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Elijah’s Chariots

August 24, 2011

Ady Endre was an influential Hungarian poet, catalyzing the modernist movement in Hungarian lit. In 1908, Ady published a collection of poems entitled, Az Illés Szekerén. This is my lyrical translation of his introductory poem, “Az Úr Illésként elviszi mind…”

Click here for the original Hungarian.


The Lord takes all, Elijah-like

Whom he loves and scores with trial:

Gives them blazing, racing hearts—

These are the chariots of fire.


Elijah’s kind speed heavenward,

To winter’s nevermelting throne.

On Himalayan icy peaks

The dusty chariots hiss and moan.


Cast out, morose, between earth and space,

Cold winds of fate rejoin their cry—

To wicked, bright and frozen wonder,

The chariots of Elijah fly.


Their hearts are fire, their brains are ice.

Deep laughter bellows from the clay

And pitying their icy fate the Sun

With diamond-dust bestrews their way.

© Trent R. Leinenbach, Ashen Apples, 2011

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