NEITHER MEMORIES NOR MAGIC

images-poet

Concealed, my many angers lay in my heart before

this hour as brown seeds ripen within the apple-core,
and I was always certain that, sword in hand, a friendly
strong angel followed behind me, an angel to defend me.
But when, one wild dawn, waking, you see your whole world crumbling
to dust and must go forward confused, a phantom fumbling
and all but naked, your few belongings left behind,
then you will find arising in your lightened heart, a refined
and musing, humble yearning, laconic and mature —
if still you can rebel, it’s not over your own sorrow
but for a glowing, distant, sweet freedom for tomorrow.

Positions and possessions I’ve never held and won’t,
but spare a moment’s thought for this wealthy life: I don’t
concern myself with vengeance, my heart is free of rage,
the world will be rebuilt — and, although this ugly age
has banned my words, they will yet ring out beneath new walls;
alone I must live through all that in my time befalls
me knowing that neither memories nor magic can defend me;
I will not glance behind me — above, the sky’s unfriendly,
and should you see me yet, turn away, my friend, and go on.
Where in the past a mighty protector stood behind me,
the angel might be gone.

Miklós Radnóti

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