Miklos Radnoti : FORCED MARCH

A fool is the one who falling to the ground rises and walks again,
and moves ankles and knees as a wandering pain,
yet he hits the road like wings sending him airway,
and he is called by the ditch in vain, he dares not to stay anyway,
and if you ask, why not? maybe he’ll say something back,
that his woman awaits him and a wiser, beautiful death.
Though the foolish is a fool, because there at the homes
for a long time only the scorched wind roams,
the house wall lays on its back, the plum tree broke,
and the homeland’s night is covered in fearful fluffy coat.
Oh, if I could believe all: not only carrying it in my heart
all that is worth it, and there is return to a cozy new start;
if there would be any! and as once on the old cool balcony
the womb’s peace would be buzzing while the plum jam gets ready,
and late summer silence would sunbathe on the gardens elated,
between the foliage, fruits would ring naked,
and Fanny would wait blonde in front of the hedge,
and the slow morning would slowly draw a shadowy stretch, –
but believe in it maybe! the moon is so round today!
Don’t go on, my friend, shout at me! and I’m on my way!

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of Miklos Radnoti, “ERŐLTETETT MENET” (September 15, 1944).

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