Attila József: AS A CHILD …

As a child who swore revenge
and set the father’s house on fire
and now strangeness settles on him like a foggy stench,
and only by the one against whom he did conspire,

he could cry himself out, his covered up
face to show his free smile, –
I am forcing it so hopelessly I’d rather give up
to my tears: to find what I am worthwhile.

I cremated a world in my heart
and there’s no good word to cry on as a start,
huddled up I am just waiting for the prodigy,

that someone may come to accept my apology
and tells me nicely what absurdity
needs to be forgiven in this pitfall of mort!

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Mint gyermek…”(1935).

Attila József: I DON’T KNOW…

I don’t know what’s threatening
in the evening’s lacy shadows;
like flies from the decaying,
my dreams fall apart in rows.

And I don’t know what’s this caring voice
ringing in my heart calming:
quite down, as only the evening it is
and what are you afraid of, darling?

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Nem tudom” (1937).

Evening pictures

Dark urban quarter,
Been beehive in elder
days, now valleys.

I’m wandering wondering
Why others are waiting living,
I’m just fine.

Betwixt silent walls,
I’m running from wars,
Like a rabid rabbit.

Time is spending elsewhere,
But shatters the dark shelter-
By a song of bing-bong.

I must sense midnight,
Deeply asleep every light,
But mine is deeper.

I walk like a thief
with a perfect relief,
To be hidden.

Wearing a mask is wrong;
While the darkness I belong,
No mascarade.

By evil omens covered,
But no man got bothered,
In any side.

Being is a game of dice,
Here, guaranteed no nice
For you, nor for me.

I’m feel near the void;
Whether I should avoid
it, that I merit.

Where nobody walks,
There’s the Death; stalks
For my soul.

Perhaps, now, finally,
I undress the ever boundary,
Between me and the world.

I’d offer my soul,
The soul of ghoul,
But not today.

We’ve just started living,
Lights flare away the evening;
End of my day.

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from my Hungarian poem, “Kis esti képek” (2009).

Attila József: The sin

I’m grave guilty, I think,
but I feel good.
The only that disturbs me in this nothing,
why I have no sin if there’s this mood.

That I am guilty is not doubtful.
But whatever I think
my sin is something else awful.
Maybe it’s a foolish thing.

Like a miserly lost gold,
I seek this sin;
I left a mother for it to be found
although my heart is thin.

And I will find it one day
as heroes of virtue ;
and to confess, I will pay a coffee
for all my crew.

I will tell: I killed.  I do not know
who, maybe my father –
been watching as his blood flow
on a clotted night’s altar.

I stabbed him with a knife.  I’m not coloring
since we are all in one manhood
and as we get stabbed, suddenly
then we fall down too.

I will tell.  And I’ll be waiting (as it’s obliged),
who runs away busily;
I will watch who is surprised;
who dreads happily.

And I notice someone
who with his eyes, warmly
indicates just that: There’s other one
and you are not lonely …

But maybe, my sin is childish
and foolish really.
Then, the world will be tiny
and I will let it play silly.

I don’t believe in God and if there’s,
let him not bother with me ;
I will justify myself;
who lives will help me.

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “A Bűn” (1935).

Attila József: FROM FOG, SILENCE

I can’t wait for life anymore.
I’m being the way that’s possible.

And if it’s not possible, then no way,
If there are many days, it will be a long delay.

The sun disappears from my two eyes.
Only the lamp’s lights rise.

If there’s a fire, it will burn away.
If blood is shed, it will run away.

Whoever offends me, I don’t defend.
Whoever is sorry for me, I’m not even.

The military can be happy.
Since I can’t even be hungry.

Something happened to my sense,
But neither death nor patience.

I was kicked here, and kicked there
And not even once I swear.

I saw the fog once
Behind the great brilliance.

And I heard it once,
Getting over the noises of my disturbance,

Whether below or else above,
Only silence belongs to the poor.

The fog, the silence never shines.
I’m already out of fog, out of silence.

What maunders in my within,
Falls at the void of a pit in.

It’s an awful, big – big revenge,
Waiting, waiting until the end.

And to know, there are many more alike,
Until someone shakes one’s psych,

Until someone shouts by swoon,
From fog, from silence to the moon,

Up to the plague itself!
Who is cursing with curse itself,

Cursing the dog-keeper, the dog
And first of all, me in the fog.

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “KÖDBŐL, CSÖNDBŐL” (1925).


Romanian cigarette pack in the lawn
and sorrow in the heart,
head down, strong sunshine,
I still look young.

Such figures that I had such disdain on
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying nothing remained here anymore,
there is surely none, ever.

It was a nice little station thirty years ago,
heated waiting room in winters, outdoors white
gravel and red-white benches,
many long trains, whole sentences.

Now a ruined building,
concrete platform with cigarettes in the lawn
packs and inaccurate
feeling in the heart.

I used to think I should let things go
get old, weary whatever you want
I let go, it was a mistake
now they come back ruined, in a row,
but well, I stayed the same.

Such figures that I disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying you will see, you will be like that too,
you will be like that, sure, because the character
doesn’t change in a stinky life.

In a lazy meantime,
as if they were coming here from a victorious battle,
eternally losing-looking people
fly along the platform,
little standing, walking up and down,
cigarettes, lots of little time.

Such figures that I had disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
I said they were ugly and ploretarian
I said, they were waiting.

Now a self-destructive feeling,
trampled shoes, mustache, grief,
an almost random gold watch,
head down and an abandoned past.

The past, if it wasn’t cared of from the past,
it knows only revenge since adolescence because
it says every day – on a fine day:
“Look at me: I was at the station in Érdliget
once. And even now I am just that.
Tell me what I care about.
The buggy man died.
Out of his palm
the stag beetle flew away.
The future is a tougher nut to crack. ”
And with that, the past shrugs its shoulders.

The loudspeaker, on the other hand, starts talking,
like the younger brother when he gets a speech,
and promises a future: a train.

Such figures that I had disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying that they were just little
points, but it’s better than nothing,
and that times change.

There will be a sad silence because it is the same
shame to ask the lawn as
the heart as the Romanian cigarette pack.
changing for what?

And a train is coming as scheduled,
once it’s standing here, but it will take you from here,
short trains, incomplete sentences,
I sit down, I look out like a window.
for what.

I don’t pity and I don’t have disdain,
I want a goal and an easy soul
if they don’t go together, it’s good the way it is:
over resounding ore in a passenger car.
But I don’t know.

Translated from the Hungarian poem of István Kemény, “Fel és alá az Érdligeti állomáson” (2004).

Benyamin Bensalah


Attila József: If you don’t grab me

If you don’t grab me to your bosom,
like your only property
while you are dreaming laughing
the thieves will take me
and then you will lie on the bed crying:
Oh! Orphaned and foolish me!

If you don’t flatter in every minute to me,
that you are happy because you live for me
you can speak to your sad shadow only
that you are tormented, afraid and lonely.
There will be no thread for your loving,
without me it’s fragmentary.

If you don’t hug, don’t devour me, I’ll be beaten
by trees, mountains, waves.
I love you with the love of children,
but I am just as a child who barely behaves:
the room where you bathe in
will be lightened by my soul, and darkened as it leaves.

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Ha nem szorítasz…”(1937).

Attila József: Ars Poetica

I’m a poet – why would I care
about poetry itself?
Wouldn’t the star of the night river
be nice on the sky itself?

Time is slowly leaking,
I’m not hanging onto fairy tales,
I’m from the real world sipping,
with creamy skies as details.

Nice springwater – bathing home!
Tranquility and trembling
are hugging each other in the foam
with gracefully smart chatting.

Other poets – what do I do with these?
Dirting, fooling all around,
with forged pictures and intoxicates
to mimic ecstasy aground.

I step over the today’s pubbing,
to the intellect and beyond!
With a free mind I won’t be fooling
as an idiotic servant.

To eat, to drink, to hug, to sleep!
Measure yourself with the universe!
With hissing, I won’t serve such cheap,
miserable powers.

No bargain – let me be happy!
Otherwise, anyone will disgrace
and by redish spots mark me,
until the fever drinks away my juice.

I won’t shut away my mouth from worry.
I am complaining about knowledge.
I am looked after, patroned, by this century:
I am the first thought in everyone with damage;

I am stimulated in the worker’s body
between two rigid movements;
I am waited before the night cinema party
by the vagabond, the poorly dressed.

And where forsakens are gathering in camps
chasing the orders of my poems,
brotherly tanks start up from ramps
to scream loudly my rhymes.

I say: The man is not great yet.
But they imagine it so absurd.
So let their two parents be their navette:
The spirit and a loved soul!

Benyamin Bensalah


Today is the National Day of Poetry with the birthday of Attila József. Rest in peace finally.

Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Ars Poetica”(1937).

Péter Závada: Cat Circle

What you got is only my character.
I’m nothing else than mere formality.
You expected there were,
behind the being, an identity.

You didn’t take account of the others,
tho there’s no lack of substance.
The fact that I am, won’t be fillers
of my empty existence.

To love is common courtesies.
Who is empty cannot belong to you.
I have nothing, but the injuries
that I let you go.

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of Péter Závada, “Macskakör”.

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).