Attila József: WINTER

A big, big fire should be settled,
To let the people warm up.

Throwing on it everything that is antique, junks,
Shattered, broken and what is new and whole,
Children’s toy, – oh, happy hare and hounds!  –
And heaving on it everything that’s beautiful.

A hot flame would sing to the sky about it
And it would hold in its hands everyone’s properties.

A big, big fire should be settled,
Since the cities, the grounds are frostbitten …
To tear open the handles of the frosted cell
And light it up, to make everything heaten.

That fire, oh, should be settled,
To let the people warm up!

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Tél” (1922).


Sometimes, I feel like a little child…
        Such who mourns even the bee after getting stung…
Then, sometimes… I feel like the bee…
        That has nothing to lose and stings any one near…

Benyamin Bensalah


When you are not needed

When you are not needed,
You just make up things,
When you are not needed,
Things fulfill your days,
When you are not needed,
Dreams are just some things,
When you are not needed,
Things are just distractions,
When you are not needed,
Goals are just made up things,
When you are not needed,
Things are just frustrations,
When you are not needed,
Nights reaveal there are no things,
When you are not needed,
Things just fall apart,
When you are not needed,
You just wait the end of made up things.

Benyamin Bensalah


Blue Banner

We are the nation of the sea,
who others could see her
as we see.

Not seeing her as she is, the blue,
but daily shilly-shally acting
of a sea of hue.

By morning, she calls for the light,
sounding smoothly murmur
against the night.

She is why the gloomy coasts revive,
her golden curves enlighten
the hurrying beehive.

By day, she is a mere Blue Queen,
the ace turquoise beauty
have ever seen.

Benyamin Bensalah



The pressure, pressure and pressure,
year to year, day to day
from people, people and situations
is smashing, crashing every one of us
with all possible forces.

Where is the possible counterforce
that could be against,
that could save you from breaking,
that could save others to explode on them
with a dark mushroom-cloud of anger?

What could be better counterforce
than just simply smiling,
and dissolve the pressure of others,
bringing a bright day into the cosmic mess
with radioactive kindness!

Benyamin Bensalah


Always lemon

Like biting into lemon over and over again,
Life squeezes fun out of my face:
Although my hand feels the round apple,
My eyes can see the rich peach,
The rapture of thousands of sweet colors …

But when I reach for them,
Take to my mouth the manna of Eden:
Bitter tastes try to let me know
That you’re in a very bad place,
This is not your world …

Benyamin Bensalah


Translated from my Hungarian poem, “Mindig citrom”.


See the edges of the buildings –
White buildings, red buildings!
What monstrous and numerous are those things!
From the upper highness,
As from viewing up from their legs,
They are giantly erupting like trees.
But what are these?
What are these?
Not like trees that arise from the seeds,
Are they just there?
Just like that?!

Ask who did build those buildings –
Roofed buildings, bald buildings!
What squared shape they have,
What eminence some of them holds.
But who asks about them?
And who cares
after all?

See all those what’s heard of buildings –
Greek buildings, Ottoman buildings!
Does mortal eyes’ seeing see these things?
The glazed ceramics and corinthian crinklings
Under the seas and upon the skies,
The art of the architect’s,
Or the pain of the masons by whom the brick lies?

See nothing what’s in the buildings –
Commercial buildings, industrial buildings!
Even the one who sits, stands in these things
Sees only prisons fenced in wall by wall.
As in a zoo, they are inclosed in the buildings.
People see people only feeding
When running out of the buildings.

See the monstrous, numerous buildings –
Breathing buildings, oppressing buildings!
They eat up the landscape
And even other buildings.
In them, people and people and people,
Working and eating without seeing
The buildings and buildings and buildings,
Digesting the people, the look
While they are seething and eating us till we go.
Though, they’re not seeing what those buildings do
Because they are just buildings after all.

Benyamin Bensalah