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An essay by Laima Sruoginis

Sigitas Geda Sigitas Geda


Translated by Kerry Shawn Keys, Judita Glauberson, Edgaras Platelis


Angel Falling In Palanga


It's the voice of a falling angel,
From the purple----of marshes,
Folds of clouds, clouds,
Cloudberries, shaggy.

Dark clothing.
Drone of pollen.
The winged-ones suddenly scared away
By his voice,
His voice----from the marshes.

----And the roar
As if worlds were breaking,
As if space were breaking----from platinum,
Stone, from gold
His dark wings
Covering this space,
Shining sword
And fragments
Of a wing breaking----

It's the angel's dream----the world,
And the wing, and the wing,
Shining sword----from the dream.

From milk, from metal,
From honey and the everlasting
Drone of the seas
With running, swimming,
Screaming fish,
With little animals, with billions of
Stupid bugs, and seeds
Still flying in the sky.

Nothing more no longer
Nothing more,
Only this falling.
Exploding, breaking
And the sound-- --

Above our only world.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

2.

Angel of bread,
Come with us!

Angel of stone,
Come with us!

Angel of earth,
Angel of wind!

Stone angel,
Mollusk angel,
Come with us!

Let the horse lead the way,
Let the angel lead the way,
Let the stone lead the way,
Let the snake lead the way!

Listen to the horse's voice,
Listen to the stone's voice,
Listen to the angel's voice,
Listen to the voice of the snake!

Angel of bread,
Bread of an angel,
Stone of bread,
Snake of mollusk!
Horse of bread,
Angel-horse
Leading the way.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

3.

And one sad Saturday
A child with a splinter
In his foot
And a cornflower
In his hand.


Fresco In A Railway Station

You, rowan-tree, don 't be so terribly red!
--H.C. (Henrikas Cigriejus)

How, tell me, brother,
how should I look now?
I know, no later than tomorrow,
I'll have changed. Tomorrow I'll
be more terrible, green, red
and black in different shades.

Who will lend me eyes.
Where will I borrow new clothes,
real shoes even if they're wood,
so I can come to you in the rain?

Cold the rain in railway stations,
cold the bed where bark beetles snore.
I know, the day will come to sleep elsewhere,
under rotten leaves, foreign cellos,
under hoarfrost and stars, indecipherable.

They keep pouring cold sweat
from the TV, buckets and tubs
gushing from severed bowels
a relentless moaning,
sorrow and despair,
redder than red-hot iron--
so why then, brother,
is the world so beautiful?

Who's to answer me, covered
with plastic bags, standing
soaking wet, but I won't hesitate,
self-banished to this world,
bandy-legged angel, cloven.

An alder tree can give me its bark,
an asp will light my matches,
a fearful fish on a counter
can still become a metaphor.

But, tell me, what force drives
me into even darker colors, into the cloud
where the lost child of a locomotive
is weeping, clothes all soiled?
Water could still lend me a mouth.
I'Il talk to the rain,
write a thousand words for it
with the bluest ink in the world
buying a little swallow and a laser.

Those that were white are now black,
those that were green are already dead,
those that saw me, scared.

One stone, one sun, one horse--
they stopped at the railway,
they don't need pencils or ink,
nor a song to break the ice. The world waits for snow, the eye for frost,
the swallows are flying away, nothing to bring them back,
loneliness would be more beautifully written by a girl,
so goodbye, now I'm the railway.


The Elegy Of Returning

--Henrikas Nagys--

So where is this place, after all, where is God's home.
A tree grows here, here a man stops--
Where the door's ajar, there is God's home--
But I open it, and God leaves,
God goes away, and I stay here,
I close, and He opens.
He is a creator and I'm just a doer.
He is in the light and I'm in the dusk.
He is the song and I'm just a refrain.

So where is God's home, after all?
He is light, and I am black and white.
He is life, and I halfway with death.
Quickened, you'll grow into a Jew.
Every rule will be to punish you.
When others stand on two feet, you'll
be One-legged forever.

Your leg is a pillar.
Your leg is for the tree of death.
Dance, man, hop high, reach
Half a hairsbreadth inch.
The sky will be rent if you sing,
The Messiah poised to descend.

Hallelujah for the homeless,
Hallelujah for him who created me,
Hallelujah for him who set the waters free,
Hallelujah for him who holds the pillar.

If you dance well, God will come.
If you hop high, the pillar will rejoice.
When you sing out of grief, the sky will open,
But always there will be those who laugh.

What is left for a Jew, when the house is burning.
A Jew has to go, to go confess his sins.

When the world burns, we recognize ourselves.
Nothing is burning in this valley.
But the fire-cleansed hearts of the Jews.

Clean hearts make a home for us.
Deep waters welcome our return.
We give back legs to the tree of death.
So few recognize the tree of blood.

Hallelujah for the homeless,
Hallelujah for him who continues on,
Hallelujah for the one who returns through water,
Hallelujah for the one
Who season after season stiffens.