Diary of the Plague Year: Day 81 4 June 2020: Quotidian Poetry: Miklós Radnóti (1909-1944)

SIMPLE SONG OF MY WIFE
 
As she comes in, cackles burst from the door,
The potted plants all stamp, shaking the floor,
A blond streak, small and drowsy, in her hair
Cheeps like a frightened sparrow in the straw.
 
Clumsily whirling towards her through the air,
The ageing light-flex too lets out a squawk:
Everything spins – to jot it down, no chance.
 
She has come back. She has been gone all day.
She bears an enormous poppy in her hands
To drive death, my adversary, away.
 
5 January 1940
 
FROM:
 
Miklós Radnóti
FORCED MARCH
 
Translated by George Gömöri and Clive Wilmer
 
Enitharmon Press

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 60 14 May 2020: Quotidian Poetry: George Szirtes (1948 -)

VISITATIONS
 
As one comes in another goes out. As one
shakes out a tablecloth another is eating
a hearty meal. As one sits down alone
another listens to his lover’s heart beating.
 
As one prays for deliverance, another
delivers a letter or an explosive device.
As one gathers the harvest, his brother
lies in the doorway. As one finds a nice
 
coincidence between numbers, his neighbour
sees his coins disappear down the waiting slot.
As one man examines the fruit of his labour
his shadow tells beads, counts peas into the pot
 
or stars in the sky and feels the night wind blowing
on his face with all this coming and going.
 
*
 
As one goes out, the other comes in. It is light
in the window where the angel bends
over the stove giving the virgin a fright.
It is bright at the top of the house where the road ends.
 
There’s a distinct touch of gold in the gutter
running with beer. There is translucence
in the chipped saucer with its rim of used butter.
There’s a glow on TV. There’s a faint sense
 
of the luminous numinous in the alarm clock
set for six in the morning and a kind of shine
in the mirror the angels have learned to unlock
and enter suddenly and an even harder to define
 
radiance in the skin, in the shock of dawn
with sheet turned down and bedroom curtains drawn.

GEORGE SZIRTES’ BLOG

http://georgeszirtes.blogspot.com/