneja, is available online at www.leevilehto.net. You can listen to the other two poems in Lehto’s “half homophonic” suite (in English and Finnish) by following the supplemental readings links below.
John Keats, “Bright star”
Bright star! would I be steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
Yet—No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.