TE15 Lithuanian Honey Cake

Barbara Korun

QUEEN ELIZABETH I England, the beginning of 17th century

I’m growing old and cold is growing in me, coming from everywhere. The window faces the sea, a grey infinity. My teeth are turning yellow. And my nails. But inside I’m still burning. Through flaccid flesh, through brittle bones. The blaze. Can others feel it? Those leeches, rascals, those artful rats, my courtiers? Your tender, innocent face turned pale when you were brought to me the first time, at night. You could not lift your eyes, you could not lift a thing. I saved you from myself and I alone know when I’d lost my crown, my name, my heart. Any emotion is weakness. I have not betrayed a thing. I had not sent for you much. Always left before you. But it smouldered, burned, scorched. Pains of passion, pains of absence. You were the pillar

against which I banked my kingdom. My kingdom covers half of the known world. And God was with me during wars.

In endless, sleepless nights I can still hear the cries of victory and cries of swearing. There is no worse hell than my sleepless nights, My frosty days. There were no limits for my greed. There is no mercy for my suffering. If hell exists, I shall be fried in it.


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