POETRY: Stones And Bread, by György Rónay

Translated from the Hungarian by Dalma Hunyadi Brunauer

Stop here stop here stop here they kept yelling
the blind the deaf the lame the epileptic
stop here stop here stop! they stood by the roadside yelling
beat the earth with sticks waving their crutches
for Jesus came on the road before Him shift-clad
children were buzzing at His side softly
the Twelve walked along and behind Him the people.
Stop here stop here! cried all the wretched the sea
of filthy cripples foamed two panting
servants were dragging onto the flat roof of his house
the paralytic
stop here
the palms’
lacy leaves were writhing
stop here
the paralytic
beat his servants with a stick his eyes
bloodshot Do not pass before I get upstairs Do not
pass until I get upstairs! he screamed
and beat the servants he saw the people alreadythe servants
sweated he saw already the shift-clad running
kids and yelled O do not pass until
I get upstairs! and he saw already the blind eyes
saw already the beggars the lame and the wildly
undulating mob
Look on us and we will see
look on us and we’ll walk look on us and our ears
will hear!
Jostling each other they ran forward
Jesus came on the road
Stop here stop here stop here!
And Jesus stopped
and looked at them
and they were healed
O what is this radiance said the blind o what is this sweet
music this soft rustling this heavenly melody
said the deaf Sound! said the blind Light!
said the deaf Sound Light Radiance Music
Light Light
cried the blind and laughed and sparkled
O Sound Sound
Sound laughed the deaf
and the lame groping spread
his hands out in front Earth Earth Earth he stammered and
watched the earth as it with elastic thumping
thumped under his step
On the roof the paralytic
threw himself down on the stone O I’m walking I live!

stood in the midst of the crowd the midst of the joy
looked at the distant mount on the peak a soft breeze stirred
the leaves of the blue-green olives
Peace unto you
He said and the folk fell silent Peace unto you
blessed ones
Then He waved and all gathered unto Him
and the blind lame deaf limping demented
the paralytic stood up lifted his hand to his ears
so he may hear better.
And Jesus Peace unto you
He said for the third time. But I woe beyond the peace already
see the strife Death comes
slowly over the hills it comes over the hills comes
slowly the blood Death comes suffering the cross behold I saw
unto you agony of agonies comes near agony
of agonies comes near
The people stood mute
happy ones here you who see hear run if only one drop
of blood would be taken on by you just one drop of blood by you
see hear and
walk if just one of the thorns which tears my forehead ragged if just
one sigh just one of the whips’
brutal lashes
And they all stubbornly suspiciously
backed away
if just one tear if just one drop
of blood or bile and vinegar
And stealthily they among the houses
slunk away the limping and deaf and blind and demented
lame and stuttering and none remained
near Him the paralytic ran down from the roof
slinking in his cellar and behind the lush
green of an opulent thicket jostling and knavish
cowered the Twelve
The eyes of Jesus were tear-filled
His arms fell down
He looked around and noticed the ManThe others
ran away this single one stood there this one who knew
that He was god but did not want Him to be God
this single one stood there sternly
Behold said he
the lame walk the paralytic arises
lepers are whole he sees who was blind and hears who was deaf and
no longer thirst the thirsty the hungry does not perish
laughing he showed the denuded road
the blessed
people your people!
And stealthily there under
the gardens all the tawdry small thieves were slinking
are you and who gives you food you would eat their hearts and behold
stone stone
they say look at our hearts stone only stone no
hearts have we our hearts are stone do not bite it just stone
you spit it out no taste our blood o our blood
is lye do not taste it this blood will blister your mouth
it’s lye and behold here is your people stone only stone stone
eat the stone
he laughed
well eat the stone only stone stone
you may be the son of God
so change the stones to bread!
change the stones to bread!!!
said Jesus wearily
What for
said Jesus discouraged
Depart from me Satan
said Jesus sadly

stones into bread

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