Wednesday, November 25, 2009

FROM THE HUNGARIAN OF SANDOR FOLDALATTI translated by John Glendale

I - BLUE


Blue: sweet colour of far away,
the colour of farewell, the colour
I remember from your eyes.

A childhood blue once trembled
where the city stutters
into dusty scrub and empty

marshalling yards.
The last grim veil of innocence
was blue.

If I were asked to construct
a world that wasn’t there,
I’d make its every surface

scrupulously blue
and you, the only
resident.


II - TODAY, I AM A NEW MAN


Today, I am a new man,
a stranger in the town that bore me.

How simple it is to become a ghost -
just one word, one gesture, and we slip

through the fretwork of other people’s lives
as easily as water through a stone.

Gradually, my heart sheds its weight,
this once familiar rock has hatched a swallow.

Just for today, if I were to pass myself in the street,
I wouldn’t even raise my hat, or say hello.

VI - REMEMBER THOSE WILD APPLES


Remember those wild apples
we would gather in the autumn, stained
with a half-faced blush, or the viridescent
shadow of a vanished leaf?
They clung to the early cold like a young girl’s heart.

Grandfather said they were all seeded
from that first tree God espaliered in Paradise;
its fruit so bitter, even Adam felt compelled
to spread softened honey on the flesh
before he could savour exile, and the world.


Author Note:


Sándor Foldalatti was born in Budapest on March 29th 1952. Since graduating from the University of Pezs with a combined Honours Degree in Fruit Husbandry and Applied Transport Mechanics, he has worked as a ticket collector on the Budapest underground. He is the author of two collections of poems: ‘The Straw Clock’ (Sobor Press, 1989) and ‘A Bicycle of Feathers’ (Ferihegy Books, 1995). He lives in a one bedroomed flat in central Budapest with his German wife Erika, five children, a large black dog, a three legged cat and a dwarf ocelot.

The translator would like to thank Janos Kukorelly, Director of Traffic Flow with the Hungarian State Subterranean Railways, for providing the literal translations from which these English versions derive.

© John Glenday

Johnthebarman note:

Sandor's poems take me and tell me of places so close yet on the other side.
Tonight I hope to go to John Glendale's book launch in Edinburgh.

1 Comments:

Blogger Naukishtae said...

John,

Thank you for sharring such great poetry

7:59 pm  

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