LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 20, No.1 - Spring 1974
Editors of this issue: Bronius Vaskelis
Copyright © 1974 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
FIVE POEMS BY JURGIS BALTRUΠAITIS
OCEAN AND DROPLET1
Ocean and droplet, like corn - ear and flower,
Breathe in fulfillment of one same behest;
Winter and summer it spins in the world
Whirlwind and slumber in woodland boughs.
Men and their doings a weft immemorial...
Miracle pilots us, we are the oar - strokes...
Trembling of moments in trembling eternal...
Years are in flower, of bliss everlasting...
Mankind's brief hour is like to the wave...
Know you, O man, in the depths of the night,
Meeting with prayer the silence of stars,
Whose is the mouth with which you speak?
In brilliance of noon, where the hour of fulfillment
Opens the flowers in Golgotha's world.
Know you, O wand'rer, in labor and strife.
Whose is the thought, not of earth, that you think?
Loudly and sadly, one stroke on another,
Sang the bell to the slumbering world...
Just like the tocsin when fire is approaching,
Long and loudly it pealed.
Sang now with threats, with persuasive endearment,
Trembling, it sobbed, with a bitter complaint
Thunder pursuing, or story from childhood
Into the silent darkness it fell.
Promise it hinted of man's resurrection,
Sounded the sorrowful tidings of death,
Wilderness fervor cried out in the darkness,
Thirst for forgiveness, revenge...
Sang in the night, and the holiday morning,
Laughed with the storm, and in silence it wept;
Only an echo sang back from the forest
Not from the slumbering soul.
Just like the tocsin when fire is approaching
Sang the bell to a world without heed...
Loudly and sadly, one stroke on another,
Vainly it pealed about God.
TO THE FAVORITES OF VIOLENCE3
Let the headsman's black axe sever
The thread of life the Highest spun;
Immortal thought it will not bring to ruin,
The spirit's life it may not take!
In time's delirium, smoking, scarlet
Before the Hour's Prince, time on time
The flow of blood has stained the Colosseum,
That for the ages Love might flower.
Such is the law for aye unbroken
In all that life has brought to pass:
On earth the right is with the persecuted,
The judge is always put to shame.
Kingdoms have guttered, and in quiet
Sleeps their might, their fleeting play;
But timeless gleams a morning - glow in darkness,
The light that shines from Huss's pyre...
In stern malevolence, O hangman
Of spirit, revel in your toil;
But he who tries to crush the Word's wise babble,
Shall bring down lightnings on his head!
"To All the Stepsons of the Native Land"
Transfiguration's light descends
Upon the fleeting hour and age,
The seer's trance has been fulfilled,
And mighty anguish comes to pass!
The freeman's Plow, and not the dull
Yoke - slave of years now dead and gone,
Has turned the dark glebe's slumbrous clods,
To heaven blooms the flower of earth.
The flame of life is unconfined!
Another bound, another step,
And the far distant Promised Land
Will be revealed without a bourn.
Ascending to the realm of space,
The strength of hands set free lifts up
The sun's face in the sun - bright cup
In shrine, whose light is circling stars.
Dispelled the gloom of life oppressed,
She, crucified in days gone by,
Rus', at this Easter Morning - song,
Chants loud her universal psalm!
The dawn has caught fire ere the coming of day!
Night calls back her shadows to the ravines,
And in a pearly throng, in girdles of fire,
The caravans of the clouds depart...
Space is laid bare amid dewy valleys,
Distances have been moved aside into infinity,
As though from God's heights, from deeps forbidden,
All the veils have fallen over all the world...
The bay has been aroused, the wave is growing,
It has thundered in wild fury,
And the stillness has been shattered like a resonant vessel,
In the great triumph of morning...
Great hour! The radiant dawn
Has spread her hundred - hued fan in the east,
And flocks of birds, soaring in the splendor,
Seem to be splashing in a living stream...
And sound after sound, quivering in the stillness,
Over forest, over river, over the fat cornfield,
Strives toward the heavens, that grow blue in fire,
Laughs and calls from the soundless depths...
Into earth's dewy circle, opening cuplike,
Like foaming wine, the sultry day is poured,
And every hill is a step toward holiday,
And every moment a promise that life's gladness is ours!
Hark! It is light! The twilight melts,
The earth is laid bare...
The lovely day, God's festival,
Is poured out on the sleepy fields...
Abundantly and all - powerfully
It spatters with the gold of its rays,
In the misty world like a bright hymn
It breathes more widely, more ardently...
The rows of clouds,
It is green, it is, blue
With a sea of flax and corn - flowers...
With free song, bell song,
Day works the miracle of life,
In space, like the sea,
It glitters, sparkles, burns!
IV. To S. A. Poliakov
The waves of dawn rock the boat
Living praise to being!
The measureless distances are in nuptial fire,
And sun and sea in me...
Over the azure depth that knows no bottom,
I am myself a wandering wave...
I feast, I whirl at the feast of light,
Like a spark in a living fire...
Before the miracle of the flashing of immortal lightnings
I fall down, mortal,
Between me and the universe, at the hour of fullness,
There has come to be no dividing line...
The world is a silent foaming in the thinning dusk,
I am a flame of prayer in a psalm...
The rays play, shatter, upon the mast,
My sail is of bright brocade!
With a prayerful sound, like an unearthy choir,
Wave flashes behind wave...
And each sings a quiet tale,
That the heart of man is a - bloom!
1. "More i kaplia", Lilija i serp, Paris. 1948; tr. by W. Edward Brown
2. "Kolokol", Zemnyje stupeni, Moscow, 1911; tr. by W. Edward Brown
3. "Nepersnikam nasilja", Lilija i serp, Paris, 1948; tr. by W. Edward Brown
4. "Krasnyj zvon", Lilija i serp, Paris, 1948; tr. by W. Edward Brown
5. "Utrennyje pesni", Zemnyje stupeni, Moscow, 1911; tr. by W. Edward Brown.