05. 30. 2013. 12:53

Poem of the month - Sándor Weöres: The Brambleberry

Sándor Weöres wrote something so extraordinary “that the heart of the earth began to tremble”, writer-philosopher Béla Hamvas said of “The Brambleberry”.

Sándor Weöres wrote something so extraordinary “that the heart of the earth began to tremble”, writer-philosopher Béla Hamvas said of “The Brambleberry”. As it happened to so many of Weöres’s poems, the playful and quixotic rhythm and musicality made “The Brambleberry” a poem for children, and it has been taught in Hungarian kindergartens for decades.

A brambleberry bush metamorphoses into a girl at night – playfulness and serenity are merged with anxiety and a sense of loneliness as the beautiful plant, with red berries and rustling thorns, becomes a wailing girl, trembling comfortless as autumn approaches: an image of the transient miracle of life. Inspired by the rhythm of a Hungarian military song and the motif of a Japanese tanka, this poem, as literary historian Zoltán Kenyeres wrote, seems to transcend the borders of linguistic perception.

 

Sándor Weöres (1913–1989)

The Brambleberry

Eves of autumn
Gleam with the brambleberry’s
Gleam with the brambleberry’s
Shimm’ring dress.
Thorns a-rustling,
Winds scurry hither-thither,
Trembles the brambleberry
Comfortless.
Should but the moon let lower her veil,
Bush turns maiden, starts to wail…
Eves of autumn
Gleam with the brambleberry’s
Gleam with the brambleberry’s
Shimm’ring dress.

 

"A galagonya" (The Brambleberry) music by Ferenc Sebő


Translated by: Valerie Becker Makkai and Adam Makkai

Tags: Sándor Weöres