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2. Dezső Kosztolányi

2011.03.26

From The complaints of the sad man (1924) (Selections)

 

…That which is past I know…

I cried, I laughed on the way…

I, a man, remember now.

 

­­­‑‑‑‑‑

Now I will tell you about that month

When my son lay ill with diiphteria…

 

…and to whisper a prayer

to bless the safe science

and the hand which took care of him,

to wail a hymn, to shout with joy,

and in the end, collapsing with fever,

drunk and completely fulfilled,

with unspeakable animal joy,

to roar!

 

„My soul trembled from so many dream-visions”

 

…But I, poet, thunder at Time,

that it should not rush,

and I make you blaze, in the burning skies,

with classical words, as the ancient

protecting Mother, with severe eyes,

with limpid wreath,

who blessedly walks ahead among the shades,

and among serpents, the child on her arm,

her head held high, on unpassable roads,

with magnificent faith.

 

 

From Naked (1928)A volume of free verse

 

„Put all of them away…’

 

Put all of them away, all that was, everything that

long ago, existed, was sweet, put it all away,

what is more than games, than love, than

life itself, put my treasures away,

my old ways of speaking, my golden speech, my proudly

billowing rhymes, with them did I

soar high above others, and my jeweled words,

put them all-all into a shoppping bag,

that I have brought, and give them to someone else,

that I may walk alone, heroic and true,

a simple man on the simple earth,

that I may be naked, as I was born,

be naked as I shall be when I die.

Restless are my mornings, and at night

a mighty voice, renewed, cries out of me.

Stripped of clothes and flesh, my soul darts away,

no longer fitted for youthful parade.

Not long will last for me this earthly

pilgrimage, ten years, twenty years, and then,

the body, which in its sheath my soul

encases, shall decay, and I shall be all soul.

Give me strength to strip myself, to feel this short

while myself and the world, oh you, great

truth, Love, and you, still greater truth,

Suffering.  You shall bathe my eyes in tears,

for without tears, I can’t see, I’m blind.

 

 

 

„My father is a  teacher”

 

My father is a teacher.

                                   When he walks in the little

town, children greet his gray head,

children big and small.  Students of long ago,

recalling their youth, greet him,

hat in hand.  Like sleepwalkers,

with eyes fixed elsewhere. Butchers, attorneys,

clerks, soldiers, and even, sometimes

members of Parliament.  For I have a large family,

a large family.  From East to West,

from West to East.  We have a large family.

When I walk with him, his old arm in mine,

leading him along, my heart grows enormous,

and my lonesome heart sings with many hearts.

For my father is the father of all men,

 

and I am, to all men, a brother.  

 

 

„The father”(fragment)

 

Evenings,  in  the garden, I gaze at the sky,

the trees, the branches,

and wonder why the fruit can never

understand the tree..

 

 

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