Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Have you seen a huge tree ride the wind in a storm?
Flinging all its green branches like wings to the skies,
Yet its breast in the fight with the wind holding firm,
Like a bird soaring over the puddles it flies...

It withstands all the lightning and soaks up the rain...
Then the moisture like sweat trickles down to the soil
From its rough rugged branches subdued by the strain
Like a man's drooping hands when exhausted from toil.

Soon those gnarled weary branches regain their old
And the tree starts to rustle again,
by and by,
Look, it rises and spreads its green arms at full length,
For it knows while it's working its sap will not dry.

Though it had to withstand the wind's rages and rain,
Now dispersing the clouds like black ravens it clings
To the sky,
to the sun the huge tree soars again
On its own leafy branches like feathery wings...

Have you seen such a tree
in its challenging flight?
Do its boughs not remind you
of these hands, my own,
When they rise against storm blast and thunder to fight?
It's a hardworking, free pair of hands that I own...

My two hands worship freedom.
They crave for its balm
When long furrows they turn and sow seed in the loam.
They enjoy being free to hold bread in their palm
And to bear every day a fresh loaf of it home.

My own hands,
like those branches and fluttering sprays,
Shield a bird from deep snowdrifts and piercing winds...
My own hands greet the sun when at dawn with its rays
Like a girl to a man's well-knit body it clings...

My own hands, I am saying...
But are they just mine?
Can I claim they belong but, to me?
They are dust of a mountain,
no matter how fine,
Or two drops
in the infinite sea...

Nonetheless, tiny drops
make the sum of an ocean,
And a mountain is simply
a heap of fine sand...
So to keep this magnificent world in motion
There must be a call for my working hands...

My two hands may belong
to the plough in the field,
To the scythe mowing grass
and the saw cutting lumber,
To the loom weaving cloth
and the hammer I wield,
To the far-ranging rocket, an atom-age wonder...

My two hands
may be fitted
for kneading crisp dough
Or for saving a tree from hard frost,
They can carry the flag in a clash with a foe
And sustain my own friend who is lost.

My two hands
are needed
to water a flower
And to save its fine blooms from becoming dry,
To let free a caged bird is within their power
Ant to lift you, my son, to the sun in the sky!

Now and then hands are needed
for brushing a tear
From my own and a stranger's cheek...
They are needed to give kindly warning, good cheer
To a baby whose own hands are weak...
Hands are needed
for stroking your loved one's soft hair
And for striking the foe who comes trampling your land...
They enfold a good man for whose friendship you care,
And in greeting you offer your hand...

Just two hands I possess...
Though I had seven score
I should still feel myself to be nought.
I despise metal gold,
but like gold I adore
Human hands and the things they have wrought.

Just two hands I posses...
Take them, Earth, in return
For your harvests, the fruit of your lands...
Take these hands –
they are muscular hands, broad and firm –
They belong to you. Come, take my hands...

Eduardas Mieželaitis

Translated by Lionginas Pažūsis

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