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

19.06.2020

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

02.06.2020

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

07.05.2018

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

06.06.2020

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

István Kemény: UP AND DOWN AT THE ÉRDLIGET STATION

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

22.05.2020

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

25.04.2020

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

György Faludy: Learn this poem of mine

Learn this poem of mine
because how long this book will be by your side?
If it’s yours, it will be borrowed,
ending in a public library,
and if it’s not: its paper is so crappy,
it will turn yellow, will break, will be raggedy,
will dry out, will shred, will swell,
or it will catch fire calling upon hell,
two hundred and forty degrees is enough –
and what do you think how hot it is, how tough
when a big city becomes ash, burning down?
Learn this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine
because soon there will be no book to find,
there will be no poet and no rhyme,
and your car won’t have gasoline,
there won’t be even rum to be drunk,
since the shopkeeper won’t open the shop,
and you may throw out your money,
because the moment is coming with agony,
when your screen instead of image
will transmit a ray of death and cellular damage
and because there will be no one to help,
you will realize the only thing that remains left
as yours, is what your forehead has dined,
you hold.  Give me a place inside.
Learn this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine,
and tell me when it’s the deadline
of the seas littered with alkali,
and the industries’ puke already
covers all soils
and grounds, like the drool of snails,
if all of the lakes were killed,
and destruction is coming crippled,
if the leaf is rotting on the trees,
the sources bubble up disease,
and the evening wind brings you cyan:
if you put on the gas mask fine,
you can recite this poem of mine.


Learn this poem of mine,
to let me accompany you. Belike,
and you still survive this millenium,
and a few short years will become,
because the bacilli’s raving
revenge may fail,
and the technology’s greedy
divisions have more power
than the globe moving extremely –
bring it up from your memory
and sing another time to me
these lines: since where it has gone
the beauty and love?


Learn this poem of mine,
to let me accompany you if I’m no more alive
when you will be bothered about the house
where you live because there is no water nor gas,
and you hit the road to find a shelter,
to eat buds, seeds, and other gather,
to find water, get a club,
and if there is no free land, to use that club,
to take the land and kill the man –
there, let me amble with you, man
under ruins and above them
and whisper to you: Undead,
where are you going? Your soul is frozen,
no sooner than you leave the town.
Learn this poem of mine.


It could also be that up there
there is no more world, and you down there,
deep in the bunker you ask:
how many more days until the poisonous
air through the lead sheet
penetrates the concrete?
Then what was for and what worth had
the man, if he arrives to such an end?
How can I send you comfort,
if there is no right but discomfort?
Shall I confess that I was always for you
thinking of you for many, many years
through sunlights and through the nights,
and even I died a long time ago, I am still for you
looking through my two sad eyes?
What else could I tell you before I resign?
Forget this poem of mine.

Benyamin Bensalah

15.04.2020

Translated from the Hungarian poem of György Faludy, “Tanuld meg ezt a versemet”(1980).

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

11.04.2020

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).

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).