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The fourth eclogue (Thomas Ország-Land)


Had you just asked me before I was born…
I knew, I knew, I knew!
I screamed I did not want the world! It’s brutal!
its darkness pounds me with a thud, its light cuts me through!
Yet I’ve survived. My skull has hardened long ago.
And all that howling only made my lungs grow stronger.

The Voice:

The crimson waves of scarlet-fever
and measles tossed you ashore.
A lake once would have swallowed you – it spat you out.
Why do you fancy time has taken you in her arms?
Why do the heart, the liver and the lungs’ great wings,
this whole, mysterious, moist machine
thus serve you… why? perhaps that dreadful flower, cancer,
may not be blooming in your flesh.


I was born. I protested. Still, I’m here.
I have grown up. You ask: what for? I do not know.
I should have liked to be free always.
I’ve been escorted all my life by guards.

The Voice:

You have ascended to wind-worn radiant peaks,
one evening you beheld a kneeling, humble doe
among the shrivelled shrubs of the mountain side,
you’ve watched a tree-trunk’s resin drop in the sunlight
you’ve seen a naked girl emerge from the river
and once a great stag-beetle alighted on your palm…


Even these visions disappear in bondage.
I should have been a plant, a bird, a mountain…
or just a fleeting, consoling thought,
a boastful moment mimicking God. Oh, liberty,
help me at last to find my home!

Give me the peaks again, the wood, the shrubs, the woman,
the wings of the soul ablaze in the wind!
And to be born again to a new world
when the blinding rays of sunshine greet new dawns
arising through the golden vapours.

There’s silence still, I sense the breath of rising storm
and ripened fruits are swaying on the branches.
A butterfly is lightly tossed by breeze,
it balances. Death whispers in the orchard.

And now I understand: I, too, mature for death,
and the waves of time that bore me high will drop me;
I was a prisoner once; my solitude
grows slowly like the crescent of the moon.

I shall be free, the earth will unbind me
while above the earth, this ruined world is slowly
consumed by flames. The writing tablets are shattered.
Rise up, imagination, on your mighty wings!

The Voice:

The swaying fruit will ripen and must fall;
the deep earth steeped in memories will give you rest.
But for the present, let the smoke of your anger rise
and write upon the heavens if all else be broken!