Attila József : THE INVENTORY IS READY

I trusted only myself from the beginning –
if you have nothing, the cost will be willing
for the man. In no way it will be more
than for the animal that dropped not living anymore.
Even if I was scared, I found my stand-
I was born, I mingled and I did out-stand.
I even paid everyone just as was the measure,
who gave it for free, I accepted with pleasure.
Women, if I was play-toy for any of their flattery:
I believed it really – let them be happy!
I scrubbed ships, pulling buckets as my only tool.
Among smart gentlemen, I played the fool.
I sold spinners, breads and books,
newspapers, poems – whenever what smooths.
Not in a glorious combat, not on a gentle rope,
but I end up in a bed, sometimes I hope.
Either way, now the inventory is ready.
I lived – and even others have died in it already.

Benyamin Bensalah

18.02.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila Jozsef, “Kész a leltár” (1936).

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