Volume 30, No.4 - Winter 1984
Editor of this issue: Jonas Zdanys
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1984 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

Four Poems
by Justinas Marcinkevičius

Translated by Jonas Zdanys


- I love you with the willow
(do you remember how the wind
broke its branch last year?), I love
with the cracked rock,
the sky — changing, living,
the river — like life itself, yes,
I love you with the black hands of sorrow,
dust, rain, the gentleness
of the lark's nest (just yesterday
you touched the down
it was lined with and said
that you were cleansing your soul),
o, I love you with children's toys,
a bird's bloodied feather
sadly falling on my head,
with dreams, that all is well again,
with the doorsill across which you depart,
I love
with agonies and shadows — o, yes,
1 have not yet told you,
I love you with darkness and death,
oblivion and light -
with the grass on the sunken grave -
I love -



/ picked up the cuckoo's mottled feather — the birch grove cuckooed.
I picked up the skylark's grey feather — the tillage sang.
And when I picked up the cross of hardships — Lithuania sighed.


tear in God's eye
Lithuania what are you doing

I ask nothing of you 
just cry out as you still

oriole cry in the oak
the rock at the end of the road


(perhaps even I'm
not too small for a bullet
if I call out to the rifle barrel:
friend! friend!)

. . . down that road,
they say, half of Europe passed,
barked over by all the village dogs,
having carried off, as if a knife

between the shoulders,
 the cry: "Ah Christ" . . .

Ax blades stare at the road.
The cross, too, stares at the road.
Run, child, to the grass, the grass,
to look for the blades of truth.

The sun's rays
like fire on me
through the Western windows . . .

(they've already cut
that grass, I pierced my foot
with a hard dry stalk)
— Ah Christ!
the blood cries out in my voice


What can / tell
air or water about existence? What do I know
about the hungry howling wolf
about the couchgrass root
or the bees' buzzing?

What can I say
about melancholy eyes,
 a sigh,
 a smile,

What do I know
about the bird, which now rises,
about its wing,
about its feather,
about that which carries it,
that lifts it
what do I know?

I am depressed
by the cosmos' inhuman volume:
 through me,
 as if through
a window,
 it concentrates on itself.