Poems by Ákos Győrffy
(Translated by Clare Pollard)
A green god was running up
the path. This happened,
in childhood, thereabouts.
His body was moss, glitter
of rain. Fresh spring moss, all
the valley a rain-smell for days.
I saw him turn and for a moment
look in my eyes. Right then
forest sprouted in me, his eyes
began it, instantly, his gaze
grew fear in me, the fear
in stone and heart and god:
divine fear. He ran up, I watched
a god running. A god afraid.
Not that I know about evil.
No, I don’t know evil: oak-leaves stuck
to flesh, strings looping hind-legs hung
from the hovel’s mouldy rafters.
Dog, rabbit, fox: I don’t know as they cut
off the head. Rain, no, thin drizzle starts
in this maimed forest, as the fear starts,
for the road impassable – forestry trucks
churned it up; the heavy wheels of machines.
We’re ankle-deep in mud, with no roads;
an inverted cross on he hut’s door.
The woodpecker stabs the oak. The cross is
clumsily daubed. The woodpecker
changes tree, still stabs,
and cold hasn’t stopped the body’s stench.
Why must I look at this headless beast?
Was there pain? Did they peel it alive?
There’s a bird I don’t know. Its cry
is the only voice in this forest. No roads
and nowhere to go, as the blank dusk starts
as it moves, as the skinned body swings,
though I swear that the air doesn’t move.
Let stillness bloom in me,
let it overflow, as fog fills
the ferry’s cabin. Driftwood dashes
on the mooring rope. I come to you.
Crossing does not start
or end; tears us in two.
Muscles tremble with each pulse
of these waves; a seagull
preens on the fog-light’s mast.
Ákos Győrffy was born in 1976 in Vác, now lives in Börzsönyliget. He works as a social worker at a homeless shelter in Budapest. He published six volumes so far; poems and essays. He has won Artisjus, Miklós Mészöly and Attila József awards.