János Pilinszky (1921-1981) was an Hungarian poet who served in the Hungarian army in the Second World War. His work has been translated by Ted Hughes and János Csokits. Warning: I read a very dark and graphic poem:
I keep on seeing them: a shaft
rears and the moon is full –
there are men harnessed to the shaft.
It’s a huge cart they pull.
They are dragging a massive wagon,
which grows as the night does,
their bodies split between the claims
of hunger, trembling, dust.
They bear the road, the horizon,
the beet fields shivering,
but only feel the burdening land,
the weight of everything.
Their neighbors’ fallen flesh
seems stuck into their own,
as in each others’ tracks they sway,
to living layers grown.
Villages keep clear of them
and gates avoid their feet.
The distances approaching them
falter and retreat.
Staggering, they wade knee-deep
in the dark, muffled sound
of clattering clogs, as if unseen
leaves carpeted the ground.
Silence accepts their frames. Each face
is dipped in height, as if
straining for the scent of troughs
in the sky far off.
And like a cattle-yard prepared
for the herded beasts outside
its gates flung open violently
death, for them, gapes wide.
This translation from the Hungarian by Clive Wilmer and George Gömöri is clean enough for me. What can we say about a wagon full of dead bodies (their neighbor’s flesh) pulled by emaciated men through the darkness? I really don’t feel like a theoretical contextualization of this story. I want to hear it, feel it, let it be.
Reading: Harbach 1944 by János Pilinszky was originally published on Meandering home
Oh great people, great healthy people with bosoms abulge and necks like reeds
I want to like the fire of empathy that burns on your cheeks
I want to write in the wake of your perfect gait
I want to abide your teeth, carnivorous and straight
I want to bury my envy at your feet, live inside your vital needs
Listen, great health. My own afternoon is dying and I can’t wait
My pain is the shrapnel of faith, exploded behind my face.
Please, not everybody can right, or does it matter, the other’s gaze?
It matters after the pain, it has a second place.
Pain learns the deeper faith.
Oh great people, great healthy people was originally published on Meandering home
I want to protect the rain forest.
I want the rain forest to exist, so I can protect it.
The good and the bad face us in cinematographic reality.
I still want to protect the rain forest for love of the unknown.
For birds I will never see.
For their emerald eggs.
For all I know not what I am doing.
Every night, I dance with patches of darkness.
I imagine the song of the birds in the canopy.
I imagine the panoply of beings on the forest floor.
The rain forest is my idea. I know
it wants to protect me.
Protecting the Rain Forest was originally published on Meandering home
A belief is all we have
to hold on to, some warmth
weaning us for darker times
when we thicket each other’s softest spots,
make our fingers lost and blow
weightless snow in each other’s faces
when we make chocolate gestures,
blanket soft talk in some rearrangement
of tired starlight
A belief is all we have was originally published on Meandering home
I have the best morning routine. It’s an exceptional morning routine. It’s quick and new and ‘smart’. You do this morning routine, it will blow people out of the water. They’ll never see it coming! It’s the number one routine. The absolute best.
There is a healthy brain guru named Jim Kwik who is peddling his ‘amazing’ courses on the Internet for $399. I watched some of the man’s boastful videos, in which he explained the good old loci-method of memorization using healthy habits as an example. And it actualy worked. A week later, I still know what I had ‘put’ on my head, on my shoulders, in my ears, and so on. Great stuff.
And then there’s the a-ma-zing morning routine. Here it is in my own, compact, words:
- Remember your dreams (they can be really creative)
- Make your bed (organizing, getting-things-done mindset)
- Drink a glass of water (hydrate your brain)
- Exercise (when your body moves, your brain …)
- Take a cold shower (immune system boost)
- Brush your teeth with the opposite hand
- Drink energy tea
- Drink a smoothie
- * Don’t use your smartphone the first hour of the day.
Why do I remember this list? Such awesome, mysterious memory magic! It is just great! Amazing! Wow, I’m so excited. I can’t wait to try this myself. Yes and, Steve, don’t forget that if you call now you get a $29 discount! Really? Oh, that’s fantastic. I already loved it. I guess you can say that I’m hooked. Hooked! It is absolute great and you know what’s the best part? I have learned the wisdom of self-irony.
Full disclosure: Jim Kwik pays me $999 for sharing this with you. Just kidding.
Morning Routine was originally published on Meandering home
I ride a subway train,
There are empty seats;
I feel a cool breeze.
Two rhinoceroses walk by
I think: my wife and I.
I ride a subway train was originally published on Meandering home
The chubby boy points his toy gun at another boy
His great grandfather fought in the war.
This is not a guess. I am sure.
His great grandmother was maybe a comfort lady to the invaders.
But his gun is only made of plastic. He will be forgotten.
I look at the boys.
I see an army of deserters, an anarchist army.
They charge at the playground castle
that is always taken and held at the same time.
The Playground was originally published on Meandering home