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The first stanza of “Antipoet” is an allusion to the well-known Lithuanian poet R.Radauskas, who described what it is to be a poet by writing, “I don't build houses, I don't lead the nation/-I'm sitting under the branch of a white acacia,” itself an allusion to another well-known Lithuanian poet B. Brazdzionis, who wrote, “I lead the nation. . .”

For more comment see the note by Bernardas Brazdzionis

and also by

Henrikas Raduaskas

“Night insect....,” won Debut award, Poetry Spring Anthology, 2000, Vilnius, Lithuania

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For more Poetry from Lithuania

Giedre Kazlauskaite Giedre Kazlauskaite


Translated by J.C. ToddJ.C. Todd


Antipoet

I don't read anything, I don't write poems
I'm picking up the bodies of starved mice

knotting them together by their tails, twirling them in air
I'm the hardened snob, the face I show, arrogance

I toss into the air the corpse-copter of boy-mice
and am left behind, virgin among flax

so tall, sky is in them
as in a cornfield, I'm lost in the flax

I'11 die here without a sign that I've lived
that I dangled by their tails my only child

just the rumbling rotor of the dead wreath
the mice flying over the broad fields


Night insect, the one who cannot burn

The Prodigy: “Music for the Jilted Generation. ” At 4 a. m.

      Brown guy— he can't read— on the keyboard (oh, if only it were a piano) creeps
from the keys' squared mountains toward the programmable chips. (I obey blindly,
pushing the keys he has tapped.)
      A nation of shepherds has walked out of Egypt. One giant, pursuing, has pricked
the sole of his foot on a pyramid's tip. Into the footprint he tramped, the Red Sea drips.
      To die. But for the insect, there is no hope of death.
      When the sheep herders stopped to rest at the end of the dark, a column of fire,
colossal, shot up from the night-blackened sand.
      The wings of night's insect cannot be singed although he rests, respectful, against
the screen, flogging himself and flaming in reading's cool passion.