by Vladas Braziūnas

Personal pronouns


everyone can utter I and be right,
I, so and so, promise, I love, I am deceived,
what i have spoken, felt, what lies i told –
i did not lie about one thing, that i am I,

a boundless monosyllable that started up at night
and seemed to feel that there was something lacking;
and what is lacking? Feeling just like that
i shall never be right: i am I, not you,

even when you have stolen me and are dreaming now,
when your hot breast is heaving, lips are trembling,
you have already uttered, letting me loose,
and why not me? and you? and all the rest?


splitting, when one tries to clear it up,
the world allows us to address it: YOU, world,
the Almighty Lord, and rain, and a high-school girl
are equally deceived: YOU are everything

i can collect you glance by glance and spread
like a heap of scattered manuscripts, and every word
– fire, bliss, pronoun – will be the doorless home
for you to enter and to settle in.

to leave, to stay, you are not a photo,
not the past, not a recollection, even not the pain
alive in me, this blossom here,
not yet open, a waking storm – not you, but YOU


HE is that what remains from us,
a glance breaks away from a glance, a number from a memorial
HE am coming back hunched, downhearted
and the running bird that has drunk from a kiss – it is me

HE hushes and darkens, and starts guiltily hearing a word,
the third everywhere and always, he disappears at midday,
what you have is no comfort, it is not he, runaway, almost worthless,
he is not who sings and dances and whom, the invisible,

you desire to shelter in your soul – you and me, but HE
only breaks away from us and tingles, and irritates eyes,
simply permeates the dream and crushes it into grating gravel
and thrusts a sooty mirror towards me


WE is the pretend both of us,
we pretend to accept everything and say WE,
i and someone else, you and someone else are senseless,
crumbs, not to mention everything, if without us

the slow watch has never said WE to the fast watch,
but my sleeplessness says with your dozing lips:
we, invisible, we, inaccessible, our breath is we
and children, unlike us, our eyes

take some things to heart, but they do not see
how we part, hurry, lock the door, retire into
ourselves, where we shall never have to pretend
that we accept everything into the world of the
holy dual number

last night I dreamed for the first time

you just came, asked my mum, if I am at home,
and the dream ended,
like all dreams, meetings and lives and untimely,
always crossing at one question,
since my mother is no more, I am less and less,
and the answer is known

mum continues asking who has been there,
I get confused, blush and awake, the world
goes round its axis – the frail figure at the end of the corridor,
who still sees me through the reflection in the window

I write my first poem for you during a geometry lesson,
in the grey autumn background, my heart is jumping with joy,
four and a half stanzas of sheer commonplaces,
so stinging, that I would give everything

for my darling, the princess of my dreams;
I failed to say a word, though saw her so many times,
the day seems oppressive and lessons eternal,
and the eternal alarm: all shelters are closed

Vilnius Classicism

there is a person who has risen from the crowd,
a ship, sunk in sad thoughts, the death
of long grief is valid, the decline of the kingdom,
disgraced by Tarquinius’ son
ichthyophagists’ presents, a mouse,
a frog and a bird, five arrows,
Smuglevičius(1) and Vilnius watercolours,
reports in paintings, a possibility
to change the course of history and to give
freedom to the Utopian peasant,
the frog, the mouse of the manor,
to give him Goliath’s power, a Scythian helmet,
or an Ethiopian bow: when one is flying – shoot,
you have chosen: the white chessmen begin and perish,
the steed’s neck is soft like the pike’s belly,
embrace in the background of a crowd, the choice is
an eye and a nostril, soaked with sand
and brown blood, Radvila’s(2) wife
like a midget, only her slipped out breast
feeds the dream kite from a goblet,
St Gaetano of the Trinitarians,
multiply the bread

the old man and the sea

the old man bowed to the earth
and did not say anything more

a ladybird looked for a path
in the ditch between breasts

a cranberry got filled with blood
and was ripening to a golden apple

he slaughtered and skinned
a completely black bull,

burned its entrails, bones and meat
to save the Sembian from Poles

he killed, singled and cleaned,
cut the teats and into the sea,

he repeated, how he lay down and got up,
brothers elected him god,

the old man bowed to the earth
and he was deprived of speech

the world is touching, uncertain
like wrinkles of the beloved

* * *

starlings and little birds of hollow in my starling-houses are my most powerful patrons, my playful companions, and first of all – my soul’s equilibrating candles with waxen wicks of beaks, dotted diminutive peacocks with pearl crowns and golden rings on their little legs – one will catch and pick them up, not really, take them off, not really, only so it is said in a song, that was dreamed about, that all – from nothing – actually was

a bifurcate candlestick received as a present


the guardian angel, roughly made by a convict,
from my bookshelf
(as if from the Bernardinai(3) pulpit
he would listen, how Somebody in his hollow breast
creates unlimited space and fulfillment) is silent,
the one he failed to guard is again,
again behind bars,
the hunchbacked recidivist
serpent does not care a fig any more


we, too, shall be poured
into the falling-in well,
we shall talk with Bernotas(4) below ground,
with grit, with mould,
a labourer will water the swinging sweep
from the socket of the perished Bėris(5),
sinkholes will widen from surprise,
white with Christmas snow –
the brimful crib, the bifurcate crowns
of trees will bloom, two candles,
the blinking of snow goldfinches
will sting and ache
till Latvia

everything will be a dream about

everything will be infallible as a dream,
however erroneous, the teeth continue to rot
and fall out, they keep saying,
you will lose your parents who left for God

long ago – it is not about the one, wrapped in a blue bathrobe
who steps out of a blue basin
into a green playing ground –
it is blue and green all over the place

but about the one in the Highlands,
among yokes and oxen, who likes sweets,
and in the Lowlands(6), who with woodmen
looks round, maybe sensing the sea

the root

hump-backed rammed roads
overgrew with wormwood and poplars,
a flock of bullfinches plucked
my favourite sleepless rowan

who crooked its branches that way,
who bent the trunk so strangely,
the bark peeled off, I awoke
in a full blossom of clouds, amazed,

everything is not here, not high,
not in the bullfinch’s fly,
I am eternally grateful to her,
whom I saw after I died.

Translated by Antanas Danielius


1 Pranciškus Smuglevičius (1745–1807) – a painter and professor of art

2 Radvila – a member of an influential noble family

3 Bernardinai – a church in Vilnius

4 Bernotas – maybe the Lithuanian poet Albinas Bernotas (b.1934)

5 Bėris – a popular name for a horse

6 Highlands=Aukštaitija, Lowlands=Žemaitija; the two principal ethnic regions in Lithuania

© "Vilnius"
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