Iš toli ir arti / Z bliska i z daleka

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Dan Monceaux
© DANimations 2002

Imelda Vedrickaitė                   From Near and Far / Z bliska I z daleka

In this selection Lidija Šimkutė has edited and made some changes to her published poems ir earlier collections. She omitted the old titles and converted the first line as title and part of the poem.


In Šimkutė’s poetry aloneness is a necessary state, where the voice opens to the Other, so the Other would offer a streak of light, as in:


“When we overcome

all obstacles

and there is nothing separating us

for sweat like an iron cable

unites our bodies suddenly there arises

the un- crossable wall of China

and with it comes

the second longing”


 Only the expressed name or word makes it possible to connect “I” and “You”:

“When you leaned

against my voice

I lost it

only an echo returned my Lips

to your name.”

Šimkutė avoids a direct approach to the divine, she disguises it in the unsaid poem’s nucleus –  the poem’s silence, or she refers to it as You. Her poetry’s voice addresses the Other, seeks the Other’s name, definition of its being - but all that she can do is to confirm the mystery:   


“Your name / has no name”.


The attempt to catch the mystery by name, engrave it into word, is the poem’s, endeavour. It’s an attempt to “hold” the fleeting definition of the Other. Perhaps that is why there’re many partings which show an ephemeral tie.


The motives on love in Šimkutė’s poetry present paradoxical nuances:


“You depart

but don’t let me go

leaving the keys

you take the door.”

 It seems her fragile voice cannot uphold the Divine touch

“If clouds

should touch me

I would disappear”


“With a cloud

I washed my face

with the setting sun

I dried my hands.”


. . . . . .there is a feeling of mystery. A feeling of the divine is conceived, giving birth to all beginning - untiring spread of waves.


“In my secret places

stir the waves of the sea

in the waves of the sea

stirs the beginning”.


This minimalist image, where only the voice remains, nature’s murmuring, is defined as mystery and the beginning of Sea wave’s surge.. . . .  A person becomes as strong as the sea in L. Šimkutė’s poetry. The power of imagination / thought is not hindered by the horizon  – a person here is comprehended as the reflection of eternity and is immortalized in erasable footprints:


“My imaginings touch the sun

and the horizon does not end

the path of

my thoughts

no longer the sea flows

but  I flow

no longer the sun warms

but I warm

and no wave can erase

my footprints in the sand.”


 The journey from the sea to earth is a ritual return from life to death; earth, as all the important elements from which Šimkutė weaves her symbols, is a place of reconciliation and identification.


”Night and sea

wind and sky

sun and clouds

have rejected me

only earth pulls me

to herself”.


 The reader only learns this much “poetical geography” from her poetry. The early universe elements and fragments of landscape and the closed interior space don’t have characteristic concreteness. She doesn’t illustrate her pilgrimages, her personal spiritual signs. There are quotations she uses which portray what tradition is close to her poetry –perhaps it’s inspired by Jelaluddin Rumi’s Sufi intoxication.


Extract from “Literatūra ir menas” (Literature & Art) review, July 23. 2003