György Faludy: Learn this poem of mine

Learn this poem of mine
because how long this book will be by your side?
If it’s yours, it will be borrowed,
ending in a public library,
and if it’s not: its paper is so crappy,
it will turn yellow, will break, will be raggedy,
will dry out, will shred, will swell,
or it will catch fire calling upon hell,
two hundred and forty degrees is enough –
and what do you think how hot it is, how tough
when a big city becomes ash, burning down?
Learn this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine
because soon there will be no book to find,
there will be no poet and no rhyme,
and your car won’t have gasoline,
there won’t be even rum to be drunk,
since the shopkeeper won’t open the shop,
and you may throw out your money,
because the moment is coming with agony,
when your screen instead of image
will transmit a ray of death and cellular damage
and because there will be no one to help,
you will realize the only thing that remains left
as yours, is what your forehead has dined,
you hold.  Give me a place inside.
Learn this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine,
and tell me when it’s the deadline
of the seas littered with alkali,
and the industries’ puke already
covers all soils
and grounds, like the drool of snails,
if all of the lakes were killed,
and destruction is coming crippled,
if the leaf is rotting on the trees,
the sources bubble up disease,
and the evening wind brings you cyan:
if you put on the gas mask fine,
you can recite this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine,
to let me accompany you. Belike,
and you still survive this millenium,
and a few short years will become,
because the bacilli’s raving
revenge may fail,
and the technology’s greedy
divisions have more power
than the globe moving extremely –
bring it up from your memory
and sing another time to me
these lines: since where it has gone
the beauty and love?


Learn this poem of mine,
to let me accompany you if I’m no more alive
when you will be bothered about the house
where you live because there is no water nor gas,
and you hit the road to find a shelter,
to eat buds, seeds, and other gather,
to find water, get a club,
and if there is no free land, to use that club,
to take the land and kill the man –
there, let me amble with you, man
under ruins and above them
and whisper to you: Undead,
where are you going? Your soul is frozen,
no sooner than you leave the town.
Learn this poem of mine.


It could also be that up there
there is no more world, and you down there,
deep in the bunker you ask:
how many more days until the poisonous
air through the lead sheet
penetrates the concrete?
Then what was for and what worth had
the man, if he arrives to such an end?
How can I send you comfort,
if there is no right but discomfort?
Shall I confess that I was always for you
thinking of you for many, many years
through sunlights and through the nights,
and even I died a long time ago, I am still for you
looking through my two sad eyes?
What else could I tell you before I resign?
Forget this poem of mine.

Benyamin Bensalah

15.04.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of György Faludy, “Tanuld meg ezt a versemet”(1980).