The Storm

I. Before the Storm (1934)

You sit upon the peak and on your knees asleep
that youthful woman ripened for your love; behind,
the bristly deeds of war; beware! hold dear and keep

your life, hold dear your world which you with hardened hands
have built around your life while all about you death
in circles hovered around and around above the lands -

behold, it has returned! the garden’s nests from the high
treetops come plunging down in terror stricken flight,
all things are about to break! and keep an eye on the sky

because already lightning shakes the firmament;
wind tussles, drags the cradles as the men-folk whimper
asleep as weakly as the helpless innocent;

the wind blows on their dreams, they grumble and turn around,
they wake with a start and stare at you who’s been awake
and sitting up amid the fleeting thunder, the sound

of roaring future battles being prepared; above,
the splendid wind speaks of the storm and so do the clouds;
it’s time to wrap your woman warmly in your love.

Miklós Radnóti

Translated from the Hungarian
by Thomas Land

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