Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Little Night Prayer

Lord, I'm tired,
the bunion on my right foot is throbbing,
I worry about myself.

Who is this anguished man, Lord?
it can't be me,
so woeful and sluggish.					

I would like to trust quietly,
but like waves in the ocean,
tempers bubble up in me.

I try a smile,
but some hairdespair
impedes me.

This isn't all right, Lord,
feel pity for me, be scared,
reward my endeavors.							

Evaluate things with me,
delete with my own hand
what isn't needed.

Taste with me what needs to be tasted,
and say to me:
this is sweet! this is sour!

Remind me
of the small red car,
of something that was good.

There was a lot that was good, wasn't there?
a lot of sunken islands,
crumbled glamour.

Place a net into my hands
to fish with, in the past
and in the present.

I'm a fish too, in the night,
puckering silver,  
bubble-lifed.

Turn me inside out, freshen me up,
throw me up high and catch me!
What's it to you, Lord?     

If you must,
lay down your cards,
show me something new.

How your leaves fall!
your sun scorches
your wind whistles.

Speak to me!
Talk with me through the night,
it's nothing to you, Lord!

Credit


From Unknown Places: Selected Poems of Péter Kántor. Copyright © 2010 by Michael Blumenthal and Pleasure Boat Studio. Used by permission of the translator.

Author


Péter Kántor

Péter Kántor is an acclaimed Hungarian poet and the author of many books, including Unknown Places (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2010). His honors include the Déry Prize, the Füst Milán Award, the József Attila Prize, the Laurel Wreath, the Palladium, and the Vas István Prize, among others.

Date Published: 2010-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/little-night-prayer