Volume 34, No. 3 - Fall 1989
Editor of this issue: Violeta Kelertas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1989 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.



Black stains on the fruit —
crawl through orchards —
baskets will be empty
and the mouth parched —
We'll ax out the fruit trees, we'll graft the fruit trees —
We'll uproot ourselves.
What crumbly soil . . .
Thistle seeds crackle
in abandoned orchards —
Electrical switches crackle in the brain . . .
light — dark — light —
Earth and firmament are soothingly violet —
that's how thistles bloom before famine time . . .
Let's forget ourselves.

Dark. Light. Dark.
A painful movement — there's no more air space . . .
Violet fog.
Stinging words, the same in any language,
in the violet fog —
thistles prick so hard before famine time . . .
Let's betray ourselves.

I can't find you —
Don't look for me —
Thistle seeds mature, for upcoming famine time,
in the violet incubator . . .
Soil is crumbly and flat —
where will we hide?

— — — Glass mountain in the center of the highway 
dazzles me in the sun, startles me under the full moon . . . 
we'll split, we'll splinter into sharp, shining shards — — —

Again you're living in a fairy tale?
I should be afraid of you —
Don't shout,
don't shout that we must stop —
the roadside's green and gray,
the roadside's full of car cadavers
and the first grasses —
are trampled, spattered
with dandelion buds.
Wave your hand,
not your head.
The glass mountain grows taller,
gets slicker and more fatal,
only in your subconscious —

Be quiet,
note how calmly we breathe,
how deeply we breathe,
in the skeleton and in the dandelion's bud —

From the large, large cloud
comes not rain —
but hail,
stinging, sharp —
striking, striking and striking . . .
The face of the good witch
that protects you
is hackled by hail,
like pockmarks —
the hair of the good witch,
that shields you,
is tangled with hail,
like fish scales —
From the large, large cloud
comes not rain —
but hail which hackles the soil with crude, childish letters

like a frightening advertisement ...
do not love — do not live — do not love —
your witch is pathetic
in her goodness.

— — — Windmill in the center of the highway —
birds turn round in whirls,
millstones grind empty ...
we are late — we won't make it — we will starve —
let's quickly change into horrible scarecrows
and frighten the birds, you hear?

Again you're playing childhood games?
I should love you —
I should have punished you —
Don't whisper,
don't weep because we had to ride —
the last steeds have long been locked up
in the zoo.
Bridles decorated
with brass stars and bells
hang from the ceiling,
only in your subconscious,
and jingle, and glitter, and jingle —

Stop it, you see, how the face of the good witch 
follows and protects you? 
You feel how the hair of the good witch 
shields you from the wind and birds?

Black stains on my palms — 
how can I touch you 
and love you?
Black stains on my lips —
how can I convince you
of the bonfire which would save us?

Black stains on the sun —
the head swims . . .
oh, how the head swims . . .
famine time . . .
famine time.

famine time —
everything turned edible:
the windmills, the glass mountains,
the dandelions, the grass on the roadsides,
the car cadavers,
the scarecrows,
the bewilderingly soothing
violet color
and the crackling thistle seeds . . .
dark — dark — dark —

Famine time —
everything turned edible
we're running out of things to devour
with whalish jaws,
with dragonish maws —
even the face of the good witch
even her hair is gone —
just the stinging choking hail . . .

Famine time —
everything turned edible . . .
And why should I preserve you?

Translated by Auπrinλ Byla



In uneven, primordial letters,
neither sadly, nor serenely, nor gravely —
you write, daub, scribble in passing
on viaducts, fences, walls
and in me
strung out sentences,
so you can console yourself and me — —
so you can breathe —


Earth's gods have left us —
both those, who believed in them,
and the others, who said
they exist only in dreams and longing —

Earth's gods are vacationing
in the Land of Legends —
sitting on cliffs they cleave the sun
and suspend it in midday —
they bathe in rivers of milk,
rest under breadfruit trees
and with their fingers lazily scoop
honey from the lakes — —
It's dazzling — satiating — sweet —

Medeinλ1 alone remained,
wailing, scolding
in all the trees — :
spread out, little fir, spread out,
cover the wounds on the earth —
little oak, thicken, threaten,
break —,
only do not yield to bending — —
little aspen, stop your quivering,
you are not the first to betray a father — —
Little maple, branch out,
so that a young boy can
rest under you,
a soldier boy of Lithuania —

Your wailing and scolding won't help, Medeinλ,
The time is long past since we were a nation of soldier
only artificers of words — boys —
of pregnant and hollow words — ,
and so let the aspen quiver... —
Medeinλ, why did you remain,
why are you not vacationing
with the other gods of earth,
in the Land of Legends?


I am learning to preserve the word,
so that it would be
as it was in the beginning,
warm, radiating in a rainbow — —
Be — I Am — I Leave —
so that a few original words would suffice
to reveal a person's life —


After midnight, when I cannot sleep, 
I play with maps — : 
I rearrange nations 
drawing them other borders — 
I switch mountain sites, 
lter river beds — 
scatter lakes, finding 
them other hollows — —

And how wonderful, 
They're all silent— — —

Suddenly, when the third cock-crow sounds, 
I can no longer change anything —

I don't fabricate,
only play, and dream —
soon the rains will wash away, rinse away everything —
and again it will be as it was — :
usual, unchangeable, calm — —

Only the fabricated state borders will remain, 
they're not fabricated, nor dreamt by me — — 
This is the game of others —

Cel mani par par Daugava 
Tu Daugavs laivinieks . .

sang the mother,
hurrying from the last star to the first —
she sang forth, left hurriedly —
Now you are on the other side of the Dauguva,
in an eternal evening of St. John
running a circle barefoot around the fire,
you lean your head back, so the wreath
won't slide onto your eyes,
and - "ligo, ligo ..." —

I no longer weave a wreath on the evening of St. John 
I no longer light a fire — ,
I only hum, hum unhurriedly: 
carry me across the Dauguva, 
carry me across the Nemunas, 
Great Ferryman — —


You are the Ferryman of the Dauguva (A Latvian folk song)
Last night Van Gogh ran down our street,
spattering everything with his colors,
vivid, shocking —
in the morning I race, like a hunting dog,
I search for his ear,
so that he would hear me — :

you spattered our lawns with sunflowers,
reaching the sky —
come back and see how bright!
How many suns are in our street!
Come back and look:
the houses of unimagined blueness
are prepared to sail off —
orange faces with red beards
are prepared to shove them off — —

You forgot to spatter me —
I am merely a hunting dog,
black, and I know,
your eyes do not see such as me
and your hand does not touch —,

but I found your ear —
Do you hear?
I want to sail off,
with your prism of colors —


I am learning to preserve the word,
so that it will not jump
out of the bushes of my subconscious,
like Pan
and frighten everyone —
In the beginning was the word
let us not violate it —
let us leave the seed solely
for our children —


I draw a skiff and sail to you
on our river,
which is not and shall not be on the map —,
but its bed
will never run dry, will not overgrow —
I sail to you with joyous news:
our dried up bush is flaming!
only there is no voice —
1 heard no magic words —
I am listening, believe, I am listening,
so that I could hear them
for others, you and me —


I am learning to live without words —
And you, what are you daubing in passing?
And you, what are you writing so hurriedly?
What do your signs mean,
they're no longer sentences
on viaducts, fences, walls
and painfully in me?
You no longer see yourself,
you no longer hear me —
Let it be — — It doesn't matter — —
Just breathe, breathe —

Translated by Rita Dapkus


1 One of the forms of the Witch goddess (Ragana), who has the power to foresee the future, lives in trees.
2 Carry me across the Dauguva