Lidija Šimkutė is a Lithuanian and Australian bilingual poetess, translator. Born in Lithuania in 1942, she now resides in Australia. L. Šimkutė has published three poetry books in Lithuanian, twelve bilingual poetry collections, her poems were published in literary magazines and anthologies in Lithuania, Australia and USA. Her poetry has been translated into sixteen languages, including Japanese (six books by publisher Chinkurinkan). Lidija has also translated Australian poetry and prose into Lithuanian and Lithuanian poetry into English. Lidija‘s poetry has inspired music composers and performers and was used in modern dance and theatre performances. Most people comment on the brevity of Lidija Šimkutė‘s poetry and are amazed at her concentrated images. Others compare her worldview to haiku poetry.
Nothing Stays the Same
Two horns appeared in the sky. They dipped into clouds and scrawled into the blue, ”Nothing Stays the Same.” Was I imagining this incredible sight? Was I reacting to the global virus situation?
And then, to my amazement, out of the clouds emerged the rest of this strange figure with goat like horns. It was PAN, part man and part goat, displaying his unpleasant appearance and his wild nature, playing hide and seek. He appeared and disappeared behind the clouds and suddenly drew out his panpipe and commenced playing an enticing tune. It seemed, he hoped to resurrect his lost transformed companions, the nymphs Syrinx or Pitys who had rejected him, despite their minor female deity.
As the hypnotic tune filled the sky, a cloud suddenly swirled into glowing hair, and then, a woman’s naked body took form, her skin as white as alabaster. It was Syrinx, the nymph who chose to be transformed to a marsh reed to avoid Pan’s pursuits. It seemed he pined for her resurrection in his playing and dropped the panpipe to grasp her. But she retreated again into a waving reed, slipped through his fingers and vanished.
I rubbed my eyes. Was this a sign? I rubbed my eyes again and looked up into the sky. The image remained.
The heavens stirred at the unwelcome and strange figure, obviously not knowing the message about to be delivered in its domain. It splashed its blueness into clouds. The sky darkened. Thunder rumbled. Lightning struck. And struck again.
PAN’S body lit up as brightly as the lightening streaks that crashed all around him. He dived through the tumult, tumbled backwards, swooped upwards, and then spun like a cross whirled by a tornado. It seemed he was searching madly for his companions. The more he searched, the more it seemed that the heavens in their demonic state were determined to banish him.
He finally stopped tumbling and loomed over me like a thunder cloud with a huge frown. I shrunk down avoiding his pointing horns.
“Why are the heavens trying to banish me, Why the PAN IC? His voice boomed, piercing my ear-drums. He seemed bewildered. No answers came to his goat like mind.
Surely, I thought as an earthly being, the heavens must know PAN is connected to the season of Spring - a New life and a New beginning.
But then Pitys, who had transformed from nymph to a pine tree, sputtered, “Dig your horns into this heavenly disarray!”, and Pan remembered he was a god. He regained his godlike state and delighted that Pitys had not rejected him entirely and took pity on his bewildered state.
He seemed determined to confront the heaven’s rage, but unbeknown to him or to the hostile darkness, Dema deities of several mythical beings swept across the sky to further challenge Pan with their superhuman forces.
I wondered, down below, if they were bringing knowledge from the ancestral world to humankind. I felt Pan’s dilemma as he wondered if he should join forces with these Demic or Demonic spirits? The crucial name change no doubt bewildered him: “PANDEMIC”. He repeated these joint words again and again, also knowing that the demonic is in all of us.
PAN was perplexed at the messages coming from varying sources. It seems that confusion can confront gods, demigods, animals and humans. He breathed from The Cloud of Unknowing.
Pitys’ diminishing voice came from above “Accept the nature of this pandemic, as it will lead to a new beginning.” The two nymphs’ voices echoed from above “Nothing Stays the Same”. PAN remembered that his horns had written these words across the sky.
The heavens cleared. My dreamlike images vanished.