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Tribute to Poetry

“Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.” (un.org)

We celebrated World Poetry Day and by that –“the linguistic diversity through poetic diversity” – just 2 weeks ago on March 21, all around the world. My favorite poet/writer Sandor Marai (1900, Budapest-1989, San Diego) is from Hungary. He provided me with strong life-inspirations from the beginning of my adulthood.

Since today is Hungarian Poetry Day, I wanted to pay tribute to Marai’s wonderful creative work by sharing a poem of his with TAP’s audience.

Marai survived the Second World War in Budapest however he decided to immigrate to the United States following the war, escaping from the growing communist regime. He used to live in New York and later in San Diego. Many of his writings were translated into English from the mid-1990s.

Let’s uncover one tiny slice of Sandor Marai’s many wonderful works now on Hungarian Poetry Day.

 

CREDO (QUIA ABSURDUM)

I believe in one creation, my life: this, I believe. I believe in one predestination,

my own predestination: myself. I believe in one world

and one man who belong together. I believe in the poets’ painful

wonder, the surprise that I came into being and that existence

offered me admittance. I believe in people, because I must believe

myself among them. I believe in youth, the happy sweet song above

the waters. I believe in anxious men’s inquiring unhappiness; I

believe in women’s mauling raging love and in the softness of the

gesture as they lift their infants to the nipples of their laden breasts

and bend their parched foreheads down over them. I believe in the

stubborn consequentiality of objects, in the primordial laws of

lines, in the thrilling headlong variety of colours, in the mysterious

truth-ensnaring bonds of words, in beautiful hands and in animals’

eyes. I believe in eternal matter’s hidden, internal form, in the distinction

of spoiled cats and in the goodness of the seas. I believe

in goodness and in the sweaty stupid Schadenfreude of pennypinching

evil. I believe in the mild incense aroma of simplicity, in

the bloody odour of crimes, in the cheap piety of the sentimental.

I believe in clouds and in the seasons’ changing moods; I believe in

the lacy cunning of the demimondaines of world capitals and in the

reassuring arrogance of money. I believe in the grim queues of class

warfare, in the bedridden morning fainting spells of menstruating

girls, the spicy breath of tropical plants, the star-chasing drive of

world powers. I believe in an infinite poverty that’s remorseless

and smells like humanity. I believe in the elements, and in myself.

I believe in one who can believe naively. I believe in one life, life,

life: now and forever after.

 

(This poem was published in the first English selection of Sándor Márai’s poems

titled: The Withering World by Alma Classics in the translations of Peter V. Czipott and John M. Ridland)

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