by Attila József, translation by Peter Szabo

I’m sitting on a twinkling wall of rocks.
Summer’s lying-
Its breeze, as the warmth of
a nice dinner, is flying.
I get my heart accustomed to silence.
I have a chance-
what’s disappeared gathers here,
the head bows and the hand near
just hangs.

I’m watching the mane of the hills-
your forehead’s light,
flashed by the leaves in the night
no- one’s on the road,
your skirt flies away, along
the flutters of the night.
Under the leafy boughs
I can see as your hair strokes
the air, your soft breasts- and as
the stream’s running along-
I see, as, on the stones, is born:
your angel smile, as a breath.

Oh, how much I love you,
who drew me out, with a glance,
both, in my heart’s rooms hidden
intrigue of loneliness,
and the Universe.

As waterfall of its own roar, you, dear
part from me, in silence run farther,
while me, among tops of my life, near
the approaching distance, I sing, cry,
wriggling on the ground and in the sky:
I love you so, dear stepmother.

I love you as a child loves his mum,
as its depth the silent mine,
as rooms like the light, the fine
flame likes the soul, body likes calmness!
I love you as those mortal like
to live until the moment they die.

Your every smile, breath, move, word
I keep, as fallen things keeps the ground.
Just as acid into steel swords,
you bit my mind where my instincts you found-
kind, nicely shaped bird,
your existence fills everything around.

Moments clattering walk by,
but you stay mutely in my brain.
Stars catch fire and fall, die,
you’ re still in my eyes as in river the rain.
Your taste, as silence in a lair
in my mouth is floating as cool air,
and on the glass, your hand stays,
I see the fine veins.
It’s looming there somewhere.

Oh, what kind of material am I,
that your eyes cut and shape me?
What soul, oh, and what light,
makes me walk all over, in this twilight,
the gently slooping sights of your body?
And as the Word is received by open mind,
it secrets are received by my two eyes…

Your arteries, as a rose- bush
tremble continuously as
they carry current for your
cheeks so love can bloom and
your womb can have a blessed fruit in the end.
Your stomach’s sensitive sole
is embroidered by a whole
bunch of fine roots, spun all
into piles as food they devour,
and your blood cells roar
their glory for us all.

Eternal matter flows as a tide
as your bowels’ tunnels they reach,
and excrement gains hot, rich life
in the busy fountains of your kidneys.

Wavy hills arise there,
zodiacs tremble in you, somewhere,
lakes move, factories work,
millions of animals bustle, birds,
cruelty and good deed;
Sun is shining, northern light is lour-
in your essence in silence pours
the unconscious eternal deep.

As clotted blood, these words
fall in front of you.
Existence stutters,
only the law is clear.
But my busy organs which’ ve created me on
and on, they’ve prepared, as my thoughts,
to become mute.

But till then they all shout-
You, the one, above
two billion humans ,
the only, soft cradle around,
deep grave, living bed I’ve found,
accept me in!...

( How high’s the down sky!
Armies shine in its ore.
The strong light hurts my eye.
I believe I’m lost, I fall.
I hear as above me,
My heart beats once more.)


( Train’s carrying me, I follow you, love,
once I’ll maybe find you there, above,
maybe this burning face cools once,
maybe, silently, you’ll speak as I glance:
Fresh water’s splashing, have a bath!
Here’s the towel, dry yourself up in the grass!
Meat is frying, I know you’ve waited that!
Where I’m lying , that is your bed.)
I quite like the combination of fine poetry with plain non-poetical words.
You sensed it well. But poetic, non poetic- it's not like that in my opinion. What's genious and chatartic can't be explained. i'll try though, as i see it: This poem is the most woderful I ve ever read because it is everything: love, nature, God, universe,love, God, nature, universe, God, love, nature, universe,love,God,lave,love,love,love. Woww, it became a poem:):)
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
I agree with you a it's a beautiful poem, extremely rich in contents. It makes you want to feel a part of it.
Better not. You'd push lots of morphine in yourself if you managed to do it.Emotion: smile
What do you mean, Peter?
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies


Here I sit on a glittering rockface.
The lissome breeze
Of early summer soars
Like a dear supper’s warmth and ease.
I acclimate my heart to quietness.
Not so hard a thing –
That which has vanished is here gathering,
My head bows low, the hands

I scan the mane of mountainside –
Every leaf has plied
Its light your forehead-wide.
There’s no one, no one on the road.
I see the wind flutter, lift,
The hem of your shift.
And beneath the branch’s fragile load
Of foliage I see your hair undressed,
The quiver and subsiding of your ***
And like splashings of the Szinva-brook
I see spring forth in fresh trebles
over the rounded, white pebbles
of your teeth, the laughing fairy-look.


Oh how much I love you,
Who persuaded them to talk, rehearse:
The cunning solitude weaving phantasms
In my heart’s deepest chasms
And the universe.
Who like a waterfall from its own crash
Depart from me and steal to regions other,
While I, in far nearness, between my life’s great peaks,
Cry aloud in songs and shrieks,
-- dashing myself against the earth and sky, --
That I love you, cruel, sweet stepmother!


I love you like the child his mother,
The silent caves their depths,
I love you like the body rest,
The rooms their light, the soul flame’s crest,
I love you as those whom death will not forgive
Love life on earth while they still live.

I guard your every smile, motion, word,
As the earth does the falling asteroid.
As into metal acids bite, corrode,
My instincts press you to my mind,
Your dear, your lovely shape
Pours into every essence, every void.

The moments march on with warlike clatter
But you sit inside my ear without a sound.
Stars flame out and, falling, scatter
But you stand still within my vision’s ground.
The taste of you, like silence in a cave,
Streams cooling around my tongue.
On your hand gripping the water tumbler
Fine traceries of veins are flung,
Glimmering wave on wave.


Oh, tell me what I’m made of in the main,
Such stuff that but your glance can cut and form?
What kind of soul am I, what lightning storm
And what amazing phenomenon
That allows me to range through nullity’s haze
On your fertile body’s rolling terrain?

And like words into open intelligencies
May I descend into its mysteries!…

Your circulation, like the dense rosevine,
Trembles without surcease.
It bears its current, eternal and fine,
That love may blossom on your face
And that blessed be the fruit of thy womb.
Myriad broidering rootlets twine
About your stomach’s sensitive loam,
Their endless, threading delicacy
Binds and unbinds in a complex craze –
Mustering troops, your cell-work of nectar sways
And your leafy lungs’ glorious shrubbery
Whispers its own praise!

Eternal matter gladly wends its way
Inside you on the bowels’ tunnellings
And the dross gains abundant life each day
On the ardent kidneys’ scorching springs.

Within you undulating hillocks strive
And constellations quiver,
Lakes stir, factories churn and thrive,
A million living animals shiver,
Mercilessness and charity,
The sun shines, a gloomy Arctic light ponders,
There within your contents wanders
The unconscious perpetuity.


Like clotted drops of blood,
They fall before you in a flood,
These words I utter.
Life and being stutter,
Only the law’s clean words exist.
But my hard-working organs, that each day
Are born anew, already prepare for silence,
Will finally desist.

But until then all shouts for you –
Out of the human multitude
Of two-thousand million, you, chosen in their stead,
You single one, you mild
Cradle, sturdy grave, you living bed,
Receive me into you!…

(How high it is, this dawning sky!
Whole armies glitter in its ore.
Their greater brilliance pains the eye,
I feel I’m lost, still more and more.
My heart is pounding, high
Above me I hear it soar.)



The train conveys me, speeds me where
Perhaps I’ll find you on the stair.
Perhaps this burning face will cool.
Perhaps it’s me you’ll gently school,

“Warm water’s drawn, wash clean again.
Look here, this cloth will dry you then.
Meat’s roasting, ease your belly’s groan.
The bed where I lie, that’s your own.”