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An Anthology of Sándor Petőfi Poems by Miklós Nádasdi

 

Listed below are 22 poems written by Sándor Petőfi and translated by Miklós Nádasdi from the original Hungarian into English.

 

A plan gone up in smoke

National song

Prophecy

At the end of September

The sea is rising up

Mottled life

My mother’s hen

I turned into the kitchen

I dreamed something beautiful

The moonlight is bathing in the sea of the sky

It is not possible to forbid a flower

In the souvenir book of a bookseller

To my brother Steven

Winter world

To the parliament

I love you my darling

Poets of the 19th century

If you are a man, be a man

Autumn is here again

Farewell to Celibacy

One Thought Bothers Me

Man

 

SÁNDOR PETŐFI, one of the greatest Hungarian poets, was born on January 1, 1823, in Kiskoros.  Hungary. He disappeared on the battlefield and probably died on July 31, 1849, in Segesvar, Transylvania.  

Petőfi studied at eight different schools, joined for a short time a group of strolling players, and enlisted as a private soldier, but because of ill health was soon dismissed from the army.

Petofi’s first poem was published in 1842. In 1844, on the recommendation of Mihály Vörösmarty, then the leading Hungarian poet, he became an assistant editor of the literary periodical Pesti Divatlap. His first volume of poetry, Versek, appeared in the same year.

In 1847 he married Julia Szendrey, who inspired his best love poems. After 1847, together with Mór Jókai, he edited the magazine Életképek

Petőfi's poems glowed with passion and one of them "National Song," written on the eve of the revolution, became its anthem.

During the revolution he became the aide-de-camp of Gen. Jozef Bem, then head of the Transylvanian army. Petőfi disappeared during the Battle of Segesvár, July 31, 1849, and was assumed to have died in the fighting, though his body was never discovered.

(Extracted from an entry written by the Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica,)

MIKLÓS NÁDASDI  was  born  on January 29, 1932,  in Budapest, Hungary. He received an M.D. degree at  the Semmelweis University of Budapest in 1956, the same year when, during a revolution against the Soviet regime,  he escaped from Hungary to Vienna. The following year he immigrated to Canada with the sponsorship of Hans Selye, the scientist who  developed the stress theory. He worked as his postgraduate student at the University of Montreal  where he obtained A  Ph.D. degree in experimental medicine. This followed 34 scientific publications. In 1964 he moved to Toronto and became the vice president of medical affairs of   Glaxo, a large international pharmaceutical company (now GSK). He also established a medical practice as a staff member of the North York General Hospital in Toronto. He is married, has two children, four grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Presently he is retired and lives with his wife in Toronto.

 

A PLAN GONE UP IN SMOKE

 

All the way home there was one thing

I was pondering:

The first thing to tell my mother

Upon my homecoming.

 

What shall I say to her that is

Nice, warm and has grace?

While the arms that rocked my cradle

She lifts for embrace.

 

Endless row of delicious thoughts

Pile up in my head,

Time is at a standstill

While the carriage speeds ahead.

 

I step into the small room,

My mother flies to me...

And I cling to her lips... speechless...

Like fruits  on a tree.

 

NATIONAL SONG

 

Hungarians, get on your feet!

This is the time, this is the need!

Shall we be free or remain slaves?

The answer is: No  two ways!

God of Hungarians, 

We swear,

We swear that none  stays 

Prisoner!

 

We have been prisoners since when

Our forefathers,  who were free men,

Could not rest in slavish soil

That is surrounded by turmoil.

God of Hungarians,

We swear,

We swear that none stays 

Prisoner!

 

A low down man who is not brave

and too coward to choose the grave

When his country needs his life

he refuses to sacrifice.

God of Hungarians,

We swear,

We  swear that none  stays 

Prisoner!

 

The sword shines better than the chain,

We shall not wear chain again!

Let us pull out the ancient sword,

In the name of our dear Lord!

God of Hungarians,

We swear,

We swear that none stays

Prisoner!

 

Hungary will renew its name,

It will get back its well-earned fame;

Enough of centuries of blame,

We shall get rid of the false shame!

God of Hungarians,

We swear,

We swear that none stays

Prisoner!

 

And as time goes on and on,

Our grandchildren will come

To honor and bless all our graves

And whisper our sacred names.

God of Hungarians,

We swear,

We swear that none stays

Prisoner!

 

PROPHECY

 

"You told me, mother, that  our dreams

Are drawn by a  sacred hand at night,

The dream is a window to the future

Where the eyes of our soul get a sight.

 

Mother, I was dreaming something,

Would you explain to me what it meant?

I had wings and I was flying

All over, without an end."

 

'My dear son, sunshine of my soul,

Happier I could not have been,

God almighty will give you long life, 

This is the joyful secret of your dream!' --

 

And the child grew, his young age 

Kept a flame lit  in his chest,

While the song, a soothing relief,

Gave his heaving heart a rest.

 

The youngster grabbed a lute

And put his sentiments  in a song

And on its wings,  his glowing feelings,

Like birds,  were flying all around.

 

The magic song flew to the sky,

Brought  the star of fame  down

And from its beams, around his head,

It weaved a shining crown.

 

But the fruit of the song is poison

And each flower the poet takes away

From his heart into his lute

Cuts  his life one precious day.

 

His feelings caught fire that turned into hell

And he became the prey of flames,

Hanging to a branch of the tree of life

On  earth that's how he remains.

 

He lies on his death-bed,

Child of  much torment

And hears the faltering voice

Of his heart-broken parent:

 

'Death, don't take him from my arms;

Don't let my dear boy die,

Heaven promised him a long life...

Or our dreams only lie?...'

 

"My dear mother, dreams are not lying,

Although a  winding-sheet is my cover,

The glorious name of your poet son

Will survive forever and ever!"

 

AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER

 

In the valley the flowers are still blooming,

The poplars are still green by the windows,

But do you see  Winter is already looming?

There is snow on the peak  where the wind blows.

My young heart is freshly filled with Summer blossom,

While Spring is also in full bloom in there,

But my dark hair is greying into Autumn

And begins to show the hoarfrost of Winter.

The flowers wither, time runs so fast...

Come my beloved wife, sit on my side,

Come and put your head on my chest,

As  you will on my mound in the graveyard.

If I die  too soon one day, oh, tell me,

Will you cry and spread a shroud on me in tears?

Will a new lover make you forget me,

And convince you to abandon my name with ease?

 

When you throw away the veil of the widow,

Place it on my wooden cross as a dark banner,

I'll emerge from the sepulchral world below,

Take it down with me  and keep it forever,

To dry up the tears I shed from my sobs

For you who so easily forgot,

And to bandage my wounded heart that still throbs

And loves you even there, no matter what!

 

THE SEA IS RISING UP

 

The sea is rising up,

The sea of people:

The waves high as a tower

Threaten the earth  with power

Of its upheaval.

 

Do  you see this dance?

Do you  hear this tune?

This is how people revel

While they rise and rebel,

You will learn it soon.

 

The sea shakes and roars,

The ships are tossed around,

Masts broke and fell,

Sinking down to hell,

All  the sails torn down.

 

Torrent, unleash your rage,

Release all your fume,

Show your vast deluge,

How fierce it is and huge,

Hurl to the sky  your spume;

 

Use it as a lesson

To the basic rules:

Though on top is the boatman,

and  down below  the water,

Still, the water rules!

  

MOTTLED LIFE

 

I served Mr. Mars at one time

And Miss Thalia another time.

At one of them I got fired,

Of the other I got tired.

 

I walked on foot, like a pooch,

Or fared, like nobles, on a coach.

I cleaned others' riding boot

And they did mine just as good.

 

I  was thirsty, hungry often,

Waited for dry bread  to soften,

Other times I had a feast,

Like a king, to say the least.

 

I slept on the  rough, dry ground,

Where no comfort could be found,

And rested in fancy bed

With soft pillow under my head.

 

I bowed humbly to the aid

Of the county magistrate,

And dignitaries tipped their hat

To me, anywhere we met.

 

For chambermaids it meant the end

To walk with me hand in hand,

Then fine ladies fell into trance

Just  thinking that they caught my glance.

 

I had all the finest clothes,

Some patched up to cover holes,

First a green patch, then blue, yellow,

That's my mottled life, dear fellow!

 

MY MOTHER'S HEN
         
Hey, what the heck, mother hen,
You live in our room, since when?
You have it good from the Lord,
I must say that you are spoiled!
Run around or take a rest,
You even fly on the chest.
When you feel like, you just cackle
'Cause you're sure you win the battle.
You know you are welcome indoor,
You're fed like a dove, even more,
You  sure get the best of grains,
You live like a queen who reigns.
I hope you appreciate,
Dear mother hen, your good fate
And you always do your best
To give my mother lots of eggs.--
Listen, our good dog, Morsel,
Be sure that you hear me well,
You  are our old domestic,
You served us with every old trick,
So keep behaving as it's due,
Chicken meat is not for you.
Mother hen is your good friend,
Keep it this way 'till the end.

I TURNED INTO THE KITCHEN

I turned into the kitchen with my  pipe,
Because I wanted to put it on light...
That is, I would have liked to do it,
If my pipe would not have been lit!
But my pipe was nicely burning,
That's not why I planned to turn in,
I went 'cause something I noticed
By no means I wanted to miss!
What I saw was a pretty girl
Bustling about in a flickering skirt,
She made fire in the oven,
Her eyes had more fire in them!
We looked into each other' eyes,
Until I became mesmerized,
All the fire in my pipe has died
And started a flame in my heart.

  

I  DREAMED SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL


I dreamed something beautiful,
I dreamed and woke up suddenly.
Why did you wake me up so soon?
Why did you have to bother me?
Happiness in my life is not real,
At least in my dream it  does appear.
Why did you have to disturb?
Oh my dear God, oh my dear God,
Why am I not allowed
To dream of pleasure in this world?
You told me that you don't love me
But I could not believe it.
Don't tell me again, don't tell me.
Without saying I know you mean it.
And when I am aware that my face
In your heart has no more place:
Stay or leave? You want me close,
Perhaps only to please your eyes
Watching how I agonize
From the torment that you cause.
Oh, girl, you are so cruel,
Just let me get away.
We have to part forever
And  go on our own way.
I would fly from you like dust
When there is wind, fly it must
To places  man can never see
But I cannot move this boulder,
My sadness,  that is on my shoulder
And weighs on me so heavily.
Poor me, I say goodbye to you,
Awful words I have to say.
Why don't  they die on my lips
As they come out, right away?
I cannot just yet say goodbye,
Let me hold your hand for a while,
Your hand that destroyed my happiness
And tore my future apart,
Forever breaking my heart,
To cover it with tears and kisses.
My tears or my kisses, which is
Burning your hand more intensely?
Both tears and kisses can become hot
And burn your hand immensely,
Because they both came to life
Together with my fervent love
In my burning heart, to ascend
From this glowing, hot volcano,
Like pious pilgrims who well know
That they will die on your hand.
There is only one thing I ask,
Don't fear, it is not that you love me,
Only a little solace that
You will keep me in your memory.
How long will I stay in there?
How long will you remember?
If only until you can find
Someone whose heart throbs for you
And loves you as much as I do,
Then I'll stay forever in your mind!
But I do not wish that you
Should not find somebody true
Like me. If I would have that wish,
I would not  really love you.
I want you to live happily,
Pick some  leaves from any tree,
Pick those with a fresh fragrance,
Weave together young green leaves,
Then, when old,  toss out the  dry wreath
That once was my remembrance.

 

THE MOONLIGHT IS BATHING IN THE SEA OF THE SKY


The moonlight is bathing in the sea of the sky
The brigand is musing in the forest, with a sigh,
The night spread  thick dew all over the grass,
But there are more tears in the bandit's eyes.
Leaning on the shaft of his axe he'd ponder:
"Why did I do all those mean things,  I wonder.
My dear mother, you always wanted me good,
Why did I not listen to you when I could?
I became a vagabond and left my home
I have joined robbers with whom I roam.
I am still among them, I am still the same,
A menace to travelers, to my utter shame.
I would go home gladly and leave them behind
But it is too late, there is no home to find.
My dear mother has died and the house collapsed;
The gallows are standing -- I am the next!"

 

IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO FORBID A FLOWER


It is not possible to forbid a flower
To bloom in Spring when it has the power.
Love is the flower, the girl is the Spring,
It blooms in Spring, it is a given thing.
Babe, since I first saw you I couldn't love you more,
I became the lover of your beautiful soul.
Your beautiful soul that tenderly smiles
In the mirror of your enchanting eyes.
There is a secret question in my heart:
Do you love me or someone else,  sweetheart?
These thoughts chase each other in my brain,
Like clouds chase the sunbeam in the Autumn rain.
Oh, if I knew that your  lovely rosy cheeks
Bathing in milk, wait for someone else's kiss,
In this big world I would become an exile,
Or  rather desperately choose to die.
Star of my happiness, shed on me some light
So that my life should not be a sad night,
Love me, pearl of my heart, I don't ask for more,
And I ask god to give his blessings to your soul. 


IN THE SOUVENIR BOOK OF A BOOKSELLER


Life is a bliss but first of all
You must work hard for this goal.
Free of charge you won't get it
You must struggle quite a bit.
Never lose sight of honesty
For anger or a modest fee.
Truly love your fellow men
Keep the bridge open for them.
Your dear  homeland you should guard
In a pure spot of your heart
And sustain your love of god
Once my poems sold a lot.

TO MY BROTHER  STEVEN


Well, how is everything at home, my Stevie?
Do you ever happen to think about me?
Do you ever say after your supper
And have a lighthearted chat together,
Do you ever say during the evening:
I wonder how our Sándor is feeling?
Otherwise tell me how is your life.
I know your workdays are full of strife,
You are all struggling for your basic needs,
Just to be able to make ends meet.
Our poor father, he is so credulous,
He lost all his savings  to fraudulence,
He thought everyone was  honest like him
This is how he became their helpless victim
And lost the fruits of his strenuous work
What others enjoy now, undeserved.
Why am I not a bit favored by god
So that I could help my father somewhat?
How happy I would be if I had the means
I would relieve his burden by all means.
This is what makes my life so bitter,
Since I cannot make his older years easier.
Show him that you are his loving son
And make his life for him  less troublesome.
Do everything what your strength permits,
Help him whatever way you see fit.
Help him the best way you can do,
You will see, god will help you too.
And our  mother, this wonderful, sweet mother,
Love, respect and adore her, Stevie, my dear brother!
What our mother means to us, words cannot tell,
But  without words we still know it very well.
Her loss would show us and break our heart
If heaven would call her and she would depart.
Well, be content with these few words, brother.
I wanted to write a more cheerful letter.
This sombre, gloomy, desperate voice
Was not really my original choice.
If I would attempt to continue in this vein
My heart would break from the ensuing pain.
My next letter will be more cheerful and less brief,
I wish that god bless you, my dear brother, Steve.

 

WINTER WORLD


Somebody killed himself  tonight
That is why the stormy wind blows
And  the plate is dancing madly
Above the barber shop windows.
Where is happiness nowadays?
In a cozy, warm, friendly place.
The day-labourer and his wife
Work on logs, chopping and sawing,
Their child wrapped in a fleecy swaddle clothe
Has a shrilling game with the wind.
Where is happiness nowadays?
In a cozy, warm, friendly place.
The soldier on his beat of sentry
Takes long strides up  and down
While counting every one of his steps:
It does not seem to be much fun.
Where is happiness nowadays?
In a cozy, warm, friendly place.
The long-legged wandering tinker,
His shabby cape he can hardly hold,
His nose is like a ripe red pepper,
His eyes full of tears from the cold.
Where is happiness nowadays?
In a cozy, warm, friendly place.
The itinerant actor is strolling
From one village to another;
He has no warm garment at all,
Nevertheless he is starving, no bother.
Where is happiness nowadays?
In a cozy, warm, friendly place.
And the gypsy?...his teeth chatter
Under the ragged tent,
The wind knocks, then  bursts in
Without the gypsy's intent.
Where is happiness nowadays?
In a cozy, warm, friendly place.
Somebody killed himself tonight,
That is  why the stormy wind blows
And  the plate is dancing madly
Above the barber shop windows.
Where is happiness nowadays?
In a cozy, warm, friendly place.

  

TO THE PARLIAMENT 

                  
You speak much and you speak nice
But for our land it's not enough  sustenance.
You have problems with your proceeding
Because you don't start things at the beginning.
This has been your ongoing story
If you look through your  past history.
Can you imagine if any people
Would start to build a church  with the steeple?
And keep pushing it up in the air
Hoping that it would stay up there,
Then the wall under it would be the next station,
Finally at the bottom lay down the foundation.
What a craftsmanship, you don't know any better,
This is why the country  gives you bread and butter,
This  is why it pays you with its heart  and blood!
You would do much better if you  would  not
Do anything, you just waste energy and time,
Perhaps you show a tiny success some time,
The same way as if I would suffer from thirst
They gave me not water but food which is worse.
So, by kindly pretending to help me
Instead they make me feel even more thirsty.
If this is success and called good deed:
I left my brain in the cradle indeed.
But it is useless to have the talk adorned,
If you don't take the bull by the horns
And commence everything right at the start
With  freedom of the press what people demand.
Freedom of the press is what we  should get,
Freedom of the press, we  cannot do without that.
For the nation these words weigh a lot,
Like the word "become" was for god.
This was what he used with all his force
When he created the universe.
A nation without this, even if opulent
By extorting gold from servant and peasant,
That nation has nothing that makes it better,
That nation can be called only a beggar,
But a nation that has it, though its people  smitten
With misery, in rags, poverty stricken,
That country's wealth  is  nevertheless immense
Because it has a future for inheritance.
We wish to advance, but can we really?
My god, we are so terribly silly!
Our feet move freely but our eyes are shut,
We would fly in the sky but  got stuck in the mud.
The spirit is chained and chokes in putrid air
Which is already rotting in its own despair.
The spirit is in chains like the wretched dog
Is chained behind the house, bound into a knot,
And while chewing the chain,  its teeth have broken,
The teeth it should use to defend the homeland.
The spirit is in prison and we stick our neck out
And claim ourselves a free land -- a mockery no doubt!
We are servants, worse than slaves, what a shame,
The world is looking at us  with utter disdain!

  

I LOVE YOU MY DARLING


I love you my darling,
I love your  slim  body,
Your ivory forehead,
Your hair like ebony,
Your sparkling dark eyes
And your rosy cheeks,
Your tender, soft hands
And your sweet, full lips.
I love your soul
That can fly so high
And the mountain-lake depth
Of your warm heart.
I love you when you're smiling
Because you are glad,
Or with tears in your eyes 
Because you are sad.
I love your virtues
Shining so bright
And also your faults
That are never in sight.
I love you my darling,
I love you truly
As much as one can love,
Deeply, strongly, fully.
You are everything,
There's no life without you,
You enmesh all my thoughts
Steadfast, through and through.
You are all my feelings
Awake or asleep,
You are always present
In my every heart beat.
I would relinquish 
All the glory for you
And, if you  wanted,
Regain it all anew.
I have no wish
And no will either
Because  what you want
Is also my desire.
No sacrifice is too small
Of any measure
If it would give you 
Even a small pleasure.
If you would lose something
Small but it would cause pain
It would hurt me  as well,
I would feel the same.
I love you my darling,
I love you even more,
I love you  like no one
Has  loved you before.
I love you my darling
So that it could kill me.
I am all in one
Who can love you dearly:
Husband. son and father
Or your older brother,
I am all those  and, 
Most of all,  your lover.
At the same time
You are also my life,
Mother, daughter, sister,
Lover and my wife!
I love you with my heart,
I love you with my soul,
I love you with dreamy,
Crazy love and more!...
And if one deserves
A praise or a prize
For all what I said,
Those of any size,
The praise and the prize
Whatever may be,
You deserve it all,
You alone -- not me.
You deserve it all
Because the love I feel

I learned from you.

You made it all real!

 

POETS OF THE 19TH CENTURY

 

Nobody should start thoughtlessly

Strumming the strings at a whim

When getting hold of a lyre

For it will place a great burden on him.

If the only thing you can do is

To sing your own joy and pain,

The world does not need you at all,

Your efforts are totally in vain.

 

We are wandering in a desert,

Moses and his people did the same

And followed what god sent him

To lead them: A pillar of flame.

Nowadays god wants us poets

To be this blazing pillar and

Lead all peoples to that place

Known as the Promised Land.

 

Forward, on with it, all you poets,

Lead them through water and fire,

Curse upon those not willing

To hold the banner ever higher!

Curse upon those who are coward,

Or just too lazy to go with the rest

And while those sweat, fight and struggle,

They lie in the shade taking a rest!

 

There are many phony poets who

Forever viciously preach

That we can stop now because

The Promised Land is reached.

This is a lie, a dirty lie

That millions can negate,

Those who suffer from thirst and hunger

Living in a wretched state.

 

When from the basket of plenty

Everyone will have an equal share,

When at the table of human rights

Everybody will have a chair,

When in every house the free spirit

Is allowed to be a friend,

Then we will be able to say, halt,

We are in the Promised Land.

 

And until then?  We cannot be quiet,

Until then the fight must go on.

Perhaps we shall not get from life

Payment for what we have done,

But death will come with a gentle kiss

To close our eyes and make it worth,

Then we’ll descend on a rope of flowers

And silk cushion into the earth.
         

IF YOU ARE A MAN, BE A MAN


If you are a man, be a man
Not a  puppet, worthless, weak
That destiny can toss around
For the pleasure it may seek.
Fate is a coward bitch that yelps,
Runs away from the brave
Who is willing to face it,
So don't capitulate!
If you are a man, be a man,
Mere words alone are useless.
Action speaks far better
Than any Demosthenes.
Build or destroy like a storm
And be silent when you are done,
Like the storm when it is finished
Quietly dies down.
If you are a man, be a man,
Have principles and faith,
Adhere to them steadfast
For whatever it takes.
Rather give up your life
A hundred times more
Than deny yourself
And lose your honor.
If you are a man, be a man,
Guard your independence,
Don't ever sell it for
All the world's  abundance.
Despise those who for a fat meal
Are willing to sell themselves.
Your slogan should always be:
"Beggar-staff and independence!"
If you are a man, be a man,
Be strong, be brave, be firm,
This way you can be certain
Neither man nor fate can do you harm.
Be an oak that, by a storm,
Might sometimes be felled
But its awesome solid trunk
The wind could never bend.

  

AUTUMN IS HERE AGAIN

 

Autumn is here again,

So pleasing to the eye,

I like it so much,

Although I don't know why.

 

I sit on top of the hill

And look around from there,

Listening to the leaves

Falling everywhere.

 

The gentle sun is shining

Down on earth with a smile,

Like a caring mother watching

Her dear sleeping child.

 

Indeed, in autumn the earth

Only sleeps, it goes still;

One can see it in its eyes,

Just sleepy, not ill.

 

It took off its fancy clothes,

It quietly undressed

To dress up again in the morn,

So spring will be impressed.

 

Sleep beautiful nature,

Sleep until daybreak,

Have a pleasant dream

To enjoy when you awake.

 

My fingers are quietly plucking

The strings of my lyre

And start playing my wistful song,

As your lullaby.

 

Come my love, sit next to me

Listen silently until my song

Like the whispering wind

Glides over the pond.

 

When you kiss me and your lips

Touch me, watch out, be tender,

Don't wake up kind nature

From her dream-filled slumber.

 

FAREWELL TO CELIBACY

 

I leave you now, my oldest friend

Celibacy, I must say farewell.

You were my comrade for twenty-five years,

I can’t go without goodbye, I know it well.

 

Don’t be mad at me, who, even though your

Follower, will leave you suddenly,

I shared my adolescence with you,

I want my manhood only for me.

 

I loved you, perhaps like nobody else,

When you warned me, I obeyed.

I went wherever the banner of

Romantic adventures you swayed.

 

You took me far away to many places;

I got tired, now I need a rest.

My bed will be my lover’s two arms

And my white pillow will be her two soft breasts.

 

My young pals are smiling,

A sneer going from lip to lip

And they pass me by showing pity…

Sour grapes, I say, isn’t it?

 

Indeed I am very deplorable,

Really worthy of all the compassion,

Because I cannot roam night after night

Filthier than filthy taverns, with passion.

 

I am not allowed to love more than one,

The one who also loves only me.

Not like their fantastic lovers

Who loved many hundreds easily.

 

Farewell my friend, Celibacy!

You can be angry or you can laugh,

I am now turning my back on you

The pleasures you gave me were more than enough.

 

Get new followers with your colorful banner

Somewhere else,- me, you can forget.

All I need now is a white banner

And that will be my young wife’s bonnet.

 

ONE THOUGHT BOTHERS ME

 

One thought bothers me night and day,

To be in bed when I pass away,

To wither slowly like a flower

Devoured by a latent bug’s power,

To be spent like a candle stick

In an empty room, with a scorched wick.

God, don’t let me die like this,

It is a different death I wish.

Let me be a tree that’s struck down by lightening

Or torn from its roots in a storm, fighting,

Let me be a rock that by a thunder

Is tossed down from a peak crushing down under.

When all the nations of oppressed folks

Will stand up and throw off their yokes

With gleaming faces and flying banners

Holding the sacred slogan in red letters:

“World freedom!”

It is drummed

From west to east

To fight tyranny on the battlefields,

My body should be found,

On the battle ground.

That’s where I should bleed from my young heart.

That’s where my last happy sound should be heard.

Let it be muffled by the trumpets’ blare,

By the sound of steel and cannons’ flare.

My body below,

And the horse’s bellow.

Rushing over me to final victory,

Leaving behind my trampled down body, -

They will gather my scattered bones

When the day of the grand funeral dawns

Where, with a solemn funeral march

Under a black veil-covered arch,

The heroes are placed in a common tomb deep down,

Those who died for you, sacred world freedom!

 

MAN

 

Nothing in the world is more ridiculous

Than man, because he is so presumptuous.

Just as if he wanted to plow the sky

With his nose, he always keeps it so high.

You think that it is the world that is faulty?

Haughty man, after all what makes you so haughty?

 

What do you think is shorter than a blink?

Your life, my friend, is not even a wink.

It comes and runs away in an instant,

It keeps the pillow of your cradle in one hand

While the cover of your coffin its other hand is holding.

Haughty man, after all what makes you so haughty?

 

What can you accomplish in a fleeting glance?

Conquer nations and people perchance?

You know what those are who can be conquered?

Nothing but pitifully weak and coward.

Ruling them brings only shame, not glory.

Haughty man, after all what makes you so haughty?

 

And what is the big name and glory you found?

It dies with you as you descend into the ground,

Or, as a guard dog it goes to your grave

And for a few centuries it will keep it safe.

But from famine and thirst it will perish slowly.

Haughty man, after all what makes you so haughty?

 

Your glory, your name how long will stay?

The country where you belong will also decay,

The place where your people have lived since who knows when

Was once a sea and may become the same again.

The whole world may end up as a vast void only.

Haughty man, after all what makes you so haughty?

 

January 27, 2022