Cover of Ady Endre’s collection of poems “A magunk szerelme” (Our Own Love), illustrated by Lesznai Anna, Budapest, Nyugat, 1913
The yellow is the finest. Reams and reams
of letters could I write in yellow ink
to her, the little schoolgirl of my dreams.
I’d scrawl something that looks like Japanese,
then try a bird, most intricately scrolled.
And I want other colours, many more,
like bronze and silver, emerald and gold,
and then I want a hundred more, a thousand,
or rather, I will have a million:
dumb-charcoal, funny-lilac, drunken-ruby,
enamoured, chaste or brash vermilion.
I ought to have some mournful violet,
a palish blue, a brick-red-like maroon,
like shadows seeping through a stained glass window
against a black vault, in August, at noon.
In reds I want a blazing, burning one,
and blood-red, like the blood-stained setting sun
and then I’d go on writing: with a blue
to my young sister, mother will get gold,
I’d write a prayer in gold ink to my mother,
a golden dawn with golden words re-told.
I’d go on writing, in an ancient tower.
My colour set, so fine and exquisite,
would make me happy, oh my God, so happy.
I want to colour in my life with it.
(transl. by Zollman, Peter)
Struck by the sight I waited
I cried and cried again in my delight:
“They have a ball in heaven, every night!”
There shone in that enchanted radiance
an ancient secret I could clearly sense:
the stars go home at dawn, along immense
bright boulevards of skyborne continents.
till daybreak, motionless, inebriated.
And then I asked myself: where have you been,
to what disgraceful lowness have you slipped,
what was so dear to you, a strumpet’s mean
embrace, an all-important manuscript,
that seasons came and seasons passed unseen,
and you could never glean
the secrets of that great galactic scene?
Struck by the sight
Please read this poem: it is one of the most beautiful impressions in the universal history of poetry. An excellent English translation, by the way.
Pas les rafales à propos
De rien comme occuper la rue
Sujette au noir vol de chapeaux;
Mais une danseuse apparue
Tourbillon de mousseline ou
Fureur éparse en écumes
Que soulève par son genou
Celle même dont nous vécûmes
Pour tout, hormis lui, rebattu
Spirituelle, ivre, immobile
Foudroyer avec le tutu,
sans se faire autrement de bile
Sinon rieur que puisse l’air
De sa jupe éventer Whistler.