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