Evening now in Bethlehem,
the swineherds fallen still.
Gipsy musicians playing
in a dilapidated inn.
three roses red as blood.
Three wilted lilies
at the stable doors knock.
the full moon’s slender shard.
And shines yet for two more years,
like the knife on the table laid.
Final Matters. Time without End
Across the winter land, the vapours rise
like ephemeral smoke from the furnace gas.
The Orthodox cemetery on the mountain side
blinding, like stone, in the sunlight,
fire ferments the melted ore.
In the afternoon the rain began,
as a few angels aimless lounged
for free booze or wenches to slake their desire.
While far away, in the distant outskirts
Time itself had vanished for good,
as the hordes of Christians trampled each other down.
And the pagans just sat there, sipping their Coke,
in the tavern known as “Time without End”.
For when the sun into the depths descends,
every hue is vanished.
The people searched throughout the town
for the beggar Lazarus.
chant: like evensong severe!
At the sight of the Deceased,
the Soul to its ruin clings.
for all time to come! – oh Hope,
what shall he do, of little faith,
for all Poetry is gone!
for years now. He said: I try to forget
in vain. That day was like any
other, like a confining husk --
even die, that too was no use. He looked at the wall.
In his eyes there was no longer any light.
Only a few irrelevant thoughts flitted across
he asked. But he expected no answer.
As with all the other questions, he hardly
believed there could be answers anywhere. He perceived, by now,
the rising of that which has fallen. “Maybe
in another life…” he said at times. In vain. “For I
live among assassins, and that is how I betray Him.”
cold, like the chisel
that was used to carve
the face of Jesus.
submerged, like the pebble,
as you gaze at the river and see
the water once fallen tranquil.
away, like the flea
already in the inferno
as you clutch futilely.
profound, like that awareness
in which there resides
the mercy of our Christ.
on, like the clock,
although at times neglecting
– perhaps – the hour of dawn.
as the blade of the knife
which Death then slips
stealthily into your mouth.
like life itself, fleeting,
abruptly it ends
while you are still speaking.
what I would rather forget:
it is like life itself,
unyielding, without end.
bearing a cross upon his back,
people gather round and ask,
“where did you find that?”
he does not put it down,
he simply carries it further,
in his pocket there’s no room.
but no, not even there,
as he counts his pieces of silver,
“a thousand, one thousand and one more,”
since at times the question came:
“Are you one of the disciples?”
“Is Géza your name?”
He looks up in distress,
Always must he go forward,
Never finding rest.
is like the axe
that the assassin rams
into someone’s head.
is the act of pillage,
from which, in panic,
the garret is now empty.
is scarlet, like fresh
blood. Above it rises a vapour.
Then that too disappears.
is like the heart
of him whom the robbers
murdered without hesitation.
is like annihilation,
it destroys the Effigy,
the Face of the Dead.
flawless, like the
of the Perfect Crime.
is like the eye
of the one killed:
dread is in his gaze.
as when the many Archangels
weep, who served
Jesus in their Multitude.
is like the Dawn,
to which the Guardian Angel
shall no longer awaken.
The Sequence of Emptiness
there where the sentence ends,
as it hovers
the leaves, yet nothing shall encompass
should you not pay heed, for there the soul
no longer lives,
you are pursued, and observed in the
the pages’ confine, where the void may arise,
and the sentence written down undescribed,
may not remain,
all that is Sacred in writing must be:
May this world pass away!
Translated by Ottilie Mulzet
Tags: Szilárd Borbély