Thursday, 23 February 2017
András Mezei: PRAYERS

Translated from the Hungarian

& Edited

By Thomas Ország-Land





I watch my spade as thrust by thrust

and spit by spit it shapes my home

till, like our psalms, my steaming breath

lifts rising from this cold, deep hole.

My Eternal God! Your very

being steels my arms. You know

that all the time till resurrection

will pass quickly like the thunder

of the gun.



The Lists


They did not need quite 24 hours

in Györ, nor in Veszprém nor Szombathely,

in all the small cities throughout the land:

a register of Jewish residents

was assembled before the sunrise

the very day the Germans took over –

the lists were prepared in a sense of shame

and helplessness and in heartfelt regret,

you might say with the greatest of sympathy

and embarrassment. They were surrendered.



Group Portrait


The cows grazed in freedom beyond the deathcamp

and the air conveyed their healthy munching

to the people promised a communal bath,

yet whose prayer was for gas: relief, at last,

in the bitter almond fragrance of Zyclon B2 –

in that passive state of animal existence

there stood (My God! hallowed be Thy Name)

a group of women crammed together,

devoid of hair.




In the Bomb-pit


His shovel clanged against the metal body.


He was forced to dig a funnel-shaped pit

around the unexploded bomb in the ground.

The explosives expert watched from a distance.

And, deep within his megatonnes of history,

the Jewish prisoner stood in the bomb-pit:


as the expert cautiously descended

into that reality of war, in which

Nebuchadnezzar's lions facing Daniel

must grow tame in the sight of the Lord

even within the metal cloaking of the bomb.




Before my Fall


Before  my fall,

before that great block of stone

came tumbling upon me,

before it crushed in my chest,

before it rushed me

into the land of shadows –

in the sight of the Lord

I had raised up all of Egypt.




The Executioners


Still laughing, that Galician Jew's eyes, still bright

in the blaze of his beard set on fire by the killer's lighter,

eternally laughing, beyond even time and the final judgment,

and in his gaze thick heads of hair and earlocks and beards

set alight in a waxen white candelabra of bodies –


and the Almighty's face does not flinch in the flames.




Self-portrait, Treblinka


I fire and I fire while retreating.

My mouth is belching blood, my eyes are smiling.

My strength is sapped, my weapon silent. I’m captured.

My mouth is belching blood. My eyes still smiling.



András Mezei (1930-2008), a poet, journalist and publisher, was a foremost chronicler of the Hungarian Holocaust. His last, posthumous publication in English was Christmas in Auschwitz (Smokestack Books, England, 2010). His poetry based on personal experience and professional interviews as well as medical, judicial and historical records, are widely taught and anthologized worldwide but still largely ignored in Hungary.



Thomas Ország-Land is an award-winning poet and foreign correspondent who writes for Iconoclast from Jerusalem and London as well as his native Budapest. His last book was Survivors: Hungarian Jewish Poets of the Holocaust (Smokestack, 2014), and his last E-chapbook, Reading for Rush Hour: A Pamphlet in Praise of Passion (Snakeskin, England, 2016).

Posted on 02/23/2017 8:47 AM by Thomas Ország-Land
No comments yet.

Pre-order on Amazon or Amazon UK today!

Order on Amazon or Amazon UK today!

Order at Amazon or Amazon!
Audible read by Ann Osmond



Adam Selene (2) A.J. Caschetta (7) Ahnaf Kalam (2) Alexander Murinson (1) Andrew E. Harrod (1) Andrew Harrod (5) Anne-Christine Hoff (1) Bat Ye'or (6) Bill Corden (4) Bradley Betters (1) Brex I Teer (9) Brian of London (32) Bruce Bawer (10) Carol Sebastian (1) Christina McIntosh (867) Christopher DeGroot (2) Conrad Black (716) Daniel Mallock (5) David Ashton (1) David J. Baldovin (3) David P. Gontar (7) David Solway (78) David Wemyss (1) Devdutta Maji (1) Dexter Van Zile (74) Donald J. Trump (1) Dr. Michael Welner (3) E. B Samuel (1) Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff (1) Emmet Scott (1) Eric Rozenman (11) Esmerelda Weatherwax (10021) Fergus Downie (23) Fred Leder (1) Friedrich Hansen (7) G. Murphy Donovan (76) G. Tod Slone (1) Gary Fouse (177) Geert Wilders (13) Geoffrey Botkin (1) Geoffrey Clarfield (341) George Rojas (1) Hannah Rubenstein (3) Hesham Shehab and Anne-Christine Hoff (1) Hossein Khorram (2) Howard Rotberg (29) Hugh Fitzgerald (21427) Ibn Warraq (10) Ilana Freedman (2) James Como (25) James Robbins (1) James Stevens Curl (2) Janet Charlesworth (1) Janice Fiamengo (1) jeffrey burghauser (2) Jenna Wright (1) Jerry Gordon (2521) Jerry Gordon and Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah (3) Jesse Sandoval (1) John Constantine (122) John Hajjar (6) John M. Joyce (394) John Rossomando (1) Jonathan Ferguson (1) Jonathan Hausman (4) Jordan Cope (1) Joseph S. Spoerl (10) Kenneth Francis (2) Kenneth Hanson (1) Kenneth Lasson (1) Kenneth Timmerman (29) Lev Tsitrin (12) Lorna Salzman (9) Louis Rene Beres (37) Manda Zand Ervin (3) Marc Epstein (9) Mark Anthony Signorelli (11) Mark Durie (7) Mark Zaslav (1) Mary Jackson (5065) Matthew Hausman (49) Matthew Stewart (2) Michael Curtis (750) Michael Rechtenwald (53) Mordechai Nisan (2) Moshe Dann (1) NER (2592) New English Review Press (132) Nidra Poller (73) Nikos A. Salingaros (1) Nonie Darwish (10) Norman Berdichevsky (86) Paul Oakley (1) Paul Weston (5) Paula Boddington (1) Peter McGregor (1) Peter McLoughlin (1) Philip Blake (1) Phyllis Chesler (208) Rebecca Bynum (7241) Reg Green (17) Richard Butrick (24) Richard Kostelanetz (16) Richard L. Benkin (21) Richard L. Cravatts (7) Richard L. Rubenstein (44) Robert Harris (85) Sally Ross (36) Sam Bluefarb (1) Sam Westrop (1) Samuel Chamberlain (2) Sha’i ben-Tekoa (1) Springtime for Snowflakes (4) Stacey McKenna (1) Stephen Schecter (1) Steve Hecht (32) Ted Belman (8) The Law (90) Theodore Dalrymple (954) Thomas J. Scheff (6) Thomas Ország-Land (3) Tom Harb (4) Tyler Curtis (1) Walid Phares (32) Winfield Myers (1) z - all below inactive (7) z - Ares Demertzis (2) z - Andrew Bostom (74) z - Andy McCarthy (536) z - Artemis Gordon Glidden (881) z - DL Adams (21) z - John Derbyshire (1013) z - Marisol Seibold (26) z - Mark Butterworth (49) z- Robert Bove (1189) zz - Ali Sina (2)
Site Archive