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20 THE MINNESOTA REVIEW MIKLOS RADNOTI Translated from the Hungarian by Emery George TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS I was an aggressive, ugly infant, twin-bearing little mother—your murderer. Did you deliver my brother stillborn, or did he live five minutes, I never knew, but there amid the blood and the cries they lifted me to the light like a triumphant, small wild beast who in a showdown had proved his worthbehind him two lay dead. Behind me two dead, before me the world; I grew from the same depth as a nest of gangsters did, and from the depths I grew such an orphan onto this spot, onto metallically-ringing, hard freedom's roofs, spacious, windswept. How deep my childhood, and how cool. Instead ofyour callingword, a serpent hissed my way on my playthings' young paths, come evening, and on my pillows I saw blood, and not that large, white flake of down which frightens small children. RADN0TI21 How deep my childhood was, and how tall youth is now! Were the two deaths worth it? I called out to the photograph shining there on my room's wall. You were twenty-eight back then, on the picture perhaps twenty-five, a solemn young woman, so serious, lost in thought. Back then you were twenty-eight, now I have turned the same; twenty-eight years you have been dead now, little mother! blood-drenched runaway. Little mother, blood-soaked victim, I have grown up to be a man. Strongly the sun beats down, it blinds me; wave to me with your fluttering hand, telling me it is right so, and that you know that I am not alive in vain. 1937 22 THE MINNESOTA REVIEW ELEGY Autumn now comes also to those parts where freedom's flags are falling, flickering blood runs on ember leaves, under it, frightened, the seed nesting, too tired to conceive! And should it do so: pile-driven gallows, resistant corpse-ghost, or else a fighter plane plows his warm bed, and naked it waits for the comingof frost. Cities and blades of grass are singed, here rises a wind of death run amok; blind, at noon, a winged mouse flies starting up between ashes and smoke. Land burning far away, give off your light! It is cold, gripping darkness swirls; chattering, drawn-out, under pale trees, flow yesterday's warmly caressing brooks. Solitude, guard me, lazy autumn, surround me, time engraves new shame on my heart; ruminating on old, splendid autumns, stubborn, I live, a steadfast winter root. The soul keeps on enduring more and more, taciturn, I walk among the dead, newborn terrors and beliefs my companions; by stars with wandering lights I am led. 1936 RADN0TI23 ON THE WAY HOME Mild slope and hissing snow bear us forward; on loaded trees the branches crack, Two snowrumped deer flee the noise beating the heaving quilt from the winter trees; snow starts falling on snow at every cranny, and Fanni looks at me, a bit frightened. Dusk falls, skis slide, their swinging leaving good tracks on the path, and soft dark settles on the landscape's hard face, and slowly the sleepy woods surround us. Daylight wanes, its path glints, up there the moon, a lazy stain, looks, turgid, through the trees; the woods thin out, black turns blacker, and white makes violet, the softer shade. Now a fairytale Sunday vanishes; a weeping study, the city: mud-sliding roads, one caving in; slats go up on shoulders; take a look: Monday, that muddy presence, already sticks to us. 19January 1935 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 20-23
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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