Words Become Flesh
Miklos Radnoti was tried for “effrontery to public modesty and incitement to rebellion” due to his second book of poetry. On November 10, 1944, Hungarian officers shot him. In 1946, his body was exhumed. His widow searched his pockets to find a notebook of poems.
Miklos looks for poetry in rainbows
while working on the railway.
Miklos looks for poetry in water,
while marching from Yugoslavia to Hungary,
and sings when he tastes water from a bucket.
When they beat the old man to death
Miklos has nightmares – until
he seeps into poetry.
Some call it madness.
Miklos called it survival.
Miklos looks for poetry in black petals
covered in gunpowder dust.
His words in his pocket are his only burial.
His widow looks for poetry in his pockets
and finds the scent of black petals, now
His killers don’t recognize the aroma
or the taste of words become flesh.
They only taste vanity,
like Eve’s apple in the garden.
by C.A. Cooper
Editor’s Note: Repetition underlines the grim imagery of this narrative where words and life become synonymous with survival. Miklos may have been killed, but his words live on.