5 Apr 2012
Of course most Englishmen know Villon because Brecht pinched stuff of his for his 'Threepenny Opera', and we all know at least one line from Villon, viz. 'Where are the snows of yesteryear,' GyÃ¶rgy Faludy, however, is I think much less well known. Strangely, the only one of his that I, or anyone else in the office at this moment, knows also concerns snow:
Between clouds I looked up at the sky and down on the ground:
snow clouds, snow cover, the same above as below.
The freeze was sitting everywhere, busy at work:
its huge green needle had the whole Bering Sea to sew.
After landing we hunted Japanese soldiers for seven days.
I shared my army ration with seals at the watering hole.
I didnâ€™t question the wisdom of it. I only saw Eskimos
and a painted top hat on the top of a totem pole.
In the hammock of fog, I was bundled up in fur coats
that swallowed up the body like the snow a heavy gun:
thatâ€™s how I lived from day to day. I hadnâ€™t even thought
of you till yesterday evening when the patrol was done.
The light! The light! I heard the cook from the kitchen,
and when I stepped outside, there it was above the ice:
like a fluffy muslin curtain it billowed, swayed, and swung,
swimming closer and away, reminding me of something nice,
but what? I stood there pondering. Ruffled shadows were
rocking the light. With my hand on the doorknob behind,
I stared entranced. A hard voice from inside woke me up:
The door! Suddenly you spread your skirt over my mind.
That's Paul Sohar's translation of 'Aurora Borealis'.