“Der springt noch auf,” avoice said above me.

When I was a kid,
my parents were a secret to me.

I loved them,
and they loved me.
(As if this would be that simple.)

One of the dearest things for my mother
was a facsimile of “the Bore notebook”
by the Hungarian poet Radnóti Miklós.

This little book fascinated me too,
though I don´t know
how much of it´s meaning I actually understood.

Bleak pages and real handwriting,
lines by a man long gone.

My mother tongue,
Hungarian,
my native language,
German.

Radnóti Miklós was of Jewish origin.
1944 he was taken to the internation camp Bor in Serbia,
and later on, together with several thousand other Jewish prisoners,
driven in a forced march across Hungary up until the Austrian border.
Finally, he was very weak then, as many other of his companions,
Radnóti was shot together with twenty-one of his fellow prisoners.
The mass grave  he was buried in  was opened after the war,
alongside his body they found a notebook called “Notes from Bor” (Bori notesz).
Radnóti must have envisioned his last minutes before he was he was shot.

 

Razglednica 4 / Postcard 4

I fell beside him and his corpse turned over,?
tight already as a snapping string.?
Shot in the neck. “And that’s how you’ll end too,”?
I whisper to myself; “lie still; no moving.?
Now patience flowers in death.” Then I could hear?
“Der springt noch auf,” above, and very near.?
Blood mixed with mud was drying on my ear.


Der springt noch auf/this one still will get up,
what a horrifying mixture of languages.

Man spricht Deutsch.

 


As a child,
though born in Germany,
I thought of myself as a Hungarian,
but this feeling dissolved
as I grew up.

And then,
later on,
as a grown up,
I had the chance
to stay in Budapest
not for long,
but more than just for a moment.

And though

I love
the language
and the look
of the streets,
and I loved to eat,
once again,
the food,
my mother had cooked
long years ago,
and though
I felt
the warmth
of the people
who had welcomed me,

then

I had to realize
this is not my home
and never has been.

 

source of the poem and the two images:

Radnóti Miklós