József Attila: Welcome for Thomas Mann (Thomas Mann üdvözlése in English)
Thomas Mann üdvözlése (Hungarian)
Mint gyermek, aki már pihenni vágyik
Welcome for Thomas Mann (English)
just as a tired child when put to bed
and tucked in snug, a stubborn sleepy-head,
still begs `Don't go away, tell me a story'
(lest night should fall on him in sudden fury),
and while his little heart, congested, pants,
and even he knows not just which he wants,
the story, or your stay; may we prevail
on you to sit with us and tell a tale.
Tell us the old story, we won't forget,
how you've been with us always, will be yet,
how we are with you, an imparted whole,
whose cares are worthy of a human soul.
You know it well, the poet never lies;
tell the full truth, not only that which is,
tell of that light which flames up in our brain:
when we're apart, in darkness we remain.
As Hans Castorp through Madame Chauchat's flesh,
let us tonight see through ourselves afresh,
your words, like pillows, muffle out the din -
tell us the joy of beauty, and the pain,
lifting our hearts from mourning to desire.
We've laid poor Kosztolányi in the mire,
and on mankind, as cancer did on him,
horrible monster-states gnaw limb by limb,
and we, aghast, ask what's the next disease,
whence fall new wolfish ideologies,
what newer poison boils within our blood -
how long, and where, you can still read aloud?...
So. When you speak, we must not lose our flame,
we men should still be men in more than name,
and women still be women - lovely, free -
because true humans daily cease to be...
Sit down. Start our favourite story - please.
We'll listen; happy he who only sees
your face among our race of evil will,
to know there's one true European still.