Worthwhile to Steal
So more and more often I stole, I’d tear
open the pocket to my winter coat
and pack it full with whatever would fit,
whatever had happened to catch my eye.
Chocolate, razors, a can of soup, I stole
cotton, a puzzle, candy, baloney,
my greatest triumph, I’ll never forget,
five – was it six? – pairs of stockings at once.
I was content. At last I had it all.
And the hope that whatever I might
not yet have I could get anytime.
I was amazed at mom and dad, that we
were still poor, when adults could always
get money just as easy after all.
And then they caught me and tore at my hair.
They preached wrathfully: “You don’t steal, there’s work!”
And since then I haven’t, although I see
it’s the only thing worthwhile on this earth.
Berries or shoes, love, ideas, by the time
one might earn anything by honest means
the world would have waned and we within it.
And in the end all that is ours is lost
Anyway. Better to be a thief,
it’s not as hard to lose to knavery
what knavishly was gained.
What’s wrong, dad?
Hey dad, don’t cry, it’s only me,
I’m at the nursery school,
the others have all left, just me
still waiting here for you.
Don’t cry, it happens all the time
to other dads, you know.
Get drunk and leave a son behind,
don’t be much longer though.
Our teacher says next time she’ll have
them come take me away,
away to other parents, dad,
come on, I’m going gray.
Just take me with you, I’ll be good,
be fine outside the bar,
and you can tell them all inside
how miserable you are.
Translated by: Thomas Cooper
Tags: Tamás Jónás