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translations of work by
 Attila József (1905-1937)
done with my father,
Gabor J. Kalman

Honest Heart

I've neither father, nor mother,
nor God, nor country,
nor cradle, nor coffin,
nor mistress, nor kisses.

It's three days since I've eaten,
not morsel, not feast.
But I've twenty years strength,
I'll sell my twenty years.

If there aren't any takers,
I'll sell to the devil.
With an honest heart I'll swindle—steal,
if forced, I'll even kill.

I'll be captured and strung up,
covered by the holy earth,
and deathly grass will grow
on my glorious heart.

© 2009, Ron A. Kalman
This poem first appeared in Exquisite Corpse.