Two Poems

translated by Paul Sohar
A black and white photo of train tracks stretching into a high-contrast distance
Photo: Public Domain Pictures/Pixabay

Empty Trains

The mornings depart
and arrive without you.
Empty trains.
Your spirit flashes now and then
on the hem of a sky foundering in light.
Sentences fog the steep slopes
of long-gone lands,
staring into nothing,
fatigued by now.
Acacia trees have again invaded the riverbank,
the injured in the autumn storm are
cared for by new tender winds.
Last night the neighbor
was not drilling through the wall,
in the abandoned room the bed is empty,
the place of lovemaking is open,
the painted wooden pillow is cold but still
buzzed by an antique dream like before;
joy would like to sneak back, but there’s
no one to ferry it to the other shore.


God Never Wrote to a Mortal as Touchingly

Sunshine copies a text on my desk.
Every day and on purpose,
to see if I can unravel the words.
God never wrote a letter of such gravity to a mortal.
Exorcism is not expected of me,
I’m supposed to be the way I was
created: curious and diligent.
Earthly treasures are out,
I am to seek the meaning of life in the arts.
(Loving poetic lines, I am the slavish lover of love!)
Avoid fear!
Fear is not good for my mental and moral health.
I’m to be like a volcano
and eject good and bad into the sky,
I’m to get purified and thus empowered to purify.
But I was not asked to account for my faith.
And what for?
Those who believe will end up crucified.

Translations from the Hungarian

Zoltán Böszörményi (b. 1953) is a Hungarian poet, writer, and publisher in Romania; two of his novels have been published in Sohar’s translation: Far from Nothing (2006) and The Club at Eddie’s Bar (2013). Ragged Sky will publish The Conscience of Trees, his poetry in English translation, in late 2018.

Paul Sohar has published seventeen books of translations earning three prizes, the latest being Silver Pirouettes (2017). His magazine publications include Agni, Rattle, Rhino, and others.