12. 23. 2011. 16:09

Poem of the month - Endre Ady: Christ-cross in the forest

Waiting for the arrival of Christmas, hoping for tender and quiet touches, trusting in the abatement of our great battles of life, we are trudging towards the manger with Ady's snow-covered Christ-cross in the forest. - Lajos Jánossy's choice.

This poem proves that there is no early and late Ady: the poet was born in full armour.
Published very early in Ady's career, in the volume entitled On Elijah's Chariot (1908), the poem sounds in a strong and spirited, even though delirious voice, unburdened with feverish symbolism.
A prayer, undoubtedly.
A thanksgiving rather than supplicatory prayer.
Adult words for making peace. An absolution from the vicious circle, the schizophrenic, godless drama of what we were, what we have become and what we are. Remission with head held high.
A father-poem. A son-poem.
A ful confession in four parts: passion and confession.
A charcoal sketch of the story of the prodigal son. A triumphant episode of the story of baptized freedom.
Waiting for the arrival of Christmas, hoping for tender and quiet touches, trusting in the abatement of our great battles of life, we are trudging towards the manger with Ady's snow-covered Christ-cross in the forest.

Lajos Jánossy
writer, literary critic, editor of litera.hu

Christ-cross in the forest

Snow-covered Christ-cross in the forest
On a vasty, moonlit winter’s night:
An ancient memory. Once, sleigh-bell
A-ringing, I chanced to pass that way
On a vasty, moonlit winter’s night.
 
My father, then still young and carefree,
Sang when he looked on a crucifix.
True scion was I of my father,
Who, sickened by graven images,
Sang when he looked on a crucifix.

Two pig-headed Magyar Calvinists,
Just like Time we paused not as we flew.
Father and son: a Yes and a No,
There we sat together singing and
Just like Time we paused not as we flew.

Twenty years have passed, and in my thoughts
My sledge flies that way now in the night
And - courtesy that then I paid not -
I now uncover and bow my head.
My sledge flies that way now in the night.


Listen to this poem in the Hungarian original, in Gábor Máté's performance.



  

Translated by: Bernard Adams

Tags: Endre Ady