Hungarian Poetry Day

The birthday of widely acknowledged poet Attila József, 11 April is the celebration of the much beloved rhyming lines across the whole country. Hungarian literature abounds with beautiful poems, though it might stay hidden in front of the foreign eyes. To uncover a tiny slice of the many wonderful works, we proudly present some of the most brilliant thoughts of famous, local poets.

Ode by Attila József

“Every single smile, movement, word of yours
I keep like the earth keeps all fallen matter.
Like acids into metal
so my instincts have burnt
your dear and beautiful form into my mind,
and there your being fills up everything.

Moments pass by, rattling
but you are sitting mutely in my ears.
Stars blaze and fall
but you stand still in my eyes.
Like silence in a cave,
your flavour, now cool,
still lingers in my mouth
and your hand upon the waterglass
and the delicate veins upon your hand
glimmer up before me again and again…”

I cannot know by Miklós Radnóti

„I cannot know what this land means to other people.

For me, it is my birthplace, this little nation embraced

by flames, the world of my childhood rocking in the distance.

I grew out of her like a tender branch from a tree

and I hope one day my body will sink into her.

I am at home. And if a shrub happens to kneel down

beside my foot, I know both its name and its flower;

I know who walks on the road and where they are going,

and what it might mean when in the summer sunset

the house-walls shimmer and drip with crimson-agony…”

Dawnstruck by Dezső Kosztolányi

“I would tell you this – I hope it won’t bore you.

Last night I stopped working at three.

And went to bed.

But the machine in the mind was rattling on,

and though I tried to sleep, all I managed

was tossing and turning furiously


Yet I went on with drugs invoking,

calling out to sleep to come, imploring,

counting up to a hundred –

no use. With a hundred

eyes the words I had written gazed at me,

and the toxin of forty cigarettes were working in me,

as well as other things. The darkness. Everything…”


I Want to be Loved by Endre Ady

“I am no heir, no proud ancestor,

I have no friend, no brother, sister,

I have never belonged,

I have never belonged.


I am, like every human: Highness,

Iceberg, enigma, strange and timeless,

Distant will-o’-the-wisp,

Distant will-o’-the-wisp.


But, oh, I can’t remain unspoken,

I have to bare myself wide open,

Behold me, everyone,

Behold me, everyone.


In all self-torture, in every song,

I want to be loved, to belong.

Belong to somebody,

Belong to somebody.”