István Kemény: UP AND DOWN AT THE ÉRDLIGET STATION

Romanian cigarette pack in the lawn
and sorrow in the heart,
head down, strong sunshine,
I still look young.

Such figures that I had such disdain on
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying nothing remained here anymore,
there is surely none, ever.

It was a nice little station thirty years ago,
heated waiting room in winters, outdoors white
gravel and red-white benches,
many long trains, whole sentences.

Now a ruined building,
concrete platform with cigarettes in the lawn
packs and inaccurate
feeling in the heart.

I used to think I should let things go
get old, weary whatever you want
I let go, it was a mistake
now they come back ruined, in a row,
but well, I stayed the same.

Such figures that I disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying you will see, you will be like that too,
you will be like that, sure, because the character
doesn’t change in a stinky life.

In a lazy meantime,
as if they were coming here from a victorious battle,
eternally losing-looking people
fly along the platform,
little standing, walking up and down,
cigarettes, lots of little time.

Such figures that I had disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
I said they were ugly and ploretarian
I said, they were waiting.

Now a self-destructive feeling,
trampled shoes, mustache, grief,
an almost random gold watch,
head down and an abandoned past.

The past, if it wasn’t cared of from the past,
it knows only revenge since adolescence because
it says every day – on a fine day:
“Look at me: I was at the station in Érdliget
once. And even now I am just that.
Tell me what I care about.
The buggy man died.
Out of his palm
the stag beetle flew away.
The future is a tougher nut to crack. ”
And with that, the past shrugs its shoulders.

The loudspeaker, on the other hand, starts talking,
like the younger brother when he gets a speech,
and promises a future: a train.

Such figures that I had disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying that they were just little
points, but it’s better than nothing,
and that times change.

There will be a sad silence because it is the same
shame to ask the lawn as
the heart as the Romanian cigarette pack.
changing for what?

And a train is coming as scheduled,
once it’s standing here, but it will take you from here,
short trains, incomplete sentences,
I sit down, I look out like a window.
for what.

I don’t pity and I don’t have disdain,
I want a goal and an easy soul
if they don’t go together, it’s good the way it is:
over resounding ore in a passenger car.
But I don’t know.

Translated from the Hungarian poem of István Kemény, “Fel és alá az Érdligeti állomáson” (2004).

Benyamin Bensalah

22.05.2020

2 thoughts on “István Kemény: UP AND DOWN AT THE ÉRDLIGET STATION

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