Lithuanian poet Lina Buividavičiūtė’s prose poem “A Housewife’s Opus Magnum” reveals a holiness discovered in simplicity and domesticity. In repetitive tasks such as scrubbing a floor, the narrator of this work finds something Zen, akin to meditation. This prose poem was translated from Lithuanian into English by Ada Valaitis.
A Housewife's Opus Magnum Well, how naïve you are, what unhappy people, searching for God, yourselves, enlightenment, nirvana, transcendence, nothingness, emptiness, dao, and goodness knows what else – shuttered in vipassana meditations, locked in silent ashrams, musty in churches, temples, weeping in the shade of minarets. Listen to the zen master housewife – I’ve been practicing for thirty years – I hold the rank of floor washer, so no questions for me, none of that: my God, for what, why, how – just a mandala of everyday life blown away by a child or time in a second – and then nothing. A rag again, wet, scouring. Where’s enlightenment, you ask. Where’s ecstasy? Know that sometimes, very rarely, when I roll my stone in the silence, the reward – a meditation of patience – when the rag stops being just a rag-so, and becomes a rag-here, full of diligence, inviting the floor and water to a conversation. The floor and I become one. The face of God appears in the cleaned spot.
Lina Buividavičiūtė was born on May 14, 1986. She is a poet, literary scholar and literary critic. Her poetry is or will be published in Matter, Love This, Rise Up, Masters, Bigger Than Me, Proverse Poetry Prize, New Millennium Writings, Beyond Words contests anthologies in English. Lina’s poetry is published in Versopolis poetry platform. She is author of two poetry books in Lithuanian language.