I Want

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaI want

(by Sándor Reményik)

 

I want: not to be important to myself.

 

I want to be a brick in the infinite wall,

a stairway upon which others crawl,

a plough that digs deep into the ground,

but the abounding wheat isn’t its merit.

To be the wind that carries the seed,

but doesn’t open the petals of the bud-bead.

Let the people who walk on the meadow

forget the wind, enjoy the flowers aglow.

I want to be the handkerchief that wipes away tears,

to be the silence that eases fears,

to be a caressing hand that perseveres.

To be and never know that I am.

I want to be on tired lashes slumber,

to be the mirage on a desert summer,

never asking if anyone watches me or not.

I want to be the mirage on a vast plain.

To be a deep sigh up to the sky

coming from ancient earth’s black heart.

I want to be the wire carrying the message,

and let them replace me when I’m broken.

I want to be under many souls a raft,

a simple, roughly patched together craft

that is carried to sea by rivers flowing deep.

 

I want to cry into infinity like a violin,

until the Violinist puts down the bow.

Freedom Or Safety? – A Fable

Someone not long ago (I guess it was in response to the Edward Snowden scandal) asked me what do I honor more – my freedom or my safety?

I had to think about it for a second – safety is my weekness, but then I smiled and said with an unshakable certainty: freedom.

This dilemma is perfectly depicted in Aesop’s fable, that was re-written by La Fontaine in poetry. I know La Fontaine’s version better, and I thought I’ll try to do a rough translation, – not because there aren’t enough already, but because I can, so why not? It couldn’t hurt. Here it is:


Jean de la Fontaine: Le Loup et le Chien – The Wolf and the Dog


The Wolf was nothing but skin and bones,

(the dogs were so diligently warding the sheep),

when he met a fatty Dog with sad groans.

It was big with a shiny fur.

“Could I tear him apart?” the Wolf demurred.

“The strength is too much that he owns.”

So he took to coaxing,

he complimented on his top-notch tummy.

“My friend,” replied the Dog,

“You could be a fatty hog as well,

if you join me!

Your kind in the forest is all nuts,

searching for food night and day,

their scruffy skin hanging on their bones like drags.

No safety, no peace…

But who comes with me will have a splendid fate!”

“What would my job be?” asked the Wolf.

“Nothing too heavy, just a bark here and there,

chasing beggars and travellers,

to fawn upon the master of the house,

your payment will come accordingly:

all the feeding, chicken bones and dove wings,

caressing and fondling.”

The Wolf is almost crying with the

prospect of such a future.

But than he observes the solid

worn-out stripe on the neck of the Dog.

“What’s that?” “That? Nothing.”

“Let me hear it!” “It’s just a small rubbing.

The collar does that, which ties me up.”

“You’re tied up?” shrieked the Wolf.

“Good bye then! Eat as much as you want,

I do not wish to join your kennel

for all the lamb in the world!”

replied the Wolf and ran away.

(Aesop’s version adds:

Better starve free than be fed as a slave.)

Sadness? It’s a big ocean…

I have mixed feelings about the poetry and life of probably the best known Hungarian poet, Sándor Petőfi.

But I like his short poems, musings about various subjects.

So here’s the rough translation of one of his shorties.

Sadness? It’s a big ocean by Sándor Petőfi

Sadness? It’s a big ocean.

And joy?

A small pearl of the ocean. Maybe.

By the time I manage to bring it

to the surface, I might even break it.