04. 06. 2010. 20:01

Three Hungarian poems

Laura Iancu (1978) was born in Magyarfalu, in the Romanian region of Moldavia, a member of the Hungarian Csango ethnic group. She moved to Hungary to study, and has lived there ever since. She has published two volumes of poetry and a volume of Csango folk tales to date.

1.
 
My Mother Shelling Walnuts
 
I was eating grapes, what kind I couldn’t say,
and you were shelling last year’s walnuts inside;
now and then you called out—am I imagining this—
cracking open nuts, and finding only blight.
 
Dusk fell, the night plummeted red,
ducks wobbled across the sky,
I thought to say: don’t fret,
the trees are young, they can bear again! 
 
Then the bell tolled for vespers,
a stranger slipped across the street,
no turning back! warned a voice inside,
and I never saw who snatched me.
 
 
2.
 
Birth
 
What happened, mother, when you bore me,
did the earth shake or were you just afraid
we’d miss the christening while
 
God disappears from the scene? Or did you
let me cry in the snow falling heavily
heaping drifts into your lap instead so
 
the horses pulling Herod’s
soldiers could find their way
To me? You never suspected it’d
 
be you they want; that for my life
I gave yours the minute
my eyes finally opened and saw you.
 
 
3.
 
nameless day
 
from round your neck lord
daily i unwound the umbilical cord 
without homeland without fort
your body walled within my torn skin
 
you got big then even bigger
from a strange table you consider
how i plaster heaven
eating falling stars
 
morning you don’t write don’t wait with me
for a bus for a hand
throat gripped by days endured
by night you’re never there
 
Translated by Maya J. Lo Bello

Tags: Laura Iancu