Attila Jozsef

(11 April 1905 – 3 December 1937 / Hungary)

Ode [óda] - Poem by Attila Jozsef

1

I am alone on these glittering crags.
A sinuous breeze
floats delicious, the infant summer's
suppertime simmer and ease.
I school my heart into this silence.
Not so arduous--
All that is vanished is aswarm in me,
my head is bowed, and my hand is
vacuous.

I see the mane of the mountain--
each little leafvein
leaps with the light of your brow.

The path is quite deserted,
I see how your skirt is floated
in the wind's sough.
Under the tender, the tenuous bough
I see you shake out your hair, how it clings,
your soft, trembling breasts; behold
--just as the Szinva-stream glides beneath--
the round white pebbles of your teeth,
and how the welling laughter springs
tumbling over them like fairy gold.


2

Oh how much I love you, who've given
speech to both the universes:
the heart's caves, its trickweaving deepenings,
sly involute lonelinesses--
and starry heaven.
As water glides from its own thunderous fall
you fly from me and we are cleft and parted,
whilst I, among the mountains of my life, still call,
still kneel, and sing, and raise the echo with my cry,
slamming against the earth and sky,
that I love you, step-nurse, mother-hearted!


3

I love you as a child his mother's breast,
as the dumb caves their own bottomlessness,
as halls the light that shows them best,
as the soul loves flame, as the body rest!
I love you as we who marked for death
love the moments of their living breath.

Every smile, every word, every move you make,
as falling bodies to my earth, I press;
as into metal acids eat and ache,
I etch you in my brains with instinct's stress,
beautiful shapeliness,
your substance fills the essence they partake.

The moments march by, clattering and relentless,
but in my ears your silence lies.
Even the stars blaze up, fall, evanesce,
but you're a stillness in my eyes.
The taste of you, hushed like a cavern-pool,
floats in my mouth, as cool;
your hand, upon a water-glass,
veined with its glowing lace,
dawns beautiful.


4

Ah, what strange stuff is this of which I'm made,
that but your glance can sculpt me into shape?--
what kind of soul, what kind of light or shade,
what prodigy that I, who have long strayed
in my dim fog of nothingness unmade,
explore your fertile body's curving scape?

--And as the logos flowers in my brain,
immerse myself in its occult terrain! . . .


Your capillaries, like a bloodred rose,
ceaselessly stir and dance.
There that eternal current seethes and flows
and flowers as love upon your countenance,
to bless with fruit your womb's dark excellence.
A myriad rootlets broider round
and round your stomach's tender ground,
whose subtle threadings, woven and unwound,
unknit the very knot whereby they're bound,
that thus thy lymphy cellbrood might abound,
and the great, leaved boughs of thy lungs resound
their whispered glory round!

The eterna materia goes marching on
happily through your gut's dark cavern-cells,
and to the dead waste rich life is given
within the ardent kidneys' boiling wells!

Billowing, your hills arise, arise,
constellations tremble in your skies,
lakes, factories work on by day and night,
a million creatures bustle with delight,
millipede,
seaweed,
a heartless mercy, gentle cruelty,
your hot sun shines, your darkling north light broods,
in you there stir the unscanned moods
of a blind incalculable eternity.


5

So falls in clotted spatters
at your feet this blood,
this parched utterance.
Being stutters;
law is the only spotless eloquence.
My toiling organs, wherein I am renewed
over and over daily, are subdued
to their final silence.


But yet each part cries out--
O you who from the billioned multitude,
O you unique, you chosen, wooed
and singled out, you cradle, bed,
and grave, soft quickener of the dead,
receive me into you.


(How high is this dawn-shadowy sky!
Armies are glittering in its ore.
Radiance anguishing to the eye.
Now I am lost, I can no more.
Up in the world I hear it batter,
my heart's old roar.)


6

(Envoi)


(Now the train's going down the track,
maybe today it'll carry me back,
maybe my hot face will cool down today,
maybe you'll talk to me, maybe you'll say:

Warm water's running, there's a bath by and by!
Here is a towel, now get yourself dry!
The meat's on the oven, and you will be fed!
There where I lie, there is your bed.)


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, September 25, 2010



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