Attila József: THE SEVENTH

In this world if you are hitting a camp,
seven times your mother shall give birth in cramp!
Once, be born inside a house burning,
once in an icy flood whirling,
once in a mental asylum fooling,
once in beautiful wheat swinging,
once in a monastery hollow-sounding,
once among pigs in the pigpen.
The six cries up, but what will be with you?
The seventh shall be you!

Enemy, if he comes before you,
shall find seven of you.
One who starts his day out of duty,
one who does his service orderly,
one who educates his nation freely,
one who was thrown into water to swim,
one who’s the seed of a forest coming,
one whose ancestors were defending him,
all tricks and guns are not enough, tho,

the seventh shall be you!

If you’d sweetheart a lover,
there shall be seven after her.
One who gives a heart for his word,
one who pays for his own hazard,
one who plays star-gazing,
one who’s in the skirt searching,
one who knows where’s the staple,
one who steps on the scarf with trample –
buzzing her like flies on a meat that’s blue!

The seventh shall be you.

If you’d poetize and there’s token,
there shall be seven writing that poem.
One who makes a village from marble,
one who was born in slumber,
one who measures the sky and nods unbothered,
one who is called on his name by the word,
one who strikes his soul,
one who autopsies a living rat in a bowl.
Scientists four, and warriors two,

the seventh shall be you.

And if all was as it was written,
as seven men, you shall be in a grave hidden.
One who’s cradled by a milky breast,
one who’s grabbing after a lusty breast,
one who throws away an empty bowl,
one who helps to win the poor,
one who works dropping soon,
one who just looks at the Moon:
Living under the world’s tomb!

The seventh shall be you.

Benyamin Bensalah

18.01.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem, “A hetedik” (1932) by Attila József.

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