poetry · translation

Translation: Sentimental Hedgehog

There is a Finnish poem I’ve always liked, since I was little. I’ve tried to find a translation for it for quite some time now, but I don’t think there is any official one, so I made one myself. I tried to match the meaning as closely as possible to the original, while keeping the same rhyme pattern as well.

Sentimental Hedgehog

Oh, said the hedgehog,
I’m a sentimental hedgehog,
I’m so good and sweet and tender.
And who, indeed, would ever
have a thing to say to that?

This just is very sad,
that under that spiky shell
the gentle hedgehog hid.

Oh, said the hedgehog,
I am a sad hedgehog,
so lone as no one knew!

And this is very true:
alone it lived its life,
gave others only spikes,
and under that spiky shell
it cried alone at night.

– Kirsi Kunnas (trans. Viivi Parma)

You can find the original for example in here.
For me, this poem has always been one of the most touching ones I’ve known, and for years now I’ve always remembered it, by heart. Just keeps appearing on my mind out of nowhere from time to time. But I don’t mind, I think it’s so very very pretty, and I just wanted to share the feeling with those as well who cannot enjoy it because of a language barrier. Yay for the power of translation!



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