Jurgita Jasponytė was born in 1981 in Zarasai. She began her studies at Vilnius Pedagogical University in 1999 and went on to receive a BA in Lithuanian philology and an MA in literature. She works as a librarian, raising her daughters Ugne and Jūre Jotvile. Her poetry collection Šaltupė (the name of a Zarasai street, meaning “cold river”) won the Lithuanian Writer’s Union First Book Contest. In 2015, she won the Zigmas Gėlė Prize for best poetic debut. Her second poetry collection Vartai Auštriejį (The Sharp Gates of Dawn) was published this year.

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reflections on belonging

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Graphic Novels

Viktorja Daniliauskaitė, The Flow of the Underground Rivers, 1995

Poems from the book “The Sharp Gates of Dawn”



I love Vilnius, its paths, library
the fingerprints pressed into bricks
I love the ink on your hands
I flow into your fissures and
I scoop up the heights with that ink –
this city’s relief allows it –
I gabble nonsense
while sense stays silent

walking is my speech

walking is my expression of love
walking – I fall in love and read
this city and
know it – not for long. I’m silent.
I’m silent to myself no less
than to another
but with more banality

walking is the form of my love
I walked walked
and my thoughts grew tired
                                               not my feet –

the winged god Hermes smiles
from the Sharp Gates of Dawn

Jurgita Jasponyte 03Illustration by Viktorija Daniliauskaitė


Beloved Condemned

I can’t find can’t find
my place
my death
my beloved mortally condemned
for whom I yearn in life
for whom I yearn in this city
this space

this body
my beloved condemned
how I love all your vertebrae
and the one – by the heart
so dangerous
my beloved condemned
I will protect you
until death
which will clamp down on us
and then we will be together
and you will not be you
but an eternal draught of life
my beloved condemned
how I feel you –
your trepidation
your weakness and
your life and


A Breeze Blowing through a Small Lithuanian Town

As the leaf
will detach
from the tree
so the flow of my blood
from the vessels of my body –
everything will be so easy
I’ll be a gust –
the weight of soul

like my father in the field with a scythe
like the wind on the shore with the reeds

on both sides of the journey – fawns
in the depths – rain
and the road.



If you don’t see your mother in all things,
What does it matter that you take a higher form?
                          – Milarepa

For women, children, and the victims of war
and other “justified” cruelties of the world

How does mother’s emptiness look
when there is no one to nurse
no one’s hand to hold
no shirts to patch or sew

to wait for and return to?

Who then is my mother
can it be that field of earth
sowed with the tears of bullets
a grave dug up
            by an animal
                        by a human
                                    by time?

Though time does not actually exist
it is an illusion
a waking dream

There remain only two creations of nature
                        two suspects of nature

those two –
tread the sand of ancient cemeteries

there remains a grave –
a mark
of life, as of illness –
mortally ill
having died

who is that mother?
who is that child?
is it just that
which doesn’t actually exist?
what we wait for in the name of time?
who is the mother and who is this child?
who is that animal
drinking blood as if tears
pretending it is a fight for faith
                                       the sand of old cemeteries
and why does it feel so wrong?

can faith be a beast
playing with a babe unto death
while the mother watches?
can faith be that beast

who allows one to enter a woman without love
even if washed a hundred times?
what is that terrible faith
leaving only the first letter

between a man and a monster
not leaving the soul
where it is with the body hurting
when you feel it like an open wound?

carrying a burden
it is your day
it is your day going around
and under the sun.

Jurgita Jasponyte 04aIllustration by Viktorija Daniliauskaitė


The Vale of Tears. Compound Sentences


In the “Nightingale” Kindergarten
on the walls –
a wolf
Little Red Riding-Hood
Lenin writing in an underground cell
and I – a girl nicknamed “Vale of Tears”  –
grasping onto words – a future philologist
because in the beginning for me
                                                    was the word
and it became my body

the body holding me.


After many years I
with my daughter in my arms
will meet my kindergarten teacher
(the only one I didn’t fear
                                           but loved)
and she will remember me
as a three-year-old girl
with the longest compound sentence
in class.


Evenings in the kindergarten
the smell of sand
in a red plastic boat
in the sticky tar of summer swelter
a sound melting far off
like rolling thunder –
            the breaking of stones

and the silent Sisyphus
of the meliorated field
closes himself up


Life by the Tracks


the uniformed engineer
of the morning train

to the child
on the hanging bridge –
fixing himself in memory

from which will spill
connected train cars passing:
                                    coal, coal, coal
                                    petrol, petrol, petrol
until there are no more fingers to count
and it will stop –
connecting two longings
connecting lives
with meetings
                                    iron roads –

homeless Burgundy snails –
Pelesos Street
where the rising sun
pierces fog
and sets the in-blown mist aflame

gently rocking
the flickering
of midday leaves


A conversation
on the platform
the healing of another heals you as well
the voice: a weak current of life
now you can go home
in both directions
now it is so simple
to be lost
in the iron stretch between
my window
always reveals
your vector



Translated by Rimas Uzgiris your social media marketing partner


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