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That's All? by Anna Hajnal

June 12, 1988

\o7 Shearing, as the gardener

snips the sucker,

controlling wild growth

with shaping hands,

looking and choosing--

which bud's to be the branch--

rooting out, cutting or pardoning

by design and scheme:

trimming pyramids, tall arches,

scissoring bowers for gods--

how I'd love doing that--

taking hold of the passionate growth

in my unmastered heart.

Slicing through wild, winding

trailers, charming

with a bright, sharp blade--

to but loosen its hold on me!

release its hold?

and must the clasper wither?

trailers, leaves, trendrils droop?

A French park, my loving?

moderation, cautious suffering?

precise forms, narrow blossoms,

the reign of geometry,

is my calmness to be a tight calmness?

From "The Face of Creation: Contemporary Hungarian Poetry," translated by Jascha Kessler (Coffee House Press: $11.95, paper; 208 pp.; ISBN 0-918273-20-x.) Poet Anna Hajnal (1907-1977) was born in Gyepufuzes, Hungary. Educated at a language academy in Vienna, Austria, Hajnal published 13 volumes of poetry, including "Elhiszed nekem?/ Do You Believe Me?" (1976) and a posthumous collection, "Alkonyfeny/ Evening Light" (1978). Translator Kessler has published five collections of stories and three books of poetry. He is the winner of the Hungarian PEN Club's Memorial Medal for several previous translations and is a professor of English at UCLA.

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