ATTILA JOZSEF,1937-There was a beauty

There was a beauty. There was sweetness.

I contemplated

a delicate rose.

And reality smashed down on me

like a loose boulder.

The boulder is just an image.

It’ll be best to

tell everything.

The daily grind’s edifying

and has the whip-hand.

My instinct followed the right track.

When that man came in

it boomed like breakers:

“I know him. Electricity.

He’ll switch off the mains.”

I was sharpening my pencil

the knife in my hand.

If I stab this man

I know that I shall be at peace,

at last reconciled.

I was embittered. Well, all right.

The whole flat will be

dark and depressing.

An animal can protect its home.

This war’s different.

Violence will just be futile.

I’ll get beaten up,

turn sick and twisted.

And no light. Where there’s rule of law

cash is armament.

The technology of war’s changed.

The splendid hero

needn’t draw his sword.

Five pound notes are bomb explosions,

pennies are shrapnel.

That’s the way I reasoned it out.

So I said: “Hallo”

and stepped aside.

At nightfall the generous moon

smiled at the outcome.

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