09. 24. 2012. 10:26

Three Poems

"Who has seen what is concealed in their rooms' shadows?
Who has looked to see if upon their beds there is a pillow?
Who has seen what they are, the sad people of Pest?"

Oh, how I love the sad people of Pest...

Oh, how I love the sad people of Pest,
who stroll on the outskirts of József-town
in their rent garments, on a Sunday afternoon

and lingering, they listen, as from below
hums the mirrored coffee-houses' drone
and they gaze at the movie posters, indolent.

I have felt it nearly a sin so many times,
in peacefulness I dwell, from you avert my eyes:
rippling on the ethereal flounce of dreams.

So then at such times, on a forlorn Sunday,
winter's mire thick on the twisted byways,
I come to your streets in penance.

Here they live on the pavement, the dear ones,
boot-heels worn, trampled down, orphans,
hidden behind the coffee-stalls, silent.

Their starving girl children, held in love's embrace,
threadbare orphans, sickly tired saints,
they stand darkly beneath the gas flames.

Who has seen what is concealed in their rooms' shadows?
Who has looked to see if upon their beds there is a pillow?
Who has seen what they are, the sad people of Pest?

I have seen the worker, in his fever lain,
his face pallid from smoking bad cigars,
I have seen the earth's heart with blood stained.

For wherever I would go, it is to here I would return,
wherever my path leads, it is your care
accursed, poor souls, that my mouth would scream.

for your streets are laid with worry-stones,
your eyes sorrow's infinite stream,
and alas, for this land, this sad land is my home.


My soul is so dead, empty...

My soul is so dead, empty,
like the mirror at midnight.

Dead, illuminating alone,
the circle of enchanted light.

Formerly it saw the sun,
May-time's heaven,

But now in it orphanhood,
nothingness beckons.

Who sees himself here departs,
the land too falls away.

His will be silence, the night,
and who looks into it will die.


Trees of The Üllői Road

May the heavens be with you,
trees of the Üllői Road.
May they cover your leaf-crowned heads
scented, flowery tempest.
one thousand blooms white.
You gave me pleasure, mettle,
in you youth was embodied,
trees of the Üllői Road.

To others thus too open,
trees of the Üllői Road.
Let them breathe the sweet perfume,
the sleep-inducing balsam swoon
across the evening hours.
Let them not see the sad cypress,
believing youth forever lasts,
trees of the Üllői Road.

The yelllowed confines are dying,
trees of the Üllői Road,
The day of my pleasure is at rest,
the breeze murmurs its sad distress, 
whilst every seedling slaying.
Whither is Youth flying?
Answer me, o gloom-leaved trees,
trees of the Üllői Road.

Translated by: Ottilie Mulzet

Tags: Dezső Kosztolányi