02. 26. 2015. 08:41

Poem of the month – Miklós Radnóti: Third Eclogue

No mounds will guard our remains,
nor graceful urns like in classical times – only the odd
surviving poetic fragments.

Pastoral muse! Accompany me to this sleepy coffeehouse
from the light-drenched riverbank and its burrowing, sightless
moles and their rising molehills... from the sunburnt fishermen
with white teeth and noble proportions, stretching out
asleep in their slippery barges after the morning catch!

My pastoral muse, accompany me to this urban district –
Those seven carousing travelling salesmen should not deter you:
pathetic lads, they are burdened by the pressures of business...
nor should those doctors of law to the right: not one of whom can
remember how to play the flute... and how they suck their cigars!

Accompany me! I’m a teacher and, between classes, I’ve chosen
this place for a moment’s peace in the smoke to ponder on passion.
A tweet from a tiny bird can rejuvenate an old poplar.
A call from a woman has lifted me high to the peaks of youth
and flung me back to the wild adolescent lands of desire.

My pastoral muse, assist me! Today, the triumphant trumpets
of dawn resounded in praise of the fleeting flash of her smile,
describing the feel and form and the heat and cool of her body,
and how it reflects the moon, and the way she gives herself,
and the joyful, dancing rhythm of sighs that escape her lips.

My pastoral muse, assist me! Allow me to serenade love
despite my nagging sadness, despite the unending pain
that hounds me through this world. I know I soon shall perish.
The trees grow awry and mine pits collapse and, in my dreams,
I hear that even the very bricks in the houses are screaming.

My pastoral muse, assist me! The poets are dying in droves.
The sky is collapsing on us. No mounds will guard our remains,
nor graceful urns like in classical times – only the odd
surviving poetic fragments. How then can I sing about love?
But... her body is beckoning. Pastoral muse, assist me!

Translated by: Thomas Ország-Land

Tags: Miklós Radnóti