Who forbids me to tell you what hurt me
on the way home?
There was a lukewarm darkness on the lawn,
like velvet spray
and hurling without sleep under my feet,
as a struck child, silent growling was to leave
every tiny leaf.
Scouting, the bushes squatted in a circle
on the outskirts of the city.
The autumn wind stumbled cautiously right among.
On the cool mould
lurking towards the lights suspiciously;
a wild duck frightened howling from the lake viciously,
wherever I was going.
I just thought it might fall on me, who knows
this landscape is so deserted.
And here it is, an unexpected man comes,
but he departed.
I looked after him. He could rob me
since I don’t feel like defending myself in his arrival
while I am so miserable.
It’s kept on track what I called by phone
and when, why, to whom.
It’s written in files what I dreamed of
just as who’s understanding them.
And I can’t know when I will have enough reason
to unfolder that file-filled carton
which of my rights were sent to treason.
And in the country’s fragile villages
my mother was born there –
living law was falling like from tree,
as here these timbered-messages
and if they are overwhelmed by the adult misfortune,
they all ring to report a miserable warning
and they dust into portions.
Oh, that’s not how I imagined the order.
My soul is not so native.
I didn’t think existence could make it easier,
something that’s so deceptive.
Neither a people who are afraid when they vote,
with lowered eyes, considering a lurking note
and cheer up at its kaput.
I didn’t imagine order like that.
Though, if it’s me
Sometimes I didn’t even know why I was beat’,
as a small child me
who would have jumped to a good word right away.
I knew – by far my mother, I have no relative like they,
those were just strangers ready to prey.
I’ve grown up already. My teeth multiply
the foreign matter,
like death in my heart. But I have a right
and soul or clay,
yet I’m not like that and my skin isn’t so precious,
that I could handle wordlessly breathless,
if I’m not free!
My leader controls me from within!
Mankind, not wild –
we are minds! Our hearts, while mellowing desire,
are not data built-in.
Come on, freedom! You give me order,
so educate with good words, let play in disorder
your nice, serious son!
Translated from the Hungarian poem of Attila József, “Levegőt!” (1935).