This is one of my favourite poems by one of my favourite Hungarian poets and as I’ve been invited to a poem challenge on Facebook I thought I’d share one here as well.
The poet is Miklós Radnóti.
A HESITANT ODE
How long I have prepared, dear, to describe to you
the secret constellation of my love,
perhaps its substance only, just in a single image.
Your teeming sense within me floods like life itself
and sometimes it is timeless, certain and secure:
eternal like a fossil shell within a rock.
The silken, feline moonlit night above my head
begins the hunt for buzzing tiny dreams in flight.
And still I have not managed to describe to you
how much it means to me to sense your caring gaze
as it hesitates upon my hand when I’m at work.
No similes will do. I scrap them as they come.
I will begin this whole attempt again tomorrow
because I am worth only as much as the words
within this poem, and my search will keep me going
until I am reduced to bones and tufts of hair.
You’re tired. It’s been a long day for me also.
What can I say? The objects, look! exchange their glances
in praise of you; a broken cube of sugar sings
on the table; and a drop of honey falls and, like
a ball of gold, it glitters on the tablecloth;
and spontaneously now, an empty tumbler rings out:
it’s glad it lives with you. Perhaps I’ll have the time
to tell you what it’s like when it expects you home.
Descending darkly, flocks of dreams approach you lightly,
they flit away yet keep returning to your brow.
Your drowsy eyes still send a last farewell towards me.
Your loosened hair cascades in freedom. You’re asleep.
The lengthy shadow of your eyelids softly flutters.
Your hand, a resting birch twig, falls upon my pillow.
I share your sleep: you’re not a different world;
and even here I sense as a multitude of secret
and thin, sage lines relax in the tranquil palm of your hand.