Attila József: YOU WILL GROW OLD

You will grow old and regret it,
that you hurt – what you are proud of today.
The conscience will knock in
and there will be no memory in which it would leave you to flee.

You will have an old dog and it will settle down next to you.
You will rest during the day, taking a nap in a chair,
because at night you will be afraid staying only on you.
Shadows hit the shivering gammer.

The old dog will squeak sometimes,
but there will be silence in the room, all in order;
but someone will be missed from old times
to be there in that lonely silent corner.

Then you will toddle: and if you toddled enough
with your bad legs, you sit down. Above in a golden frame,
there’s your younger picture. You mutter to that stuff:
“I didn’t hug her because I didn’t love her name.”

“What could I have done?”  – you ask
but your toothless mouth can no longer respond;
and you close your eyes by the sun’s cast,
you can’t wait it to be mooned.

Because if you fall asleep, the bed will bounce,
like a young horse to take off the harness.
And fear is wondering, not romance,
in your head: to love, not to love, nevertheless.

You decide in yourself. I’m in pain
that I can’t answer if you ask: is he alive.
Because in me there’s an exhausted pain,
falling asleep as a child, and with that I will also dive.

Benyamin Bensalah

06.04 2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Majd megöregszel” (1936).

Attila József: Enlighten


Enlighten your child:
the beasts are human-kind;
the witches – mongers, roosters.
(Bastard dogs, not wolves!)
              They either bargain or philosophize,
              but they all trade hope for money;
              some sells coal, some lovely lies
              and some such poetic symphony.
And comfort him if it’s a comfort
to the child that it is a true sort.
Maybe, mutter a new tale,
with fascist-communist detail –
             whereas there must be order in the world,
             and the order is only for,
             so that the child can hold worth
             and be not free, that is fair.
And if the child opens his mouth
and looks up at you or cries, shouts –
don’t fall for him, don’t believe these
to stun your principles!
            Look at the crafty baby:
           growls to make you feel sorry beneath,
           but while he’s smiling at the tittie,
            he grows his nails and teeth.

Benyamin Bensalah

04.04.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Világosítsd föl” (1936).

The abyss is breaking

The abyss is too huge between you and me,
even if you managed to undress me.
I tried for a while to be the one for you,
even if sometimes it seemed untrue.

You think too easily and so you sense
your complex actions are fencing common sense.
For my emotions, a thousand thoughts wouldn’t be enough,
my actions are so few, I don’t tell to prevent the laugh.

The abyss is breaking, I’m waving from its side,
I really loved you, if I look inside.
My love is eternal, it will stay with you forever
but wee need to accept, this break won’t cease ever.

Many times, the break up hurts, as it will do now,
but there’s been worse than this, and will be better somehow.
We weren’t for each other the one
but then it will come, that person will come.

I’m thanking you every single minute,
I will not forget you, I promise. Salute!

Benyamin Bensalah

03.04.2020

Translated from my Hungarian poem, “Szakad a szakadék” (2008)

Fazekas Anna : The Old Dame’s Deerling

At the Matra, in a country,
Lives my elder and dear auntie,
Warmhearted, hardworker and hale,
She is from whom I know this tale.

A bumbling deerling on a day,
Went astray onto the highway,
He fell over a fallen trunk,
Breaking his leg with crack and clunk.

While the poor was sadly weeping,
The old lady stopped there, seeing.
Taking him up, right to the lap,
She took the fawn home for a nap.

Curing him and cherishing him,
Not just healing his broken limb,
But giving him fresh hay, water,
As if she were his dear mother.

Katy the cat and Doug the dog,
Nestled to him next to the stove’s log,
Sharing humanely their one nest,
They could not hurt the little guest.

The fawn’s leg is quickly mending,
He could dance without pretending,
He could dance since he is not prude,
However, he wasn’t in the mood.

His doleful brown eyes in the far,
Are hanging on the morning star,
While the morning’s red-purple lights,
Are playing on the mountain’s sights.

Evening winds are chasing the haze,
Then, they get lost in the hills’ maze.
“My fresh crops are waiting for you,
Come home, deerling! We all love you!”

Tears sprang into the deerling’s eyes,
He wished to go back, without lies,
Only if his mother wouldn’t worry,
Only if his auntie wouldn’t pity.

Day and night he wants to go back,
Whither the smooth grass is his snack,
Where are fancy fields of flower,
Waiting for their deerling brother.

Where squirrels are jumping around,
Woodpeckers are hitting the trees’ crown,
Cuckoos are singing gay sonnets,
And ants are wearing heavy puppets.

He’s waited by the stream, by the wind,
By the running clouds there sky-pinned,
By the dewy blue-bell flower,
By the fields in colour-shower.

The old dame is weeping for him,
However, she won’t hold back him,
Each one has a home to live in,
Being deer woods or human housin’.

Escorting him until the gate,
The dame must tip-tap back and wait,
Waving to him until seeing:
“Farewell, my dear little deerling!”

Pacing slowly, ambling stilly,
Door is clacking, curtain’s swishy,
She is watching her dear from there,
For last, he may look back to her.

Her helpless little animal,
Hurries more and more his footfall,
And then, as fast as the lightning,
He is on the mountain, climbing.

But on the top, under the sky,
He turns back to say a goodbye:
“God bless you, field, and my old dame” –
Like the wind, he left as he came.

The summer fleets, the leaf falls down,
Every beech tree balds its ex-crown,
Snow blankets the houses, the lawn,
The old lady’s living alone.

Nature’s waking up, flowering,
She doesn’t forget her deerling,
The Earth is turning once and twice,
The gate is knocked by someone nice.

She looks out the window lattice,
What a strange nightly guest that is?
Moonlight beems upon the country,
She opens wide the wooden entry.

Her hands opens in hugging blow:
A deer, deerling and a mother doe,
Standing there, then letting them in,
Her heart’s beating, recognizing:

Her deerling became a deer dad,
Having a son now being sad:
His forefoot’s broken a little;
They visited the hospital.

He asked her with his bare eyes:
Please Dame, cure my son with your ties,
Don’t let him crying dear auntie,
May God return you your bounty.

Mist is afore them, fog behind,
They dressed the cape of night to hide,
Leaving their little in her arm,
Knowing, she will cure all his harm.

The little got cured one by one,
He was almost able to run,
And before the beech throws its mast,
The young buck is in the forest.

At the Matra, village border,
The Old Dame within the portal,
She’s not alone why she would be,
Cold or hot, she’s a busy bee.

She’s surrounded by bucks and does,
They’re coming back as visitors,
Winter-summer, from year to year,
They bow their head to Mother Deer.

The village folks loving her too,
They give her nicknames, one or two:
The Old Lady within the dear,
Or just simply Dear Mother Deer.

Red poppy, carnation, sage bloom,
Are decorating her mild room,
In big vases and little jugs,
Rainbow colours like made of drugs.

A flower from Steven Peter,
Another from Flower Esther,
A third one from Johhny Seral,
Surely, they’ll be good persons all.

The wild flowers followed by songs,
The room’s full of musical tongues,
Children singing is far and near,
While laughes and cries Dear Mother Deer.

At the Matra, in a country,
Lives my elder and dear auntie,
Warmhearted, hardworker and hale,
Her golden heart is in this tale.

Salt loaves wait the little deerlings,
Swiss rolls wait for the new-comings,
Be her guest, you too, I just say:
This is the tale’s end; run away!

Benyamin Bensalah

11.10.2017

Translated from the Hungarian long poem of Anna Fazekas, “Öreg néne özikéje”.

József Attila: (An ancient rat spreads disease…)


An ancient rat spreads disease among us,
the unthoughtful thought,
it gobbles into, what was cooked by us
and runs from man into man fraught.
Because of it, the drunken never knows,
if he kills his sadness into champagne,
that little miserable poor’s
blank soup is what he’s about to drain.

And since the nations’ spirit
doesn’t squeeze out wet rights,
so new outrages animate
the species, each and all of us, against.
The oppression is croaking in teams,
onto the living heart, it flies as mere carcass-
and on the globe, the misery streams,
as on the idiots’ jaws the salivas.

The wings are hanging on the distresses’
pinned-down summers.
The machines are crawling on us,
like nighty beetles.
In our inner cavity there’s the hidden grateful
loyalty, the tears are falling in flames –
they are chasing eaching other, the revengeful
desire and conscience.

And like the jackal that turns to the stars
to throw up his strain,
on our sky where torment sparks,
the poet is yowling in vain.
Oh, stars, you. Rusty, rough
irondagger-like all around
endlessly stabbing my soul rough’-
(here, the only place is under ground.)

And still I hope. In tears, I’m to you,
our dear future, don’t be so drear!
I hope, since like people before me and you,
impaling is not a due here.
Then, the peace of freedom
may come, smoothens the pain-
and we will be also forgotten
on arbours’ shady terrain.

Benyamin Bensalah

14.03.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of József Attila, “Ősi patkány terjeszt kórt” (1937).

Jacques Prévert : La Grasse Matinée

It is terrible
the sound of the broken hard-boiled egg on a tin counter
this noise is terrible
when it moves in the memory of a hungry man
the head of the man is terrible too
the head of a hungry man
when he looks at himself at six in the morning
through the glass of a big store
a dust-colored head
that is not his head even if he’s looking at it
through the showcase of At Potin
he doesn’t care about his head of a man
he doesn’t think of it
he fancies
he fancies another head
a head of a calf for instance
with a vinegar sauce
or a head of anything that is to eat
and he slowly moves his jaw
slowly
and he creaks his teeth slowly
because the world pays off his head
and he can do nothing against this world
and he counts on his finger one two three
one two three
it’s been three days he ate
and it may repeat itself for three days
it can’t last
it lasts
three days
three nights
without eating
and behind these windows
these pasties, these bottles, these conserves
dead fish protected by boxes
boxes protected by windows
windows protected by cops
cops protected by fear
what barricades for six unhappy sardines..
A little further the bistro
coffee with cream and warm croissants
the man hesitates
and inside his head
a mist of words
a mist of words
sardines to eat
hard-boiled egg coffee with cream
coffee and rum
coffee with cream
coffee with cream
coffee with crime laced with blood! ..
A highly esteemed man in his neighborhood
was slit in broad daylight
the assassin vagabond stole him
two francs
fair enough for a laced coffee
zero franc seventy
two buttered sandwiches
and twenty-five cents for the boy’s tip.
It is terrible
the sound of the broken hard-boiled egg
on a tin counter
this sound is terrible
when it moves in the memory of a hungry man.

Benyamin Bensalah

13.03.2020

Translated from the French poem of Jacques Prévert, “La Grasse Matinée*”.

*La Grasse Matinée: Sleeping late and eating well in the morning

Attila József: You came with a stake

You came with a stake, not with flower,
you quarreled with the wild blue yonder,
you promised gold with a big container,
to your mother and now you’re just here, sitting,

like crazy mushrooms on the tree-stump,
( so is the one, if there’s any, to a lil chump),
you’re locked as the Seven Towers’ dump
and you’ll be never be escaping.

Why did you bite into stone with milk teeth?
Why did you hurry if you left beneath?
Why didn’t you dream under your sheet?
What should we have finally said?

You always made yourself uncovered,
you always scratched your wounds, never recovered,
you are famous if it’s that you desired.
And how many weeks are the world?  You mad.

You loved?  Who was bound to you?
You were hiding?  Who chased you?
Win what you can, if you can cope through,
you have no knife, nor a loaf of bread.

You are locked into the Seven Towers,
rejoice if you can afford hot showers,
rejoice, for there are soft bolsters,
to lower down nicely your head.

Benyamin Bensalah

11.03.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Karóval jöttél…” (1937).