Weöres Sándor: The seventh symphony (Hetedik szimfónia in English)
Hetedik szimfónia (Hungarian)
Csíkos lepelből a láb kiáll,
Burkolt lábszárak alszanak,
Üdv néked, elszáradt anyaméh!
Üdv néktek, imába-zárt kezek,
Üdv néked, hétfájdalmu szív!
Keskeny nyak, elbillent fej, tapadt haj,
Híjja, híjja, híjja
A végtelen, világos némaságot
Fényen át, lángon át
Édesanyánk, ifju aránk,
Magasztalom őt, aki méhemben fogant
Az itélet nem enyém; a mérleg, a bárd
Fénytelen mélybe lenn,
Lenn telő rózsatő,
Csillag-pályák asszonya, Mária,
Aki hallottad ezt a dalt,
The seventh symphony (English)
The assumption of Mary
(To my mother’s memory)
Shadow, stone, linen, lime, the
pillow under the skull’s vault,
iron padlock, swaddling clothes,
the knocking sundering clod,
do not see ascend the dark of the body
over the final flame, the world pried open
by the smouldering chaplet of sweat.
Foot protrudes from the brindled shroud,
its clotted veins coated with wax,
a violet beam on the nail.
Shins ensheathed are sleeping,
the tendon straight, the knee relaxed;
olive trees line the path.
Hail to you, shrivelled womb!
An armored insect in the wall’s fissure
scratches the lip of the blind abyss,
flowers its ensigns, its arms.
Hail to you, prayer-locked hands,
plunging arches of a shrine,
two rows of casketed tapers,
ten swans’ wings immersed in dew,
enfolded night-blooming flowers.
Hail to you, seven-pained heart!
The scream, from the start its neck weighted with stone,
falls down a bottomless well, fails of its journey.
Narrow neck, tilted head, sticky hair,
lead-coin of the final ransom on the pale face,
around the mouthhole and sunken eyes
the senses’ cooled-off scatter of wrinkles,
twig-knots of trampled-down acanthus,
spoors of galloped-off steeds.
Two new moons in
the sky culminate,
glowing coals race
up, wings hover on
flock of lambs,
face of gold,
leans on an elbow,
Wailing, wailing, wailing
for her own at the edge of dark!
We saw her with her child in starlight;
we were grazing our plump sheep,
with the coming of spring we sheared the fleece,
when winter came we flayed the hide;
slowly, cloud-like, we drifted
on the mirror of water filled with fleecy hills,
who we were,
our thin shoes,
painted our brows.
We’re shepherds, also sheep.
Now for the shearing,
now for the skinning,
strew it in her path.
Wailing, wailing, wailing
for her own at the edge of dark.
The drone of oars infuses
the infinite clear stillness,
the curly breath-hue, faintly purplish,
churns in the glistening white,
a maelstrom of mast, a whirlpool of sails
ferry of flame, bridge of haze, golden ark,
fever’s nether side on a diamond mirror,
circles, in the distance ripples,
the rush and scurry of small ones,
on the rainbow a smiling tear,
veiny swish of milk-foliage,
the woman’s festival alive in the world…
(But we always cried.
We were starving.
What else could we do?
We always cried.)
…her skiff sparkling in the rush of spume,
on the lusterless yellow sickle of heaven,
on the giant azure scales of the eye,
on the red wheel of the war-car,
on the crest of the green monster,
on the black mouthhold of cold,
and at night she turns down your white bed,
through every inferno she follows you,
though the nest be razed she summons you back…
with our roots upwards,
earth cast us out.
Nobody stoops for us.)
… she kneels within you, my dear, and you become her,
forsaking your chaplet whence
color comes to the rose and light to the eye,
and you feel her as you cover your chalice
with the vagrant foggy shapes of the chasm
and the numbered centuries of years
with frenzied omens on their foreheads,
impassioned, drank from…
(Flowers crawling with worms,
who wants the tattered petal
while the spring dawn rains down?)
… from the crusty dark ascending
the distending moon’s shimmers,
aroma that under the rind
gathers to flame in secret veins,
under the heart a regal star-crowned dream
in the shade of a warm bower,
falling clusters of grapes, red wine,
the flame of the mother ablaze in the world…
(Whom have I killed? Myself.
Whom does it pain? Me.
Leave me alone in her lap.)
…the lovely hands close-clasped in prayer,
clinging columns of kindness,
a hazy roof-row of fingers,
ten mother-wings of live silence,
naked fingers in a sea of petals,
the tenfold soundless ringing
gleams, dispensing its brightness,
its light, beamlessly, pathless as a kiss…
(The salt of sweat in our bread.
The taste of death in our meat.
Around us the coffin-wall.)
… she who stood under the cross
unbroken by misery, stares
with a child’s scared blue eyes
at the frothing world on the cross,
sobs at the sill of hell;
in festering dens the dead
wrapped in closely watched night
wink at the wounding light…
(Take from our hearts the dripping poison,
take from our hearts the black maggot,
take the ember from our hearts,
take from our hearts the dark.)
… the gleam of the pure blue eyes
pierces through all the circuits
mirrored in the curving hoop of space
and the hundred-tunneled race of time;
like a sweet drop on the nodding sedge,
a sparkling bead of mutability,
it is always replenished, always rolls off,
the peace of the Virgin flows over the world…
(We shiver, draw close our cloaks,
have mercy on us, Blessed Virgin,
pray for us, have
mercy on us.)
Over the spring
down spins off
from fanning wings;
light snow falls;
young wine makes
in big basins;
on a thousand balconies
a thousand armies;
the shackled rage of
the earth is still,
with the clamor of wings:
Through flame, through light
wings the dark earth’s virgin,
never are shadow and night
more violently flung open,
valley and peak, by the looking-dance,
assault-waves of mazes of flowers
setting the greyness ablaze.
Vein of rose, blood of dove,
brimming chalice of wine,
where the mountain-shadow plunges
faith harvested the vines;
blood-pearls of chamois in snow
calls the hunter, where he climbs
the trail is narrow, the space wide.
Dear mother, bashful bride,
our blushing tender maid,
our wings billow toward you,
their thick combs quake like the sea;
are you flying toward us, do you see us?
we are rugs laid in your path,
dear mother, be our spring.
I glorify him I conceived in my womb
who raised to the sky my sickle of moon
and set on my forahead a string of stars
who made my cloak to be borne on the milky path
who made my veil to be blown by the storm of sweetness
who made my triumphant car to be flown by the living fires
who peoples with armies my victorious progress
who raises around me towers of endless song,
as it pleases him; and it cannot be explained
by the fiery armies, the misty generations
turning under the furrows where I walk.
My father from the beginning, I brought him forth
who towers, three-headed pillar,
with his triple forehead’s glory
over the far-flung void, above
the glistening crystal silence
surfacing from the wake of creations,
like a roof of lightning he covers me.
Queen of flowerbells,
assembled before you, welded around you,
bell-hearts beat in a thousand bodies,
a cupola of rays wavering,
a tower of haze quavering,
they peal for you, appeal to you:
when our bell-metal chips,
silence it out of your power.
It is not mine to judge; the scales, the sword
are someone else’s; I never learned to strike,
only to stroke; nor to starve, only to feed;
to be hurt, but not to hurt; nor to take, only to ask.
In the resonant silence, the anonymous silence,
larvae and wedding-gowns blossom alike on me,
the lion lies down with the lamb in my bosom.
The babe defiles me, no stain left,
he scratches my breast, a necklace of blood flows out,
the heaving sea has more and will not miss it.
The killer spatters me with blood, I wipe it off;
revile me, I do not turn away my face.
I am no stone wall returning caresses and blows
measure for measure;
I am no clay road returning steps and turnings
measure for measure;
I am no fountain of fire that exposes body and space
as they manifest before it;
I am only a nest that sheds what warmth there is.
You who see me shining forth in glory,
think for a moment: it does not come from me;
a tear is my only treasure; so with you;
my son’s wound my immeasurable possession
and the agony of this world my gateless garden.
The luxuriant tree of life lies in my lap,
and if, torn off, you fall down under it,
your powerful fist clutches my apron, you fell
your head’s log on my knee. Do not fear:
you are watched over by silence, tears, and me.
There where there is no light,
my heart is born among thorns,
down where the nightingale nests,
in the jungle of numberless moans;
new threats buffet the planets,
but the blest sleep on in peace,
nectar-drops on their lips.
Down there a rose-tree blooms,
dawn spreads out on the hill,
fingers—weak and strong—
proffer a feast; debris
of ashes litters the hearth,
but a purple flood in the depth
proclaims eternal dawn.
Fields of roses swaying
wisps of flame in the wind,
bewitched by her bright eyes;
she comes, turns slowly again,
a rose-sea of waving babes
clutches, clutches at her hem;
death and time stand still.
cooled-off ancestral coal
from tomb’s dark
hums to himself
the clod is quiet,
lips stuck together;
the sound of wings
Lady of orbits, Mary,
protect Mary my mother,
lest, torn from my sight,
sorrow befall her.
You who have heard this song,
a fragment only of the song
that wrung the world’s heart:
you who have heard this song:
wake up from your sluggish dragons.
Bruce Berlind and