Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 8 February 2010

  • babel 6

    we don’t know the name of the plant
    we want to know the name of the plant
    carroty liquid streams out when we break
    the stem; strange substance of meaning
    I would dip my finger into
    to draw my hieroglyphs on your forehead
    but there is no credit in the phonemes that pour out of my mouth
    shrivelled cherries half rotten papayas not worth purchasing
    ok I find diphthongs embarrassing to say the way you do
    lips need to be elastic slugs in the act of androgynous love
    but look at these unusually shaped fruits I dare you to eat them
    roll them in your sinuses and spit the pips drawing accents
    on a vowel bearing öszibarack or málna; say it little by little
    say it and then take a look at the tiny boy
    who sits in silence on the stone floor
    in the garden near a pot of flowers
    reaches out for a handful of soil from time to time
    to chew and then to swallow smiling with black teeth

    by Agnes Lehoczky

    © Agnes Lehoczky, 2008

    Agnes Lehoczky was born in 1976 in Budapest. Her work has appeared in a number of online and print publications both in Hungary and in the UK. Budapest to Babel, published by Egg Box in October 2008, is her first collection in English. A second is due from Egg Box later this year.

    'babel 6' is from a sequence of poems entitled 'garden dialogues', which appear in Budapest to Babel, a lively and rewarding collection about the difficulties and joys of language. Often poignant, always inventive, the book explores states of confusion and chaos, playfulness and delight, with a freshness of style and tone. Find out more about the book at this page, where you can also watch Agnes Lehoczky reading from her book at the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London last year.

    Egg Box is a small, independent poetry publisher based in Norwich, run by poet Nathan Hamilton. It is rapidly establishing a strong reputation for its freshness of approach and keen eye for talented newcomers. Click here to visit Egg Box's website.

    Copyright information: please note that the copyrights of all the poems displayed on the website and sent out on the mailing list are held by the respective authors, translators or estates, and no work should be reproduced without first gaining permission from the individual publishers.