A BREATH OF AIR!

Who forbids me to tell you what hurt me
on the way home?
There was a lukewarm darkness on the lawn,
like velvet spray
and hurling without sleep under my feet,
as a struck child, silent growling was to leave
every tiny leaf.

Scouting, the bushes squatted in a circle
on the outskirts of the city.
The autumn wind stumbled cautiously right among.
On the cool mould
lurking towards the lights suspiciously;
a wild duck frightened howling from the lake viciously,
wherever I was going.

I just thought it might fall on me, who knows
this landscape is so deserted.
And here it is, an unexpected man comes,
but he departed.
I looked after him. He could rob me
since I don’t feel like defending myself in his arrival
while I am so miserable.

It’s kept on track what I called by phone
and when, why, to whom.
It’s written in files what I dreamed of
just as who’s understanding them.
And I can’t know when I will have enough reason
to unfolder that file-filled carton
which of my rights were sent to treason.

And in the country’s fragile villages
my mother was born there –
living law was falling like from tree,
as here these timbered-messages
and if they are overwhelmed by the adult misfortune,
they all ring to report a miserable warning
and they dust into portions.

Oh, that’s not how I imagined the order.
My soul is not so native.
I didn’t think existence could make it easier,
something that’s so deceptive.
Neither a people who are afraid when they vote,
with lowered eyes, considering a lurking note
and cheer up at its kaput.

I didn’t imagine order like that.
Though, if it’s me
Sometimes I didn’t even know why I was beat’,
as a small child me
who would have jumped to a good word right away.
I knew – by far my mother, I have no relative like they,
those were just strangers ready to prey.

I’ve grown up already. My teeth multiply
the foreign matter,
like death in my heart. But I have a right
and soul or clay,
yet I’m not like that and my skin isn’t so precious,
that I could handle wordlessly breathless,
if I’m not free!

My leader controls me from within!
Mankind, not wild –
we are minds! Our hearts, while mellowing desire,
are not data built-in.
Come on, freedom! You give me order,
so educate with good words, let play in disorder
your nice, serious son!

Benyamin Bensalah

14.03.2021

Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Levegőt!” (1935).

3 thoughts on “A BREATH OF AIR!

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