Kalevala, an untelling

Poem: "Kalevala, an untelling” by Lizy Simonen. The text is egg-shaped and reads: and maybe the wide world did come from the egg of a golden-eyed duck laid in the lap of the ocean’s water mother Ilmatar, the mother of greatness, left to survive in the torrents of nothing with only an egg and they say she cried but I think she swore at the sun and moon until the egg grew hot and fell and cracked and out spilled creation and if that sounds like a great loss remember that many women lose twelve eggs a year, more if we’re ambitious and have the iron but then comes a man born old to plant the forests of the Northland, no one remembers egg-bearer Ilmatar because this is the time of men, and they want wives, the truest role of women in all the great tales of men except those like Aino who drown themselves instead and you must admire the girl’s commitment if not the outcome, or like the skysmith’s golden bride who remains appropriately frigid, meanwhile the pretty boy fights the swan of death like the genius he is, and his old mother has to rake him from a river because there can be no older story than women cleaning up after their men and the moral is consequences have always been slippery things that never stick to the men they should, because these are the heroes of this old story about their quest to steal Everything from the witch Louhi, of course a witch has Everything, she can afford to lose thirteen eggs a year, which is pretty extravagant biologically speaking, and the men want her daughters, all of them beautiful and hatched from eggs not lost but fed with Louhi’s own blood so Louhi does what is right: she grows wings and talons and an army in her feathers to hunt for the men, but the heroes smash Everything, of course they do, and throw it away into the sea because what older story is there, but I like to think Ilmatar waits down there, She caught Everything in her hands and holds it down in the eggshells in the salt salt salt.

Lizy Simonen

Lizy Simonen is an SF/F novelist and poet. Originally from the American Midwest, Lizy moved to Scotland and married a Finn who introduced her to Kalevala, the national epic of Finland. Her current projects include a science-fantasy novel inspired by Kalevala, a TTRPG set in 800 AD Scotland, and a Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. You can find Lizy on Twitter (@LizySimonen) and at her website lizysimonen.com.

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