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).

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).

Attila József : THE INVENTORY IS READY

I trusted only myself from the beginning –
if you have nothing, the cost will be willing
for the man. In no way it will be more
than for the animal that dropped not living anymore.
Even if I was scared, I found my stand-
I was born, I mingled and I did out-stand.
I even paid everyone just as was the measure,
who gave it for free, I accepted with pleasure.
Women, if I was play-toy for any of their flattery:
I believed it really – let them be happy!
I scrubbed ships, pulling buckets as my only tool.
Among smart gentlemen, I played the fool.
I sold spinners, breads and books,
newspapers, poems – whenever what smooths.
Not in a glorious combat, not on a gentle rope,
but I end up in a bed, sometimes I hope.
Either way, now the inventory is ready.
I lived – and even others have died in it already.

Benyamin Bensalah

18.02.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila Jozsef, “Kész a leltár” (1936).

Attila József: Motivating

In China, there’s hanging tangerine.
Today has killed the cocaine.
The straw is buzzing, go to sleep.
Today has killed the cocaine.

Through the window of the store
Till the cashier, sees the poor.
The straw is buzzing, go to sleep.
Till the cashier, sees the poor.

Take a sausage and take some bread,
keep well your living breath.
The straw is buzzing, go to sleep,
keep well your living breath.

Whoever will cook, will kiss, too,
once, there will be a woman, too.
The straw is buzzing, go to sleep,
once, there will be a woman, too.

Benyamin Bensalah

31.01.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Biztató” (1927).

Attila József: THE SEVENTH

In this world if you are hitting a camp,
seven times your mother shall give birth in cramp!
Once, be born inside a house burning,
once in an icy flood whirling,
once in a mental asylum fooling,
once in beautiful wheat swinging,
once in a monastery hollow-sounding,
once among pigs in the pigpen.
The six cries up, but what will be with you?
The seventh shall be you!

Enemy, if he comes before you,
shall find seven of you.
One who starts his day out of duty,
one who does his service orderly,
one who educates his nation freely,
one who was thrown into water to swim,
one who’s the seed of a forest coming,
one whose ancestors were defending him,
all tricks and guns are not enough, tho,

the seventh shall be you!

If you’d sweetheart a lover,
there shall be seven after her.
One who gives a heart for his word,
one who pays for his own hazard,
one who plays star-gazing,
one who’s in the skirt searching,
one who knows where’s the staple,
one who steps on the scarf with trample –
buzzing her like flies on a meat that’s blue!

The seventh shall be you.

If you’d poetize and there’s token,
there shall be seven writing that poem.
One who makes a village from marble,
one who was born in slumber,
one who measures the sky and nods unbothered,
one who is called on his name by the word,
one who strikes his soul,
one who autopsies a living rat in a bowl.
Scientists four, and warriors two,

the seventh shall be you.

And if all was as it was written,
as seven men, you shall be in a grave hidden.
One who’s cradled by a milky breast,
one who’s grabbing after a lusty breast,
one who throws away an empty bowl,
one who helps to win the poor,
one who works dropping soon,
one who just looks at the Moon:
Living under the world’s tomb!

The seventh shall be you.

Benyamin Bensalah

18.01.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem, “A hetedik” (1932) by Attila József.

To sit, to stand, to hug, to die

To push this chair away,
to croach in front of a train,
to climb a mountain carefully,
to shake my bag out in the valley,
to give a bee to my old spider,
to caress an old mother,
to eat a tasty brown bean chowder,
to pace on tiptoes, it’s muddy,
to put my hat down to the rail,
to go around the lake only,
to sit in its bottom clothed in vain,
to blush amongst the tinkling bubbles,
to flourish amongst sunflowers –
to give a nice sigh instead,
to hush a fly away only,
to dust my books when they get dirty, –
to spit into my mirror’s middle,
to sign my enemies’ peace treaty,
to kill them all with a long knife’s shearing,
examining the blood how it’s running,
looking after a girl how she’s turning over –
sitting standly, so as, instead,
burning up the capital,
to wait for birds at my morsel,
to throw my bad bread to the ground,
to make cry my good lover,
to grab her younger sister onto the lap
and if this world is my account,
leaving it so as to be in no more recount – –

oh, you tying, you dissolving,
now, on this poem typing,
making laughter, making crying,
oh, my life, you choice for trying!

Benyamin Bensalah

10.10.2019

Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Ülni, Állni, Ölni, Halni”(1926).

Attila József : A Simple Poem

When everything gets dark and the sky splits in purple around us,
I would like to see your eyes.
When I see you, I’m only looking into your eyes and I wish to kiss
your hands bravely.
I’d like to kiss them, and when I am there, next to you, I know that
I won’t kiss your hands…

Benyamin Bensalah

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

16.11.2016