By Being Happy

An interview with the Lithuanian poet Indrė Valantinaitė in this week’s Dag og Tid contains a marvellous exchange. Valantinaitė reflects on the fate of her grandmother, who died in traumatic circumstances.

— We all carry sadness as part of our family histories. The hope is that we can make peace with what is tragic. Then we help those others, too.
—Those who suffered the sadness? How?
—By being happy. By living life to the full. By the experience of freedom. By making peace with terrible happenings. You see what I mean. No, she isn’t here; but thanks to her, I am here. If I am happy, I believe she is helped.

‘I am a religious person’, says Valantinaitė, ‘a Catholic’. She adds: ‘A good poem doesn’t lie. I find strength in poetry. And in faith. Poetry and prayer heal.’