August 30, 2011

Yehuda Amichai

(born Ludwig Pfueffer, May 3, 1924 – September 22, 2000)
Inside the Apple

You visit me inside the apple.
Together we can hear the knife
parting around and around us, carefully,
so the peel won't tear.

You speak to me. I trust your voice
because it has lumps of hard pain in it
the way real honey
has lumps of wax from the honeycomb.

I touch your lips with my fingers:
that too is a prophetic gesture.
And your lips are red, the way a burnt field
is black.
It's all true.

You visit me inside the apple
and you'll stay with me inside the apple
until the knife finishes its work.



Meglátogatsz az alma belsejében.
Együtt halljuk a kést, ahogyan
körbe-körbe hámozgat, ügyelve, hogy a héj
el ne szakadjon.

Beszélsz hozzám, megnyugtató a hangod,
mert súlyos fájdalmak csomósodnak benne,
akár a valódi mézben a lép

Megérintem ujjammal ajkadat,
prófétai ujjmozdulat ez is.
És vöröslik ajkad, mint fölgyújtott fekete föld.
Minden igaz.

Meglátogatsz az alma belsejében.
És velem maradsz az alma belsejében,
míg a hámozó kés munkáját be nem végzi.

Kányádi Sándor fordítása


Try To Remember Some Details

Try to remember some details. Remember the clothing
of the one you love
so that on the day of disaster you'll be able to say: last seen
wearing such-and-such, brown jacket, white hat.
Try to remember some details. For they have no face
and their soul is hidden and their crying
is the same as their laughter,
and their silence and their shouting rise to one height
and their body temperature is between 98 and 104 degrees
and they have no life outside this narrow space
and they have no graven image, no likeness, no memory
and they have paper cups on the day of their rejoicing
and disposable paper plates.

Try to remember some details. For the world
is filled with people who were torn from their sleep
with no one to mend the tear,
and unlike wild beasts they live
each in his lonely hiding place and they die
together on battlefields
and in hospitals.
And the earth will swallow all of them,
good and evil together, like the followers of Korah,
all of them in their rebellion against death,
their mouths open till the last moment,
and blessing and cursing in a single
howl. Try, try
to remember some details.


Yehuda Amichai, The Art of Poetry No. 44, Interviewed by Lawrence Joseph (The Paris Review)

Kányádi Sándor: Csipkebokor az alkonyatban, Magyar Könyvklub, Budapest, 1999