05. 30. 2009. 10:49

Two voices (poems)

"Not that I have any knowledge of what evil is, not at all, / I haven’t a clue about the way the oak leaves are stuck in its flesh, / the way rough strings are looped around its hind legs and it is hung / on the rotten roof-beam of the shed dug deep in the ground, / it could be the corpse of a dog, a rabbit, or a fox, I can’t tell"

Two voices
 
At M’s funeral, when the white coffin was just about
to be let down into the hole by four apparently
alcoholic men with stiff sprayed hair,
his mother started to scream all at once, although
it was only a quiet mutter to start with, like chanting
in an unknown language, which then became louder,
and finally reached its climax, at the moment that
the coffin was not within her view, and was halfway
lowered into the hole, she tore herself out of the arms
of her only son left and her husband, who’s lived
with someone else for years, by now, she was
indeed howling, somewhat deliriously, her face
looked dissolved, like a face just after the moment
of orgasm, the vicar turned his head away,
and stared at the walls of the chapel covered
with ivy, when in one of the neighbouring streets
the familiar melody of the icecream van
could be heard and these two voices, the howling
of M’s mother and the melody of the icecream van,
were fused with one another in such an inexplicable way
in the wind, whirling above our heads,
I could tell no one knew what to think of it,
perplexed looks, only a little boy, wearing a light
green children’s suit, a bow tie, who pulled
his father’s hand, nagging him, let’s hurry up,
daddy, let’s buy Raspberry Ripple, can you hear me,
instead of Strawberry, because that’s shit,
you know, Raspberry Ripple, daddy, please.
 
Not moving
 
Not that I have any knowledge of what evil is, not at all,
I haven’t a clue about the way the oak leaves are stuck in its flesh,
the way rough strings are looped around its hind legs and it is hung
on the rotten roof-beam of the shed dug deep in the ground,
it could be the corpse of a dog, a rabbit, or a fox, I can’t tell,
the head chopped off, it starts raining, or perhaps only drizzling,
a crippled, miserable woodland, I am suddenly scared, the roads
made impassable by forestry vehicles, I sink up to my ankles
in the muddy tracks left there by the heavy machines,
there are no roads here, a cross painted upside down on the shed
a woodpecker pecking away on an old Turkey oak, a clumsy job,
a hasty shape, they must have been in a hurry painting this cross,
the woodpecker flies over onto another tree and continues pecking,
when I can smell it all at once, it is not so cold out here yet,
the smell is still sharp, why do I have to see this, the view does not make
any difference, the torso of a beheaded and skinned beast, did it suffer at all,
was it skinned alive, there is a bird in occasions like this, I do not know
what sort, the only one that chirrups now, the only voice in the woods,
these roads lead nowhere, dull dusk sets in, the way it swings,
the excised body on the beam, although, I swear, there is no wind. 
 
Ákos Györffy (1976) has published three volumes of poetry to date. He lives in Kismaros, a small town by the Danube, and works at a homeless shelter.

Translated by: Ágnes Lehoczky

Tags: Ákos Györffy