“On 5 May 1909 in the 13rd district of Budapest, at Kádár street 8 was born Miklós Glatter, the later Miklós Radnóti. His father Jakab Glatter (1874-1921) was a commercial traveler, his mother was Ilona Grosz (1881-1909). At the birth of the poet both his mother and his twin brother died. Both of his parents came from assimilated Jewish families living for centuries in Hungary. Jónás Glatter, the poet’s grandfather was an innkeeper in Radnót (later Nemesradnót, today Radnovce in Slovakia). In 1934 the poet borrowed the name of this village to change his own family name. The family of his mother came from Vác. Jakab Glatter worked for his brother-in-law, the well-to-do textile wholesaler Dezs? Grosz.”
All of the materials, texts and images,
I have copied from an excellent site dedicated to Radnóti Miklós.
I Don’t Know
I don’t know what this land means to others, this little country
Fenced in by fire, place of my birth,
world of my childhood, swaying in the distance.
I grew out of her like the young branch of tree,
and I hope my body will sink down in her.
Here, I‘m at home. When one by one, bushes kneel at my feet,
I know their names and names of their flowers.
I know people who walk the roads and where they’re going
and on a summer evening, I know the meaning of the pain
that turns red and trickles down the walls of the houses.
This land is only a map for the pilot who flies over.
He doesn’t know where the poet Vorosmarty lived.
For him factories and angry barracks can’t be seen on this map.
For me there are grasshoppers, oxen, church steeples, gentle farms.
Through binoculars, he sees factories and plowed fields:
I see worker, shaking, afraid for his work.
I see forests, orchards vibrant with song, vineyards, graveyards,
and wizened old woman who quietly weeps and weeps among
The Industrial plant and the railway must be destroyed.
But it’s only a watchman’s box and the man stands outside
sending messages with a red flag. There are children around him,
In the factory yard a sheep dog plays, rolling on the ground.
And there’s the park and the footprints of lovers from the past.
Sometimes kisses tasted like honey, sometimes like blackberries.
I didn’t want to take a test one day, so on my way to school
I tripped on a stone at the edge of the sidewalk.
Here is the stone, but from up there it can’t be seen.
There’s no instrument to show any of it.