The Works Of Sándor Kányádi (Translated by paul sohar) 

Sándor Kányádi was born and educated in Hungarian community of Transylvania, Romania, to become the best-known Hungarian poet, has been translated into most European languages, and Sohar is doing his best to introduce him to the English-speaking world. Dancing Embers, a volume of his selected Kányádi translations, (Twisted Spoon Press, 2002), is now available from most bookstores. The poems presented here are not in the book.


All Poems © Sándor Kányádi (Trans. Paul Sohar)


Translated From The Hungarian By Paul Sohar


Gray Sonnet
(Szürke szonett)


let no one be deceived by
the smile I try to pretend
I've stopped long ago fooling
myself and you too my friend


why would I lead you into
my apprehensions' dreadful mist
when I'd rather smile at you
like a circus aerialist


our star is on the wane
on this leaky cupola
and I avert my eyes in pain


it's a wonder we're still around
so smile back at me my friends
the wonder hasn't run aground



The Cotton Weaver And The Charcoal Burner
A Fable Variation

(A kelmekészítő és a szénégető)


I've given up trying to share
the shed the charcoal burner has to use;
even his sun comes up bringing soot
on the bleached white linen I produce,


the cloth I weave tying together broken
fabric strands all day and all night.
The fruits of my loom, clothing worthy
of human wear is everyone's right,


and so is the bandage gauze for the care
of wounds that keep tearing open.
I've given up trying to share


the shed the charcoal burner has to use;
even his sun comes up bringing soot
and blackening the linen I produce.



The Poet Zoltán Zelk Died
(Zelk Zoltán meghalt)


words moved up
to heaven
silence prevails
only the lord's footsteps
clunk in outer space


breaking down railings and fence
wearing black ribbons
horses are galloping
toward the poet's
old hometown


there's no one
to tame them now



The Viper And The Fox
(A Variation On Aesop's Fable)

(A vipera és a róka)


"Be on your guard, Aesop, the power-
hungry sophist and the scatterbrain
sycophant are roaming the agora,
slandering and blackening your name,


they were seen walking arm in arm,
and their scheme may put you under ground."
But Aesop just shrugged and told
another fable to those standing around.


"There they go, arm in arm, the strolling pair,
the tide tossed the viper into bramble;
if bad brings good, why should I care?


The seaman gets the boat he deserves,"
observed the fox, watching the scene
without wasting his breath on a curse.



The Wolf And The Lamb
Homage to Aesop

(A farkas és a bárány)


Everything's been increasing in worth,
especially precious stones and gold.
Only the value of dwindling tribes
and endangered cultures doesn't hold.


The strange thing is that we could
easily save many of those who remain
for the price of an artificial satellite
or a new supersonic bomber plane;


the survivors could revive their tongue
like embers can be blown back to flames.
A strange species to which we belong;


filled with fairy tales, we fail to damn
the wolf who still uses his power at
every chance to blame the lamb.