The invisible palaceBorn in Budapest (1951 - ), Turcsány interrupted his High School studies at the age of eighteen in 1969 supporting himself as a newspaper vendor, after which he turned to land surveying. His varied interests eventually took him to the directorship of an amateur acting group. After a qualifying examination he was admitted to the Economics University of Budapest, where he received a degree in Sociology. Starting with 1980, he gained employment as sociologist at the Values Research Laboratory of the Hungarian Institute of Sociology. He subsequently received a Soros stipend from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in 1985-86. As Communism begin to unravel, Turcsány got closer and closer to literature, his true calling. First, he worked as organizer of Public Education in Tahitótfalu situated along the Danube North of Budapest, but 1988 already saw him as member of the Editorial Board of Isis Publishers. Just one year later he founded Kráter Publishers, and has been acting as its Director ever since. He also functions as Editor-in-Chief of the periodical Polisz [Polis, (The City)].Turcsány’s poetry returns to the “Miracle Stag” theme in a novel, unexpected way as in the poem “Song of Thickets and Draggletailed Tendrils,” in which a concern for the health of Planet Earth turns into an ecological meditation, replete with the image of the Stag as symbol of the Savior. The sociologist inside the poet offers up a prayer for the captives of alcoholism. He is a master of the Alcaeic form, essential to Hungarian poetry since Dániel Berzseny (q.v. in Vol. I.) His volumes include Tarisznya [Knapsack] (1982), Testamentum [Testament] (1986), Fekete-piros füzetek [Black-white Notebook] (1989), Colosseum [Colusseum] (1993), Teleszkóp [Telescope] (1993), and Megmentett tisztásaink [Our Rescued Meadows] (1995).
(A láthatatlan palota)
(Turcsány Péter versei angolul)
Song of Thickets and Draggletailed Tendrils
(Bozótok, loncsos indák éneke)
You see but my footprints, the mere traces I leave,
never the antlered forehead; never ever do you spy
the trusting glance through your hunting rifle’s telescope,
but I can change into a slice of bread -
you can find me in the moment of a tender touch,
or in the surging growth of medicinal herbs.
You see but my footprints, the hollow traces
of the Savior turned into Stag.
For this is a song. A melody permeated
by the spirit of the ancients. The antlers of my forehead
carry the secret lightening of skyward-stretching trees -
the thick, hidden knots in the mud
cannot drag down the soaring flight
of my hooves - the snows of winter retain
the proof of my quiet visits; nor does the summer wind
blow them away under the blossoming trees of sandy banks.
And yet - when my surging mood spills over,
my tongue licks the poppies in the heat of summer
and the sewed grain starts to stick its head out
from beneath the soil; meadows of still untouched forests give me
a lair to rest; the rattle of heath and fallen leaves
never betrays me, nor will the light that trails all my footprints.
But prayers of yearning torment and
silent sighs will recognize me always.Adam Makkai
Prayer for the Prisoners of Alcohol
(Fohász az alkohol foglyaiért)
People of the Booze - you, who hover over flat bottles
hiding in side-pockets of clerks’ briefcases, you, who emerge from secret window-caves in editorial offices like fairies
meting out kisses, or in small privately owned taverns,
where the bartender refills your glass unasked; oh you, confidentially murmuring, busy male-bond around rum, slivovitz, moonshine and brandy bottles with the shameful ersatz of espresso coffee’s grains stuck between the teeth behind your stinking breath; oh you, metal-flasks in the pockets of tattered
army-fatigues, in who knows how many wars, before and after
who knows how many battles…; in the teeth-rattling chilly
compartments of trains dashing through the snow-covered region
when the “heart strengthening” bottle makes its rounds, and that
of which fewer stories are told: the mouthfuls of booze of light-weight dizziness of irresponsible kisses, the speedy tempo of
the shaming sickness from stomach to the mouth and back spewing filth on shirts and trousers, or the splitting head-aches stronger than
any regret; time riddled with holes, the paralysis of time dripping away; the rat-race of gourmets’ tastes, and the numbness of the gums followed by the rinsing of one’s palate - oh, you brotherhood of Hell!
You, orifice of Hell! Man, like a drop of booze,
starts to whirr and to eddy until he disappears in
momentarily comforting, but devouring depths.
Be You, Beloved Balance - between the snail’s gait-speed
of collapsing into ourselves and the drift of floating amid the clouds - You be our quiet rhythm of walking-steps
and of evenly beating wings - now and forever! Adam Makkai
The invisible palace
(A láthatatlan palota)
One palace 's being built by everyone
unbeknown to himself.
With basements and with grilled and grated nooks;
with towerchambers swaying into clouds.
And no one else, but he shall build all that,
each to and for himself.
He 'll even choose the colour of his bricks
alone, even the grades of his stairs
shall be adjusted
to his walk.
Whoever stays below, forever creeps
and crawls and never lifts his head,
he'll drag on his existence,
like a mole.
Whoever trains his fate to fight, to battle,
shall form around him great arena rings
with his ever changing foes.
Whoever stays in his own easychair
and lives on tales and swoons on songs of birds,
the Lord shall grant all that for him,
provided he has patience infinitely
and humbleness to make him back away,
when he must.
Who wets the pebbled ways of the parks of his life
with delirious brews,
shall slide into the mud;
and if, he takes to water,
the rolling waves of extasies and fevers
will slap his boat.
In everyone a palace waits its mason!
We're slavedrivers and princes of ourselves
Don't let the change be done by anyone.
The first movement of your birth,
the way you cried, the first twitch
of yoursmile will make you
the Sheperd of Existence.
Herd the flock of your minutes
to the pasture of eternity.(Istvan Gyöngyös, 5. May.2002)