ATTILA JOZSEF,1934-Consciousness


The dawn has unloosed the sky from the earth

and at its clear soft word

the beetles, the children

come tumbling out into the light of day;

no haze in the atmosphere,

the sparkling lightness floats everywhere!

During the night, like butterflies,

the leaves have settled on the trees.


Blue, red, yellow poly-daubed

pictures I saw in my dreams,

and I felt: this is the order of things,

not a floating dust-speck’s out of place.

Now gloom-like my dream spreads out to my limbs

and the iron world is the order.

By day a moon rises in me and when it’s night

outside – a sun shines here within.


I am thin, just bread I eat sometimes,

amongst these frivolous prattling souls

its for nothing that I seek something more sure

than the throw of the dice.

There’s no roast shoulder nuzzling at

my lips, or child at my heart.

For all its skill the cat can’t catch mice

outside and inside at the same time.


Like a pile of hewn timber

the world lies heaped up on itself,

one thing presses and squeezes and

interlocks with the other,

so each is determined.

Only what is not has a bush,

only what will be is a flower,

what is crumbles into fragments.


In the goods station yard

I flattened myself against the foot of the tree

like a slice of silence; grey weeds

reached up to my mouth, raw and queerly sweet.

Dead still I watched the guard, (what was he sensing?)

and, on the silent waggons,

his shadow which kept obstinately jumping

upon the lustrous dew-laden coal-lumps.


See, here inside is the suffering,

out there, sure enough, is the explanation.

Your wound is the world – it burns and rages

and you feel your soul, the fever.

You are a slave so long as your heart rebels –

you become free by making it your pleasure

not to build yourself the kind of house

in which the landlord settles down.


I looked up from under the evening

at the gear wheels of the skies –

from glistening threads of chance

the loom of the past was weaving law,

and again I looked up at the sky

from under the vapours of my dreams

and I saw that the fabric of the law

was always bursting apart somewhere.


The stillness was listening – the clock struck one.

You could rediscover your youth,

between dank cement walls

you can imagine a little freedom –

I thought. And, then, as I stand up

the stars and the Great Bear

glimmer up there

like bars above the silent cell.


I have heard the iron weep,

I have heard the rain laugh.

I have seen that the past is split

and only images can be forgotten;

and that I can do nothing but love,

bowed down under my loads –

why must I forge you into a weapon,

gold of self-awareness!


He has fully become a man

who has in his heart no mother, father,

who knows that he gets life

only as an extra to death

and, like something found, he will give it back

at any time, that’s why he keeps it safe,

who is not a god and not a priest

either to himself or anyone.


I have myself seen happiness,

soft it was, blond and three hundredweight.

Its curly smile was tottering

On the strict grass of the yard.

It settled into the soft warm puddle,

blinked, and gave a grunt at me –

to this day I see how hesitantly

the sunlight toyed amongst its downy hairs.


I live by the railway line. Many trains

go past here and, time and again,

I watch the lighted windows fly

through the fluttering fluff-darkness.

So through eternal night

rush illuminated days

and I stand in each cubicle of light,

I lean upon my elbows and am silent.



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