A wave in the water. The word opens, shape for knowing at edges, darker fields, trouble: a wave in the water. The word waits long to shatter on silence, prove, prove that falling is a wave. In the water, the word opens, shape for knowing.
So near to evening, thoughts against thought will run,   unsettled in currents: fish, aswim down suddened light.   Upon the bank, I’ve slowed to discern the turn toward night in the songs of birds. Even water itself is by dark undone.
Trees and road, hill and distance—all coaxed into one.   Stern shapelessness, I cannot place myself. Wouldn’t know right so near to evening. Thoughts against thought will run,   unsettled in currents: fish, aswim down suddened light.
like this, then—boat that drifts for the shore, done   with floating blind. At the edge of my vision, a white   something. Sand bar? Rock break? There’s not enough sight to say. Will I learn at last how much such doubts have won? So near to evening, thoughts against thought will run.
“Root is what I am, rootpoet here at home among the worms, finding here the poem’s terms.” —Miklos Radnoti, August 8, 1944
If, as it seems, art is nothing, nothing at all— some sleep only that lulls us toward trees, what to make of these poems, Miklos, where you ordered a life into lines? That brutal stumble through the mountains might have said enough. Or those curses sneered by villagers, one pausing near the water well to dust and dust his sleeves. Finally, you with the rest, worn through, too settled for another step, were forced to dig and dig your graves, then
kneel at last on the uncalmed earth there. What is that light against the fields? Why, after all that had been done? They sought to sever tongues from thoughts—those soldiers, certain in their silence, who carved from hurt this tender fruit words could have grown and given seed. Miklos, these hidden poems, found folded in your pocket. . . . Prove, history, how the world speaks deeper than decay: this murmur pulled from underground, with its challenge of a purer sound and song.
through the windows, fields that remember you. Past the yellow church beside the forest, hush. I’ve had to learn the ease of waiting. Somewhere, in autumns, the songs grow surer with waiting. You cannot hurry through hurt. Quiet. Still. Slow, like those swallows along the rooftops. Color upon a shawl.
Confusing, how the landscape stumbles— there is sky beyond this sky, a backyard of chickens, a broken dog. Ambition, like green fields, slows upon autumns and the few ancient trucks. Work earth, plow and hoe, bent over the soil again. Years of this sameness. Years of the white sun.
To marry a girl was the one thing. The other, talk—long into nights out past the river. Sometimes three of us found ourselves there. We shared what we had, even failures we’d carried in our coats. In that certain dark, nothing but compassionate days, when our tilling turned the ground to wider orbits, to order.
A village closes upon itself. The road’s rise toward Copsa Mare is the firm hand urging. Doorways are boundaries children learn to respect. Someone, born to it, swells within his father’s isolation, painting his barn a fierce yellow. Hay in the lofts. I know how surely we fall to ourselves in this world.