O hills of Karelia (Jo Karjalan kunnailla)

Valter Juva

Translated by J.J. Mary Hatakka


O hills of Karelia, the hills of home,

where birch leaves are budding now spring has come,

and the cuckoo calling both high and low ---

O hills of my homeland, I love you so!


I know every mountain and tree-capped hill,

your smouldering clearings, nights calm and still;

your looming forests and ancient trees,

and glimmering inlets and lakeland seas.


And oft as I roam in your woodlands fair

through groves of green spruce with nary a care,

I climb to a hilltop, rejoicing to see

all my Karjalan heartland spread before me.


The province of Karjala (Karelia, Carelia) lies along Finland's long eastern border. Karjala's position between two cultures is shown in the Karjalan coat of arms which features two swords, one with a straight blade and the other with a broad curved blade. Part of Karjala now lies in modern Russia and Jo Karjalan kunnailla (O hills of Karelia) is one of the many songs of longing for the old Karjala.

J.J. Mary Hatakka: Songs Finland Sings. 1990. Helsinki, Finland