The foreigners talk about Finland,
but to us Finns the name is Suomi:
“suo” means swamp, and “mi” means land.
Our country should remind the foreigners
about the marshes and the creatures of the moist
instead of Santa Claus or Moomin characters,
and instead of advertising us Finns
as the mellow creatures of the north,
they should see us as the swamp things:
the wild individuals roaming free in the middle
of the pines, the spruces, and the birch trees.
Paula Puolakka (1982) is a Beat poet, writer, and MA (History of Science and Ideas.) Her poem concerning the wetlands, the women, and the men of South Carolina was just published through The Voices Project, and this poem continues the theme. Puolakka sees a connection between the people of the marshlands of the USA and the people or the northern swampland, Suomi/Finland.