Nails of light

My mother died of cancer 2/8/2011 at the age of 61, way too early, just around the time I had my first and only child. My father Pertti Kostamo started to write poems. It was his coping method. I turned my father’s poems into pictures, the nails of light. I wanted to bring out the poems and my father’s grief through image. After all the pain and sorrow my father has been through, he has survived and life goes on.

Valon naulat - Hämmästelyä


Confusing, it’s turning to dusk,
I’m walking through a rocky path,
or should I say – a stormy sea.
Where am I headed, where is still?
The waves hit me hard and heavy,
covering up all else.

The lessons learned and dogmas,
are they to help me now.
No, poor they are, dim and dusky.
In the midst of the darkness of my path.
Power and might, greater than human,
is it battering me along my way?

Confusing, it’s turning to dusk, what, why all this?
A raging storm, is it shattering it all?
What’s left of it, only a shipwreck.
Is it of use to anyone, is that life, is that stillness?
The water is still, but the pieces are drifting.

That’s food for the mockers and ridiculers.
”To him that happened, but not to us and me.
Aren’t we at least something better and nobler.
We would never be beaten by the storm.”

But so it happens, that in a mere moment the mockers and ridiculers
are battling the storm themselves.
The pieces on the still water surface glimpse through the mind.
That’s our lot in life, too, us grand ridiculers’.
Who pretend to be so much better and nobler.

The water is still, and the pieces are floating.

The strength of the human is gone.
A weary, silent sigh over the still water.
A silent whisper, a weary wish; ”Lord, help me.”

A Holy peace from heaven sets on the still water.
A scarred arm reaches to cover the pieces.
The storm is gone, away the thunder.
The voice of the scarred arm says;
”I embrace you with the power of my cross. You have lost everything.
My pain for you gives you everything.”
The pieces of your life, they have been collected, into the arms of your loving Father.
You can shed your tears of anguish.
Into the arms of your loving Father,
the tears will drop, they will be safe.

Over the still water, the heaven’s Holy peace is given.
The pieces of life, they will be blessed; with tears and suffering, through the scarred arm.

By Pertti Kostamo (my father)
Translator Maria Tupala

Sanna Kostamo, Valon naulat, Jaksanko


Do I have the strength to face all of this,
the loneliness, sorrow and longing…?
A gaping chasm,
is it pulling me into the depths?
Am I standing here strong, courageous,
on the edge of the chasm,
what is that?

Do I have the strength to dare,
to face an impossible mountain?
Why would I want to tolerate,
this yearning, sorrowful feeling.
Where is the strength, where is the energy?

The feeling is lost and miserable.
I can’t seem to move forward.
Relief won’t settle to make a nest,
but flees, like a bird flies away.
Leaves you with an anxious feeling,
offering another friend,
distress will follow along the way.

Strength and courage won’t keep me company,
they’re fleeing.
My heart cries, has no strength to dare.
Am I to make it, I’m not sure.
I’m facing something great; sorrow and longing.

For how long will they keep beating?
A life’s work it is, wearing me down.
I am without strength, seeking into daring light.
I can’t do much else,
but ask to dare, and ask to bear.

By Pertti Kostamo (my father)
Translator Maria Tupala

Sanna Kostamo, Valon naulat, Varjoissa illan

In the shadows of the night

In the shadows of the night, darkness is covering the land.
She is gone, the shadows of sorrow are growing deeper.
So painful, so difficult.
As the shadows of the night fall,
light darkens, hope darkens.
I won’t see her again.

In the shadows of the night, darkness is covering the land.
A man’s mind, is shaded with blue.
The shadows of life are drawing lines on his skin.
Leaving a mark, the mighty and powerful loss.
Marking a person’s life for good.

In the shadows of the night, darkness is covering the land.
Is the light shining, are the shadows disappearing.
No, not so, not now, it’s not time.
The shadows of loss are staying around.
A man’s mind is getting weary and down.

In the shadows of the night, darkness is covering the land.
He fumbles and searches,
under the burden and the pain,
can I get away?
Is it endless, the shadowy road,
where will it take me, anyway?
These are questions asked by a man,
as the shadows of the night are covering the land.

By Pertti Kostamo (my father)
Translator Maria Tupala

Sanna Kostamo, Valon naulat, Sanaton

No words

I have no words, but I am not numb.
I am anxious, I know the feeling. No words, none.
That miserable distress,
how it crawls into your mind from deep within,
from your core, from the depths of your soul.

It brings a wordless message.
How can I understand it.
Or is the message so strong,
that words would ruin its essence?
But understanding, toward the wordless message,
that I would like to have.

The absence of words brings a great message.
It’s disguised in anguish,
trying to make its way, into your mind.
A great burden, a great load.
Your lot, yours to carry.
Is that the message?

Before something great, unspoken.
A great message for a small person.
Now what do I understand,
is that nothing?
How could I put this into words,
this great distress.
I have no words!

By Pertti Kostamo (my father)
Translator Maria Tupala

Sanna Kostamo, Valon naulat, Leski


That’s when it happened.
a reminder about death.
Incomplete, a half, a cripple,
in people’s minds.

”I was thinking about calling you”,
never called.
”Let’s keep in touch”,
never kept.

Widower, as if death was infectious.
A marked man; a reminder about death.
As if he was no longer an ordinary person.

”What can I say to you?”
Usual things about life.
Widower, like an alien
from an unknown world.

Widower, a weird friend.
”Can you drop by in my sorrow?”
”Not right now, not at the very moment,
maybe later when I have time.”

A friend, left the widower alone in his sorrow.
The friend’s busy and healthy life;
that’s most important.
Words and actions; sorrow reveals it,
what the friend actually has time for.

”Where did everybody go” the widower asks.
They disappeared in the healthy life.
The truthful reminder came too close.
Nice, polite, empty wishes left the widower all alone in his sorrow.

”I was thinking about calling you”,
although they never called.
I feel sorry for you.
Who is poor exactly;
a widower who is dealing with his grief and the truth about death,
or a person who keeps believing in an illusion of an eternal healthy life?

By Pertti Kostamo (my father)
Translator Maria Tupala

Sanna Kostamo, Valon naulat, Tie

A path

Christ, battered on the cross.
Everybody covered their faces, avoiding to see Him.
Everybody, myself included.
The awfulness of sin.
The greatness of atonement.
The price of grace.
A man’s deeds,
God is being crucified.
Mocked, humiliated, battered.

The pain, suffering and anguish of human life.
A battered core, body, life.
The journey of a person,
redeemed by the cross and the suffering.
A battered Christ, a battered person.
They meet, the Giver and receiver of grace.
The one who needs it.

A victorious faith,
a good Christian.
A consumer infatuated with God’s gifts,
but someone who has forgotten the crucified Christ.
God will heal you,
when you have enough faith.
All of God’s great blessings,
are yours when you just believe enough,
pray enough, read the Word enough,
enough, enough, enough….

A man got tired,
inadequacy wore him down.
God’s grace,
brought pain, suffering and anguish to his life.
There was no strength, no energy.
He got to know the path of the cross.
Two weary souls met one another,
battered, in pain and suffering:
Christ battered on the cross
and the weary man.

Grace, atonement and redemption were shone upon.
Through pain and suffering, a silent thank you was uttered;
My Lord and my Redeemer,
all is in You, from You and for You, given by You.
Through grace You let the wounds of Your cross heal someone worthless, insignificant, godless, and corrupt, someone always taking the easy way out.
With Your grace You gave me the path of the cross to travel by.
It was Your path, too, after all.

By Pertti Kostamo (my father)
Translator Maria Tupala

Sanna Kostamo, Valon naulat, Surun Kasvot

The face of sorrow

A cruel fact.
The face of a stranger.
Came as an uninvited guest.
Intruded all the corners of the body.
Taking full mastery.
The face of a besieger.
Laying siege at your back, side and front.
Not leaving any way to escape.

The face of grief,
offering comfort, in crying and tears.
Keeps in a tight grip.

The face of a captor.
The impossibility to escape.
An attempt would only make it worse.

The face of hopelessness.
Striking deep.
Sorrow finding its way,
to fill the void.

A dark face.
Blurring my sight.
Coming too close.
My eyes won’t focus.
The greatness of sorrow is unmeasurable.

The face of Lord.
Grief self-righteously steps
into your deepest.
The core of your soul.
There, in your holy place.

The face of a beloved enemy.
Sorrow came without asking permission.
Showed me all of its troubling
and cruel faces.
Stayed around without my consent.

Turned into the face of a faithful friend.
The face of a healer.
The face of a curer.
The face of courage and strength.

The face of sorrow.
So peculiar.
A shadow falls when God is approaching.
The blessing of sorrow.

One of God’s most inconceivable miracles.
Where everything is lost.
The greatness of grace; in a man’s misery and grief.

By Pertti Kostamo (my father)
Translator Maria Tupala

Valon naulat - Jatkuu jatkuu

On and on

A cruel fact.
In my face,
my heart and my core.
Goes on and on,
longing, alone.
Alone, alone, alone,
my spouse is gone, for good.

Painful, gruelling, endless.
Yesterday, today, tomorrow,
and onward.
The cruelty of life,
or better yet; the cruelty of death.
Tearing away everything, taking it all.

What draws me back to life,
are the little ones, children and grandchildren.
The joy and life on their smiling faces;
Life goes on, at least in them.

Only am I afraid,
I will add burden to the little ones lives.
They all have their baggage heavy enough.
But how could I hide my sorrow,
and all the difficulties?

Someone said; grief won’t always feed you,
be rid of your sorrow already.
How indiscrete,
how hurtful.
A piece of advice like that.
The worst act of violence to your heart,
to your life and health;
send your grief away in express mail,
all is well.
You’d think so,
until the delivery
comes back
with the speed of a rocket.
There we are then, in an even worse situation than before.

By Pertti Kostamo (my father)
Translator Maria Tupala

Sanna Kostamo, Valon naulat, 18 kk 19 pv

8 months 19 days

That’s when it happened.
Tearing away cruelly, taking a half.
The permanent passage of death.
Straight to your heart, the core of your soul.
A wound wide open, bleeding, sore.
Day and night, a prisoner of the bleeding wound.

A scratched birch, how incredibly long
it keeps crying through the bleeding wound.
How long does it take for the scratch to heal.
A scar remains, to be seen, to be experienced, for life.

A deeply carved birch, years full of damage.
Only years after will it begin to cicatrise.
After an incredibly long time.
A closed-up wound, a deep wound.
Remains there, as a companion until the end.

A bleeding wound, in the core of your soul, cries painfully.
The misery of being alone won’t heal you.
There is no substituting cure.
You can’t deceive yourself.
You can’t be dishonest, to the bleeding
wound of your soul.
You can’t cover or put a band-aid on the wound of your pain.

By Pertti Kostamo (my father)
Translator Maria Tupala

Sanna Kostamo, Valon naulat, Ajallaan

With time

Grace falls,
right in the midst of a wounded heart.
Bringing my Father’s love,
not blaming, not abandoning, not shattering.
The aching of the heart, its burden and pain;
where to put that, what to do with that?
The wound of the heart, bleeding and sore.
I am looking for a healing medicine.
The heavenly medicine supplies.
Handed to you by the gentle Redeemer.
As a gift, without demands, without the pressure to manage or perform.

Beneath your Father’s hand
you can feel the touch of love.
You may cry, safe in your Father’s love,
your life’s tears.

Pain, suffering and struggles,
are not beyond God and His grace.
Sure you sigh; when, when
am I free, from the burden of pain and anguish.

With time, with time, is the truth.
The shadows over your love disappear,
the impossible turns to possible.
A misunderstood person finds understanding.
A yearning heart fills with love.

Dark clouds are stepping aside.
The first rays glimmer, light is taking over.
Mercy endures, shines upon the loving, gentle face of the Redeemer.
The face beaten by suffering and pain.
Salvages you.
Men were shouting in a storm;
”Lord help us, we are drowning”.
Everything was left to the Lord.

In the storm of life, one request;
”Lord help”.
Giving all responsibility to Him.
Pain and suffering unclothes you into helplessness.
Strips your own power into insignificance.
Opening up a road, making space;
the helpless one receives help from the Above.
Along the path that neither seemed nor felt tempting.
A path that felt and seemed so impossible.
by the grace of God.

By Pertti Kostamo (my father)
Translator Maria Tupala