János Pilinszky: Epilogue (Utószó)

For Pierre Emmanuel

Do you remember? On the cheeks.
Do you remember? The empty ditch.
Do you remember? Flowing below.
Do you remember? In the sun standing.

You are reading the Paris Journal.
Since then it’s winter, winter night.
You are setting the table nearby,
making the bed by the moonlight.

In the night of the bare house
you are undressing without a breath.
You drop your shirt, you drop your clothes.
Naked tombstone is your bare back.

It is an unhappy picture.
Is anyone here?
A wakeful dream:
without an answer I cross rooms
in the depth of mirrors as they’re lying.

Is this then my face, this face here?
The light, the silence, the judgment is rattling,
as my face, this stone is flying
from the snow-white mirror at me!

And the horsemen! And the horsemen!
Bothering darkness and hurting light.
Thin spray of water trickles down
on to the motionless porcelain.

I am knocking on closed off doors.
Your room is as dark as a deep shaft.
Coldness is blazing on the walls.
I’m smearing my weeping on the wall.

You snow-covered house roofs, help me please!
It is night now. Let all that is orphan gleam
before the day of nothingness
arrives. Let all of you gleam for nothing!

I put my head against the wall.
A dead city is offering me,
to the dead a handful of snow,
the snow of mercy from everywhere.

I loved you! An outcry, a sigh,
a fugitive cloud on the run.
And the horsemen at stormy, dense
trot arrive at the time of muddy dawn.

Translated by: Maria Bencsath