One of Hungary’s great literary figures was the 20th century poet Attila József, and there is a wonderful statue of him sitting on some steps looking out onto the Danube.
My favorite poem of his is called Without Hope. Here are a couple of excerpts:
I am as one who comes to rest
by that sad, sandy, sodden shore
and looks around, and undistressed
nods his wise head, and hopes no more.
. . .
In heaven’s ironblue vault revolves
a cool and lacquered dynamo.
The word sparks in my teeth, resolves
–oh, noiseless constellations!–so–
In me the past falls like a stone
through space as voiceless as the air.
Time, silent, blue, drifts off alone.
The swordblade glitters; and my hair–
My moustache, a fat chrysalis,
tastes on my mouth of transience.
My heart aches, words cool out to this.
To whom, though, might their sound make sense?”