|Adapted from the Hungarian of György Faludy
the Medieval French of Francois Villon (b. 1431)
|I've proudly wrapped my dazzling sky around
yet I have found one faithful friend: the fog.
In banquet halls I've heard my hunger howling.
By fires, I have endured the test of frost.
I am a prince of human kind: I've reached out
and to my thirsty lips, the mud has swelled –
My paths are marked by dead wildflowers: even
the festive seasons wither from our breath.
I am surprised... I stare in disbelief
when sunshine holds my frame in still caress.
And thus across three continents I've travelled
and been despised and welcomed everywhere.
I've wrestled with the winds on freezing wastelands.
My dress: a leaf that graced a bygone tree.
And nothing's clearer for me than night's fragrance
and nothing darker than high noontide's bleach.
My sobs have burst their dams in wary taverns
but in the graveyards I have laughed my fill,
and all I own are things I've long discarded
and thus I've come to value everything.
Upon my stubborn curls, the mist of autumn
collects its silver while, a child forever,
I cross this changing landscape never pausing,
and live despised and welcomed everywhere.
Triumphant stars erect their vast cathedral
above me, and dew calms my feet below
as I pursue my fleeing god in grief
and sense my world through every pore in joy.
I've rested on the peaks of many mountains
and wondered at the sweating quarry-slaves
but whistling bypassed all the stately towers:
I’ve seen and cursed our rulers' power games.
My share of life has been the worst and best,
and thus I've learned to find an equal ease
in squalor and beneath the whitest pillars,
a guest despised and welcomed everywhere.