Whether you are a parent,
or it’s not yet apparent,
I do call upon you
– for the sake of everybody,
and for my sake as well
(since I had no such education),
you need to enlighten your child.
People are wild –
animals living in the wild will be less;
less brutal, brute and brutish than man.
Real predators have language –
the tongue of people kills and torments;
not for the weekly nutrition,
not for meat or blood,
but for their own pleasure
they kill and wound by their words.
Tell your child the truth:
that fear that makes you jump feets
from spiders or snakes,
that fear that freezes you with a cramp
from rabid dogs or wolves
have all mistaken the real object of fear:
(the merchant, the classmate,
the servant, the stagnate,
the young and the old and even the dead,
then even the poet by whom this lecture is said)
are all worse then animals,
from the bottom of your heart,
for that fear may save your heart
may save your heart from becoming like us.
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.
Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Világosítsd föl” (1936).
Give them a moment of happiness,
a life-long watering and care;
they will make you bleed
with your first mistake
No one loves me, not even one,
Not an animal, not a human –
Monster, I’m called by the men;
Loving and being loved, it’s them…
No one feels me, not even one,
I’m not an animal, not a human –
Monster, I’m called by the men;
Feeling and being felt, it’s them…
No one hears me, not even one,
They’re not animal, not a human –
Monsters, they’re called by the man;
Seeing and hearing, it’s not them…
I’ve met spiders in human form,
web-making and trap-setting.
Their venom feels you as a final blessing
what they’ve been actually for.
I’ve met flies flying around garbage,
birds catching them starving.
Cats murder nests, then just sitting
they wait for the applause stage.
I’ve met packs of dogs and wolves howl,
killed as individuals by snakes hiding.
On their bones votchures and ants parasiting
in a while of a sleeptime of an owl.
I’ve met fish eating fish in silence,
elephants walking miles for dying.
The rave symphony of surviving
is painted in a greenish violence.
I’ve met all these dangers of shapeshifters,
the wild abilities of molting.
Like chameleons changing, hiding and biting,
I’m the same shapeshifter of writers.
An infinite goodness hidden
with an immense evil with a bad balance;
Finally, this is what to be human –
By endless possibilities ridden – driven,
to see the truth is out of chance.
I’m dizzy, drunk and dumb,
Tho’ no alcohol touched my tongue;
No Hennesy of Islamic heresy,
No, I didn’t take any heavy to be heady.
I’m in daze, drought and dung,
My life is empty, but not an easy run;
It’s an endless intoxication,
Dragged and druged by self-interrogation.
Whether a shot would amend my inner weather?
Whisky with coke to feel better?
Sending me to hell from this hellish place?
Living-dying on the worldly drugs of my race?