MESSAGES FROM W. SH. – FOR THE 450TH ANNIVERSARY OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

English Translations by Tony Brinkley and the Author


SUMMER’S LEASE (18) ÖRÖKLÉT-BÉRLET
  
 Eternal, örök, season’s ticket,
 summer’s lease, nyár ajándéka, a
 scrap of paper with its clouds, their
 green-blue-browns. Életet hoz, gives
 life. Lines dance, fan out, wheat-
 sheaves of fire-works, a crack, an
 opening inside me. Bundles of
 numbed sentences
 are stirring. When I take a breath,
 relieved, its flare brings summer to
 the paper, életet hoz, gives life. Last
 night I felt that I could glance a star,
 word-space would open up again
 today. The sky may open once
 again today. The word may find
 itself. A play of clouds? A ticket
 for eternity? Nyár ajándéka.
 Summer’s lease. A spell.
 
  
  
 THOUGHT KILLS ME (44) MEGÖL A GONDOLAT
  
 But ah! thought kills me that I am
 not thought. Megöl a gondolat,
 hogy gondolat nem vagyok. Or
 does not. The thought that I am not
 kills me or could. But I am more
 than thought. A gift. With air, my
 birth sign, but so much of earth and
 water wrought, földből és vízből is
 vétettem,
 the smell of earth turned up in
 spring gives me a foretaste of an
 ultimate peace – new to the world
 again, I am washed through the
 way lake water washes – or with
 you when I am rocked
 in you – washed into you and
 resurrected. That, a thought, if
 thought, is all of me.
 
  
 
  
 SESSIONS OF SWEET SILENT THOUGHT (30, 32) ÉDES, CSENDES TŰNŐDÉS IDEJE
  
 For my Father and my two brothers
 
  
 Sessions of sweet, silent thought, édes,
 csendes tűnődés. Musing, sweet, but
 choking – your scorching death – my
 family. As often as I watched: your
 deep, musing breath, édes, csendes, in
 sweet, silent thought – poisoning
 from without to meet a poisoning within,
 relieving the cold world, tobacco’s scorching
 scirocco.
 You were beautiful and happy while I froze –
 I watched our secret, distant cousin, that
 churl death, bunkó halál, preying as you
 coughed and choked, were severed
 from your bodies. And then Death-Churl,
 Bugris Halál, there you
 lost them. They are here and I am with them.
  
  
  
 WITH THIS RAGE
 E DÜHHEL (65, 28, 29)
  
 Poetry must have
 something in it that is
 barbaric, vast and wild.
 Denis Diderot, as quoted by Jerome Rothenberg
  
 With this rage szépség how hold a plea
 e dühhel how beauty hold a plea
 how with this rage shall beauty
 hogyan hold plea with this rage this
 beauty how dacolhat
  
 and deaf eget with my cries t
 rouble and deaf heaven
 jajommal trouble
 a süket heaven with my cries
 and the deaf sky felverem
 with my cries
  
 so flatter I a sötét arcú night
 so hízelgek to swart-complexion’d
 night with beauty flatter sötét
 arcú night
 szépséggel hízelgek the swart-complexion’d éjnek
  
 let the poem be barbaric, vast and wild
 so hold a plea with swart-complexion’d
 night let be the poem vast
 be
 vast
 be
  
  
  
 TO THESE WASTE BLANKS (77) E PUSZTA ÜRESSÉGRE
  
 That world behind your gaze –
 unknown though intimated –
 different – always. And my secret:
 the empty pages of my notebook.
 To these waste blanks,
 e puszta ürességre, I trust your overflowing
 world. To their invisible buds of
 quiet. Words come hindmost.
 Utolsónak
 jön meg a szó. Now I have said it: my love
 is a black stork, strutting graciously. Now
 it has happened. We have entered
 evanescence: I have said it on the eighth
 day of creation.
 On the eighth while we look back at
 being. On the poem’s day, the last
 day. Words come hindmost. Legvégül
 jön meg a szó.
 
  
  
 WORDS COME HINDMOST (85) LEGVÉGÜL JÖN MEG A SZÓ
  
 Words come hindmost. Legvégül jön meg a szó.
 On the day of the poem, the very
 last day, we look back. On the eighth
 day when
 we enter evanescence. Suddenly silence
 hurt me. I wanted to speak. I wanted to
 speak about you, and this is how the day
 came, day of the word, how the day of the
 poem arrived – a clumsy sentence welled at
 the quiet gesture of Prospero, my master,
 who wrote the book of being. Soberly he
 nodded,
 with one raised finger. Respect the breath, he
 whispered,
 a kimondott szót becsüld, the breath of
 words respect that bursts to life awkwardly,
 new born from
 the womb of nothingness – like a new born,
 mired in blood – through the gate of
 the aching throat.
 
  
  
 BEING DUMB (85) NÉMÁK MARADUNK, BÉNÁK
  
 In blood – through the gate of the
 aching throat – the breath of words,
 szavak lehellete, tears and bursts into
 the world. Very often hearing inner
 voices, I only rarely feel that
 I can voice them. I listen to the stir,
 word- movement in its womb, a
 fleeting tune,
 the finest cadences, impossible to
 say, beyond the mouth’s reach,
 unwilling to become a breath or
 breathe but lurking
 in the head and in the nerves, a
 muted song that never reaches
 through my hand to paper. Being
 dumb. Némák maradunk,
 bénák. As we remain: dumb, numbed,
 listening vainly to true cadences within.
 
  
  
 THE BREATH OF WORDS (85) AZ ÉLŐ SZÓ
  
 In vain we listen to true cadences
 within. We cannot word them, sing
 or play them on an instrument. Or
 almost cannot – or at times a little.
 We jot a fragment, a frail
 bit escapes through mouth or hand
 despite the body’s torpid hindrances
 – but only when our master helps,
 our guardian spirit, who without, will
 leave us empty-handed, thrashing, as
 we snatch light-flickers, fleeting air
 threads. My lover is a black stork
 strutting graciously: I think my
 words have named her, and she
 steps aside and flies away. She
 vanishes. Az élő szó, the breath
 of words dissolves.

Most recent

Newsletter signup

Like it ? Share it !

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pocket
Share on email

More
articles

LEADERSHIP IN WAR

Winston Churchill had no doubts about the importance of studying history: ‘In history lie all the secrets of statecraft.’ This includes its subset, leadership in war. Great war leaders, as

REFLECTIONS ON ‘A NATION DISMEMBERED’

“But obligations are reciprocal. Those who gained at Trianon have obligations as well. Their obligation is to shape countries with an absolute minimum of injustice so that they can ask

THE ROLE OF THE UNITED STATES IN HUNGARY’S TRIANON TRAGEDY

“The extremely influential pan-Slavic movement and the idea of dismantling Austria–Hungary emerged in Cleveland and Pittsburgh after a long period of Germanization in the nineteenth century, while the quasi-declaration of