What is so staggering about the poems Miklos Radnoti is not just the clear-sightedness of them but the context. I love/hate the story of his wife finding his final poems. He had been a prisoner of WWII in Hungary. Though a Christian, he was still a Jew by birth, his wife and he converting later. He was shot in Hungary on a “Forced March” and buried in November of 1944. When his wife had him dug up after the war, she found some poems in hi clothes.
Even translated his words are powerful:
I write, what else can I do. How dangerous a poem is – if you only knew – a line, however delicate, whimsical: there’s courage in these also, do you see?
He’s right, you know. There can be danger, I suppose. Plato wanted to banish the poets from the ideal republic. The poets were valued there, though. In the modern day west, Beyonce and Kenny Chesney are valued. And whatever those songs are, they are not in the country of poetry.
The dangerous poetry is the kind that looks at the world and see things as they are. At least more so than the average person walking around. A veil is lifted. And those who grasp at money and control prefer the veil. They want to hold onto…well everything.
“With Lassos Folded”
With lassos folded
and placed in your account,
they will break you.
Like the horse watched
from the fence
by onlookers with hats tipped.
Them whooping –
missing the green pastures of yearlings