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reflections on belonging

a palmers chronicle right bw

Graphic Novels

Vilnius Review is opening its archives! We will now regularly publish texts from the earlier paper editions of our journal (from 1994 onward). Our priority will focus on both classical, canonical works of Lithuanian literature as well as works published in Independent Lithuania that have garnered attention from critics and regular readers alike. We will not only make these translations accessible digitally, but hopefully also attract a new generation of readers and arouse the interest of publishers.

Saulius Vasiliauskas


Photo by Vladas Braziūnas
I like these kinds of scenes –
Because they are peaceful and provide healthy laughter:
You'll see with your own eyes just how easily, how quickly
A person sometimes
Leaps away from

Photo from the Vilnius review archives
What can I say? Adieu, my sleepy buddies – spongers, homeless products of a developed society, with incomplete high school and even higher diplomas. Adieu, sensitive-souled musicians – I'm off to sunny Užupis! That's where I was planning to go anyway: my beloved is awaiting me there. Off to the Independent Republic of Užupis! Our Sorrento, Athens, our Monterey, Toremolina and Pamplona! Let me step across the border – the Vilnelė. Adios! Vale! Let me just take a little drink from the spring, sprouting on the shore of the brook. So my throat doesn't get dry.

Photo from authors personal archive
My narrow shoulders were weighed down with all that had happened, and all that would happen, and I couldn't bear the burden any longer, for the load was so great, so I preferred not to go back halfway from the path which led to the pit, but simply to go on, till the end, but the path wasn't there, and I felt a sharp blow in my chest, like Jesus, in the same place, and I collapsed on the table, all laid as it was for Passover. Only after I was pronounced clinically dead did I become aware that I had knocked over the goblet of red wine and everybody, frozen, had watched as I bled.

Photo by Paulius Mazūras
each time I turn in here I feel as if
I live here – in this café
: it is so pleasantly smoke-filled here, stayed in
in each one here are several motes of me

Photo by Vladas Braziūnas
Loreta: Once I gave my mother to smell a flower that hadn't yet bloomed. She said it didn't smell like anything, but to me it smelled green. Many seeing people say that water doesn't have a scent, but I smell it. Even two different things without scents, they smell. Seeing people say those things don't have a scent. I agree that there is no scent, but they are scentless differently. If they are scentless differently then it means there is some kind of a smell.

Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum archives photo
Cold so cold I want only the cold
green September moonlight,
and that map copper inscribed
intaglio, to blend in with the blood.
Grey all grey for I want all of the grey
September sunrise sacrifice,
and that map in an uncovered
network of bone, to pour out of the blood.

Janina Degutytė in Vilnius, around 1965. Maironis LIthuanian Literature Museum archives photo.
A tall inexhaustible pitcher!

Brimful of whispering streams and hot silence.
As you wish, you may drink an oriole's warble
or blustery rainstorm...

Photo by Eugenijus Ališanka
And in this way life spins in an oval with the monument's rushing feet, with the wind whipping sand into a whirlwind across the clay path, across the rye, and time keeps moving and moving, and you can't catch it, can't understand it, can't stop it. It fades, rubs away, it seems, the details of eternity, proudly shoving out its chest, pursing its lips, like tensed legs, coming, firm and clear, or it changes on the spot, and that is called restoration, when old paint comes through the plaster, old pictures, looking fresh in the new day's sun.

Photo by Romualdas Rakauskas
did you not manage to sow in their hearth the seed which was not going to rot even when you were long dead; may it pass into their children and the children of their children, till finally it will leave out and carry dark blue blossoms of pride; after all, somebody has to sow, somebody has to be sowing all the time, even if you know in advance that you are not going to see either the blossoms or the fruit, may they continue growing under the clear and eternal sun

Photo by Romualdas Rakauskas
Just recently still elegant, self-confident and handsome,
Now sapped by hunger, scurvy and slave labour,
A gulag old-timer is languishing with fever:
Just a few days will settle his account.


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