A piece of poetry

Although I’m living in the Netherlands, no secret, I’m a Hungarian fellow, born and raised in Budapest.

And such as, having extended knowledge about the very rich classical Hungarian literature, novels, romans and poems as well. Lots of poems definitely. I still own the (for me) very best books.

And why not, I thought, let’s share a well-translated example, a poem from 1934 written by Attila Joszef, making today’s post a relaxed sunday morning reading, a cultural wake. It is one of his most famous, Mama (they love to translate to mother on some reason):


For a week now, again and again,
Thoughts of my mother have racked my brain.
Gripping a basket of washing fast,
On, and up to the attic she passed.

And I was frank and released my feeling
In stamps and yells to bring down the ceiling.
Let someone else have the bulging jackets,
Let her take me with her up to the attic.

She just, giving me no look or thrashing,
Went on, and in silence spread out the washing,
And the kneaded clothes, rustling brightly,
Were twisting and billowing up lightly.

I should not have cried but it’s too late for this.
Now I can see what a giant she is.
Across the sky her grey hair flickers through;
In the sky’s waters she is dissolving blue.

Translated by Vernon Watkins



Attila Jozsef (1905-1937)



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