Fonder and weaker, the longing heart
Grows like a gianting star, huge and
Enveloping as magnetic forces ground
To clouds of dust, pinpricks of awareness
And awe, shrill alarms like scattered prey.
But love is still and quiet and strong as blood,
Forgetting nothing, dammed and pooled for
Its release, one river into another and then
Into the waters of the Earth where I will
Always find you come hell or storm or none.


The Sooth of Sisyphus

A hundred thousand years of struggle,
Good against banal evil, every great
Achievement a monument immediately
Undermined by base and venal fools.

Now we, good and evil, edge ourselves
Closer to the abyss, entranced, chained
Cheek by jowl in pairs like animals
Entering an ark destined to drown.

This is the time to rage against the dying
Of the light, the extinction of us all,
Being dragged by the unfit, idiotic, hateful,
Hate-filled lovers of pelf into the dark.

An eclipse is coming, the end of the Age
Of Man, fools angrily shouting down
Sun and moon both, burning this world
Inside and out until it must be nothing

But a wasteland of ash and an ocean
Of bitter tears shed after the die was cast.
Turning and turning, the vortex will not
Waits to drag us down mile after mile.

With the One I Love

They say the light that burns twice as bright lasts half as long.
The light that cannot burn wants to find a way to flare like the sun
Or become a wisp of smoke somewhere out of any sight.
God protects none of our stolen fires, and his eternal enmity
Confronts me in my sleep like an electric whip striking out.
I want every drop to the last breath, but thirst and fear
Can only mean that today hinges on tomorrow, life runs backward,
And love is a memory of something lost before it was found.
Let me find a way between the hunter and the hunted,
A way to be in this world with its sweetness, and leave late


Suddenly the house is cold and empty,
Quiet as stone, and the mountain road
Strung out like a constellation of stars
Before us has disappeared in the earth
Like a memory of light, a dead serpent,
And the fabled garden of ignorance.

Inside and out, everything is hard
And sharper than a needle, a silence
That goes deeper than it should, ice
In every vein, heart stilled and afraid.
This is no place to live, nowhere in
The midst of plenty, a desert of want.

The New Age

It’s here: the age of monsters, a brain of dwarf.
History’s back to a time without man.
Steel-hosed giants swing and shuffle and snout
through dust that their half-tracks flatten.

You want to talk about law to armor plate?
Better shut up — get down and walk on your eyes.
What you called good has a face like shame:
heart, and conscience, and words, and promises.

It’s be better to call everything off —
learn to forget your pride that you’re a man.
Be tricky, get wise — maybe a pack of lizards
or a herd of sheep will have room and let you in.

Laugh at us, who have fallen in the streets
and already every will shall have willed in vain.
It’s here: the age of monsters, a brain of dwarf.
History’s back to a time without man.


— Translated from Italian by Forrest Read

Ray, David, ed. From the Hungarian Revolution: A Collection of Poems. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1966. Print.

Lupus in fabula

Rough, red, tooth and eye
Both ragged, raging, hot breath
Like the dead heart magically,
Manically pulsing out an end of
Reason, shame, love and life.
The last day of standing, last
Of giant shoulders, and the
Triumph of witless, soulless
Dwarfs and their wolf, their
Fat, ignorant and angry dog
Of the day of the dead, their
Final card and our losing hand.