Jenő Heltai: Questionnaire

When your tortured heart goes silent,
A big questionnaire will be your defiant.

What your motionless lips sigh,
An invisible clerk will take notes by.

What you are going to answer – because you have to answer! –
Where did you let your life go to disaster?

Where did you turn left instead of right?
Answer! Do you know the cursed time?

If you were given a divine miracle,
Say: would you go back there empirical?

Like seeking the handle of a lost axe,
Would you start again the long road’s acts?

While pursuing desire and urging trouble,
Would you dare to run another Marathon?

All that is vile, lying, and false,
Would you go through it, say, through the same faults?

Why? Why?! For new goals? Or…
To get where you are now?

So that, forgetting all the old torments,
You can cry and fray again with no ends?

For this cheap misery as a prize
For this more bitter than sweet, tiny life?

Benyamin Bensalah

10.08.2021

Translated from the Hungarian poem of Jenő Heltai, “Kérdőív”.

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