Lajos Tárkony in Esperanto & English translation

Deklamis / Recited by Ralph Dumain

Sound file <— click here
[7:07 minutes]


When I recorded my podcast of September 17, 2013 on The Contributions of Esperanto to World Culture: Part 3: The Esperanto-Hungarian Literary Connection (Continued) I was unable to find any English translations of original Esperanto poems by Lajos Tárkony (a.k.a. Ludwig Totsche, 1902-1978), so I did not recite any Esperanto originals at that time. You can find that podcast at

Since then I discovered translations of two of Tárkony’s poems. Both were translated by one of Esperanto’s two most influential poets, the Scot William Auld, whom I knew personally, and whom some Esperantists nominated for the Nobel Prize. Auld wrote landmark original poetry in Esperanto and translated copiously from English to Esperanto. He also translated a handful of poems from Esperanto to English.

I found the first translation I am about to recite on a web site dedicated to Clarence Bicknell a man of many talents and an Esperantist. [1] I will read some accompanying introductory remarks about this poem; then I will recite the poem in Esperanto and English, and then another poem in Esperanto and English I found on another web site.

”Critics have described Lajos Tárkony as master of the sonnet, of polished verse, and perhaps the most musical poet in Esperanto. “Evening on a Balcony” is regarded as one of his three most accomplished poems. The sonnet dates from Tárkony’s early period. It was published in Dekdu poetoj (Twelve Poets) in 1934 and was written in Abbazia, Italy.” [2]

Lajos Tárkony
Balkona vespero

Lit-seĝo. Lankovriloj. Dua etaĝ’. Balkono.
Siajn vualojn densajn faligas jam vespero.
Sonorilvoĉo velke traŝvebas en l’ aero.
Torpor’ postfebra. Kape vaganta pensĉifono.

Sur transa bord’ de l’ golfo, en fee fora fono
ekbrilas lumserpento: vibranta koliero
sur kolo de l’ mallumo. Anoncas ĝi pri tero,
pri urbo kaj loĝantoj, pri homo kaj pri ŝtono.

Ho stranga pens’: ĉi urbe, kies stratetojn plande
ankoraŭ mi ne tuŝis kaj kien mia febre
sopira okulparo rigardas lace, lante,

ĉi urbe eble homo – same soleca, trista –
algapas nun la maron, niaj rigardoj eble
sin krucas en saluto, ho ve, senpove dista ...

Evening on a Balcony
Translated by William Auld

A balcony. Two-up. Some rugs. A bed.
Evening has now let down, opaque, its veils,
floats through the air a wilting voice of bells.
Sloth after fever. Thought-scraps in my head.

Across the gulf a snake of light illumines
A far-off fairy realm: a sparkling band
adorns the neck of darkness, tells of land,
a city and its dwellers, stones and humans.

How strange to think: there where my feet have never
trod narrow streets and where my eyes now look,
tired and reluctant, with a longing fever,

perhaps, there, someone – sad and lonely – may
be staring at the sea, our glances hook
in greeting, but, alas, too far away ...

Marta renkonto

Ĉu vi eĉ ne rimarkis…? La bubo Marto iris
ĉe via flanko ŝtele, kun paŝo kapreola,
kaj al vi, tram-atenda, kun malicet' petola
mokante vian gapon, la jakon li ektiris.
Ĉu vi eĉ ne rimarkis…? Ho, ne! Vi triste miris
la bluon de l' ĉielo en posttagmezo ora,
animo via estis falinta kaj torpora
kaj je flugintaj sonĝoj frostante ĝi sopiris.
Tra l' strato brue svarmis popolo eleganta
en vestoj disflorantaj, kaj, dum pri l' bildo vanta
Vi gapis - blonda, svelta figuro alrapidis.
Inter vi pont' momenta: interrigardo arkis,
jam vin altiris io, sed ĉio preterglitis
kaj kune la Feliĉo… Ĉu vi eĉ ne rimarkis?

Translated by William Auld

Didn't you see the little rascal, March,
come tiptoe up to you while you awaited
your tramcar with a soul forlorn, deflated,
and tug your jacket, mischievous and arch?
Didn't you notice? … You surveyed the sky
of early afternoon with heavy heart;
a stricken tree, you stood alone, apart,
and mourned lost visions with a tremulous sigh.
The street was crowded. People's fashions flared
into resplendent bloom, and while you stared
at such display - a slim blonde figure passed.
Just for a fleeting instant eyes met eyes,
something awoke in you but didn't last,
and Joy was lost… You didn't realise?

[1] O dearest, shall we ever meet again?. This Tárkony poem is included among the poems of separation and displacement (by Clarence Bicknell, Kálmán Kalocsay, Karolo Pič).

[2] The poem was republished in the collection Soifo (Thirst) in 1964. The translation, with the original, appeared in La Brita Esperantisto (The British Esperantist) in the edition of May/June 1996.

Kolomano Kalocsay de Lajos Tárkony

“En Senfrukta Horo”
de János Arany, trad. Lajos Tárkony

Mitologio de Mihály Babits,
tradukis Ludwig Totsche (Lajos Tárkony)

In memoriam dr. K.H.G,”

Kanto” (A Song),
de Percy Bysshe Shelley, trad. Lajos Tárkony

Hungara Antologio (1933)

Esperanto & Interlinguistics Study Guide / Retgvidilo pri Esperanto & Interlingvistiko

Offsite / Alireteje:

Lajos Tárkony @ Girafo

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Uploaded 7 May 2014

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