Hungarian Poetry Day 2018

April 11th is the National Poetry Day here in Hungary. Today we not only celebrate poetry and literature but the birthday of a brilliant 20th century Hungarian poet called József Attila. (Fun facts: both names are popular given male names in my country and we use family name first then the given name. I know, we are weird people. Plus we can’t name whatever we want our children, because there is a – rather – long list of approved names you can choose from.)

Anyway, on this day, social media is drowned by poems shared by people who otherwise don’t give a shit about poetry. Or literature for that matter. If I want to be honest, I was never into poetry myself. Sure, there were poems I liked and I spent most of my literature classes (English class for you, Hungarian for me) reading my textbook full of poems. Or writing my own stuff. Or eating my lunch. Completely ignoring my teacher.

Anyway, one of these weekends I’ve got reminded and old short story of mine and I went searching for it on my old blog I did with a friend. We shared our poems/lyrics and short stories – mostly with ourselves. It was fun. So I found the story I was looking for and for the first time in years, I faced my old poems. I forgot about most of them to be honest and for a good reason. They suck. The last one I wrote sometime in 2009 and never looked back. Even then I knew poetry is not my cup of tea, but it helped me pass the time. There were, however three which wasn’t an utter crap.

Later I realised that it might be a good idea to share them on this day, so I set my mind translating them. Well, that didn’t really worked out as I hoped it will. 2 of the 3 was a hopeless case from the start with 2 words lines and all… The third, well, I really wanted that one to work, because it used to be a favorite of mine. Someone once asked me to write lyrics to a song, and this was it. I still think it’s pretty good, altough it might need some polishing. I told someone about it while I prepared myself to translate and he asked if I could still do it? I said I have no idea, it’s been almost 10 years since I wrote anything resembling a poem. But of course, it bugged my mind.

The next morning, I woke up – exhausted and with a whirling mindset – and started to create lines. By the end of the day, I had a new poem, altough I like to think about it as lyrics. Without music. Altough I’m a music addict, sadly I don’t have skills making it. So, if someone feels up to it, I’d like to work on it to see what comes out of it. I had about 3 versions and rewrote it a few times but I finished it. Since then I’ve been changing my mind about every hour wether I should or should not publish it. I feel confident about it, but on the other hand… My first english written poem, and, again, in almost 10 years. Of course I’m scared to death to find out if people like it or not (extra info: I prefer honesty, so whatever your thoughts, share it with me, I might hate you for it for a while, but will consider your point of view eventually). Now I say the hell with it, I’ll post it here and see what happens. Most probably it will be my last ever written poem anyway and it deserves it’s 15 mins fame.

Without further ado, I present you:

Another Mystery

All I can hear is rain splattering on the pavement
A blue moon hanging over me, accusingly, waiting
God, how many years had I let go? All of it wasted
Is there a way? Can I still make it?

Living like a ghost, from one day to the next
My nights are haunted, sleeping restless at best
God, why do I torture myself? Full of regret
Am I a failure? Or have I gone crazy?

I look into the darkness
And it looks back at me
What have I become?
Another mystery

Oh great, I think finally I’ve hit the bottom now
Am I an idiot or what? Me, calling out to God…
Let’s move on, I even depress myself, really
I’ve had enough of feeling sorry

I can still hear the rain outside softly plit-plattering
I don’t really mind, the sound is soothing, maddening
I tap along, in my head there’s an endless melody
If I ask, will you sing it for me?

I look into the darkness
And it looks back at me
What have I become?
Another mystery
Just another mystery

by Timy

And since I was talking about József Attila, here comes a poem from the man himself (rest assured, I didn’t translate this one). Mama is one of the most known poems, every kid learns it at one point. And since Mother’s day is coming…


On Mama now my thoughts have dawdled
all of a week. Clothes-basket cradled
creaked on her hip; she’d climb the stairway
up to the drying-attic’s airway.

Then, for I was an honest fellow,
how I would shriek and stamp and bellow!
That swollen laundry needs no mother.
Take me, and leave it to another.

But still she drudged so quietly,
nor scolded me nor looked upon me,
and the hung clothes would glow and billow
high up above, with swoop and wallow.

It’s too late now to still my bother;
what a giant was my mother–
over the sky her grey hair flutters,
her bluing tints the heaven’s waters.

by József Attila

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