10. 31. 2007. 08:21

Losing My Sight? (poems)

György Faludy

György Faludy, a prominent figure of 20th Hungarian literature died a year ago at the age of 96. The poems below - including a love poem to his young wife - were written towards the end of his life.

Love Poem
(Szerelmes vers)
 
(To F. K.)
She was far from the first. We lay there naked
and, with one arm, I lightly caressed her body.
I hoped it should be quite agreeable
with just a touch of customary boredom.
 
It turned out to be more. I leaned above
her small left nipple musing what to compare
it with: a speck of coral? or a wild strawberry?
a tiny tulip still in bud perhaps?
 
Only an instant had passed and I entered a different
reality. Had I fainted or just awoken?
Around us stillness prevailed and blue, insane
wildflowers began to whirl behind my forehead.
 
It was the taste and fragrance of your skin,
not your perfume, that utterly triumphed. They thrust
away my troubles, cares and fears and sorrows,
my past and memories, leaving only this love.
 
Packed into one another, we two alone
inhabit the earth, our shoulders spliced in stages.
We lose our way in one another’s hair.
We meditate on one another’s navel.
 
You can go away but will remain with me holding
between my teeth a single strand of your hair.
I use your body’s shadow for my cover.
Say not a word, for all our secrets are shared.
 
Many people are never touched by such passion
and many would never dare to risk it, even
though this is all that I recognize as love:
soaring all the way from our bedsheets to heaven.
 

Future Days
(Jövendo napok)
 
History cannot be predicted.
The girls of today are lovelier, brighter,
the boys more sporty and more cheerful
and far less erudite.
 
Some seven nations fabricate A-bombs,
like machine-guns or cannon of old.
If you worry, they will reassure you: we
produce them not to use them, you’re told.
 
There are a lot more than a billion
Chinese. We are not interested
in them. They work and keep their silence.
What if they make a request?
 
The mighty sheets of Arctic ice
melt beneath the polar bears.
Will the rising oceans spare us
behind our seawalls built of prayers?
 
Our great green plain becomes a dust cloud,
a dirt-grey, dry, deserted dump.
Only the Voice of God could help, but
the Lord never blows the trumpet.

 
Losing My Sight?
(Megvakulok?)
 
Last night again I read, as I often do,
some poetry in bed until very late.
It’s 10 a.m. A brilliant winter sky.
Light and broken clouds in disarray.
 
My spirit soars. I raise an arm towards them
(in an appropriate greeting to the brightness)
until I pause and freeze and shudder frightened:
for I see my hand, but not my fingertips.
 
Above the divan, I note that the silver frame
Of the Italian painting is slightly bent on one side.
I leap from the bed excited. As I finger the frame:
it never has been straighter than today.
 
I settle at the table and reach for the papers, in
a casual gesture in my plight, despite
not just a fear, despite the foreknowledge that this
unfolding horror is only about to begin.
 
I can still negotiate the banner headlines
but not the standard size print, as the tiny writing
blurs into a lengthy dirt-grey smudge on the white
without a single letter that I can distinguish.
 
I’ve been excluded from the delight of reading.
I cannot tell whose letter is put in my hand.
I cannot even read what I have written, and
I might as well discard my own library.
 
So that’s how it is. Yet, will I have the strength
to pursue my poetry still, on losing my sight?
What will become of me? I walk my path,
the crutch upon my left. At right, the wife.
 
Translated by Thomas Land
 
Previously on HLO
 
György Faludy: My Happy Days in Hell (a review)

Tags: György Faludy