Thomas Ország-Land/

Miklós Radnóti
WAR DIARY (1935-36)

Translated from the Hungarian
& edited by Thomas Ország-Land


3 Weary Afternoon

A slowly dying wasp flies through the window.
My woman dreaming... muttering in her sleep.
The clouds are turning brown. Along their edges
caressed by the breeze, white ripples teem.

What can I say?... The winter comes and war comes.
I shall fall broken, abandoned without any reason
and worm-ridden earth will fill my mouth and eye-pits
and through my corpse, fresh roots will sprout.

* * *

Oh, peaceful, swaying afternoon, lend me your calm!
I too must rest for a while, I will work later.
Your sunrays hang suspended from the shrubs
as the evening saunters across the hill.

The blood of a fine fat cloud has smeared the sky.
And beneath the burning leaves, the scented yellow
berries are ripening, swelling with wine.

4 Evening Approaches

The sun is descending down a slippery sky.
The evening is approaching early, sprawling
along the road. The watchful moon has missed it.
Pools of mist are falling.

The evening’s whirling sounds among the branches
grow louder. The hedges wake to turn and tilt
at weary travellers. These lines clasp one another
as they are slowly built.

And now!.. a squirrel invades my quiet room
and runs two brown iambic lines, a race
of terror between my window and the wall
and flees without a trace.

My fleeting peace has vanished with the squirrel.
Outside in the fields, the vermin silently spread,
digesting slowly the endless, regimented,
reclining rows of the dead.

Thomas Ország-Land © 2014