Jurgis Blekaitis: That sad yet radiant knowledge


Your soul

When you died,
for several days the very depth of my eyes
was haunted by a dove,
white, restless, easily frightened.
No sooner did I catch a glimpse of it,
than it took wing, fluttered away,
and disappeared into the grayish twilight.
But my heart knew: It's you. Your soul.

And it was good - that sad yet radiant knowledge.
Autumn can be at times like that:
the quiet light, transformed to wisdom,
holds up to earth a sky wide open,
just like a mirror. And you can see the most minute
bud of emotion, quivering in your soul.
All is so clear it hurts:
the sky, the earth
and you yourself, lost in between,
yes, even death.

What you were I know and never shall forget:
A dove. White, easily frightened.

    --Jurgis Blekaitis (1917-2007), Lithuanian (translated by Vyt Bakaitis)

Leonardas Andriekus: Fill the emptiness of the skies with my grief



This bloodfilled sunset
Promises nothing good--
Only a night without dawn:
With the emptiness of fallen stars,
With restless nightwatches,
With a painful glow.

I know all its promises,
The quick red flicker of flame
In the windows of home.
It will soon grow dark. Help me, Lord,
To drain this bitter cup
To the bottom.

It will grow dark. Change into an eyeblink
This long night without dawn,
Without love, without dreams.
Lord, fill the emptiness of the skies
With my grief,
Deepen the oceans.

I know that in the divine wholeness
Even the star that falls into the sea
Does not find only emptiness--
Let my grief engulf
This bloodfilled sunset
And this night without dawn.

    --Leonardas Andriekus (1914-2003), Lithuania (translated by Jonas Zdanys)

Leonardas Andriekus: I cannot weep



I cannot weep
I cannot wail,
My spirit is empty like a dried-up inlet.

Weep for me
Wail for me,
Little Baltic amber
Cast out by the sea in darkness.

Now only God--
With wind, wave, fishermen asleep--
Can hear you.
The sea does not love me,
Mourn, mourn, little amber,
For the fate that is ours.

    --Leonardas Andriekus (1914-2003), Lithuania
(Translated by Demie Jonaitis)

Leonardas Andriekus: Prayer


You know how fragile our minds are, Lord.
In your unlimited wisdom,
Strengthen me that, when grasshoppers fiddle in the fields,
My heart won't break with grieving.

The dream and the reality, to me, are one--
I yearn for storied names and places;
Strengthen me, Lord, that before death awhile
Grasshoppers and I might be merry together.

    --Leonardas Andriekus (1914-2003), Lithuania
(translated by Demie Jonaitas)