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20 March 2012

The moderate Finnish sauna


You should not slap
your neighbours without asking
their permission first.

The sauna is dear to me, almost sacred.
My father was born in one,
and his dying wish was to bathe 

in a sauna one last time.

Summer is the best time to go.
Strike a match, hear
the crackling of dry birch wood
as it is engulfed by the greedy flames,
then sit down on the steps
to ponder the ways of the world
and wait for the sauna to warm up.

Your body sighs with relief when the first
ladleful of water hits the sizzling stove.
The experience is topped off with a dive
into a pure, clear lake.
What else does a human being need?




Both the senryu and main poem are from a piece about saunas by Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner in charge of the Eurozone crisis. Omitted: 'to the sauna' (line 5) and 'sauna' (lines 9 & 14). Submitted by Gabriel Smy.

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