Two Survivors


Judit Tóth (b. 1936, poet & academic)

Judit Toth


I’m not surrounded by wire fencing
charged with deadly current.
And if I tried to flee, the guard would
not dream of opening fire.
Each night, the chimneys foul the air.
Each night, I burn to ashes.
Each morning reassembles me
broken and astounded. 


Magda Székely (1936-2007, poet & editor)

magda sz


I hold a solitary vigil
over this forsaken garden
of bones. The skulls have called my name.
It is my lot to guard them.

The Lord once called a prophet’s name.
He answered, and the ossified,
dead flesh began to grow again.
Behold, the hecatombs revived.

I do not possess the power
to grow live flesh upon dead bone.
This time, though, I call the questions.
No-one answers. I’m alone.

What’s the use of retribution
over swiftly passing time?
Can you exercise forgiveness
if all deny the crime?

The fragile stalk of trust can feed
from just thin air. I’ll never tire
to seek 10 righteous Sodomites
...to save this city from the fire.

Both of these poems have been translated from the Hungarian and  edited by

Thomas Land

If you have any comments on this poem,
Thomas Land would be pleased to hear from you.