Luleå Biennial 2018

Our Voice Crying (In the Wilderness)
David Väyrynen

The poet David Väyrynen's debut collection Marken (The field) is about Malmfälten and has attracted much attention throughout the country. In this region, two major popular movements are still a big part of the culture and mentality: the Laestadian revival movement and the socialist labour movement.

and I daresay many of us here today
in spite of everything share my pride
at speaking up and speaking out
saying how could you not want to live as we do
knowing from experience as we do
how much it benefits us
to rely ever less and less from the south
this creates a distance between us and the cities
makes us strangers to the people there
who are looking for pleasure in too many places at once
a million necks bowed over a million toys
I feel my own chest tightening
I hope they look up soon
in spite of having witnessed everything going wrong in the world
so it is probably quite right
that we are the ones who see what needs doing here in our society
which absolves no one of responsibility
which is a motivating force
that the land has disclosed its condition to us
that it is we humans who are to blame
we are all to blame in all of this and we all have to ask
whether it is really right to leave it for the next generation
so we have to strive not only for ourselves
but also for others
who bear even more blame
so we will not turn inwards
and tend our own plot
we want a monopoly
no the opposite
as native peoples of our land
we are duty-bound to help
leave our doors ajar
for them to come even from the south and share
according to their abilities and their needs
but we also hear the call for manpower and growth
and this of course presents a temptation
as it has through the ages
but today it demands the participation of all
and is such that even then it calls for more
all of this is strange to us
yet not so strange
that we do not feel its magnetic
from so close at hand
so we too have a battle to fight
and here is our standard
that we do not need what they trick others into taking
although when we hear of ocean-crossing
so tempting to think
surely we could learn from them after all
or at least extend a hand
to an offer that good
you could live our way, couldn’t you, even if you moved
and leaving in fact used to be encouraged
and some of us unfortunately fell for it
they went where people never let the land rest
and some of us here today never broke free
and are still trying to unplug
and when the calm upends a person’s existence
who is otherwise a city dweller
who perhaps imagines she is free to choose
even as her hand reaches for the technology
she may not be reckoning with the consequences
and this is the experience of many people
even our experience who have lived here so long
that suddenly rushes over you
the feel of the frantic pace of the city
and something of all that comes flooding back
all the things you thought you needed
and I know we also have cause today
to say to each other and keep on saying
that we are better off without all that
and we also notice our numbers are growing
and we have cause to rejoice in the newcomers
and will again whenever we meet
what a joy that is in itself
to meet comrades from other communities
and see that they are doing just as well
and give help when help is asked for
and say yes, we have what we need
which is not a new thing every minute
the world aches for a new thing every minute
but all we need is food on the table
just so everyone can fill their stomachs
still despair comes easy enough
watching city folk each stocking their own nest
hearing the land groan beneath their feet
yes in this
we may sense our own inadequacy
we are hardly enough
but all we can do is what we do together
and do it for the general welfare
and with respect for the land
also we believe it is important
that when we do these things
we remember the reasons
which are not self-glorification
and I say to you comrades and all like-minded people
let today be a day when we pledge solidarity
for the work that will have to be done here in future
to allow us to be independent of them
for only running their race
do we need their machines
only by being truly self-supporting
can we stay alive
and let us ever proclaim this truth
that we have always managed without them
that they have never managed without us
that ours is the land and the independence
forever and ever, amen to that