We die here in a row, like little billy-goats.
Who praise the claw, the hard labour, the lying word,
and all are happy, if they can embrace the rosy flesh
beneath the spider-woven blanket. It is not the great secrets
that we are silent about. We do not glide for long on the crest of time.
After forty, a person is already a graveyard.
Looking into the heavy rain, faces covered by umbrellas,
but thinking even here you can get a little meat.
So we prepare, like idiots, for the crows’ feast.
Much weeping and cawing. If the victor marches by,
body bound to the cart, we could possibly even laugh.
The great scam has been successful. We just don’t know for whom.
~ Gábor Schein, trans. from Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet
Highly acclaimed as a poet, a dramatist, a children’s author, and a novelist, Gábor Schein lives in Budapest, where he is a professor at the Hungarian Literary History Institute of Eötvös Loránd University. He has written nine collections of poetry and three novels. English translations of his writing have appeared on www.hlo.hu and in B O D Y.
Ottilie Mulzet translates from Hungarian and Mongolian. Her translation of László Krasznahorkai’s ‘Seiobo There Below’ won the Best Translated Book Award for 2013. Forthcoming are Krasznahorkai’s ‘Destruction and Sorrow beneath the Heavens’ (Seagull Books, Fall 2015), and ‘The Dispossessed’ by Szilárd Borbély (HarperCollins, 2016).