From the Diary of a Gardener: Zoltán Danyi

January 23, 2017

 

 

We first met Zoltán Danyi through Angéla Pataki, who is responsible for introducing many Hungarian writers into Croatian over the past several years. Zoltán wrote the two pieces below, excerpts of a novel-in-progress, during two separate residencies at ZVONA i NARI. Angéla translated them into Croatian from the original Hungarian. Below you will find both of those texts along with the English translation.

 

Enter with us, for a moment, the world of the rose. There is not only fragrance, but also thorns, cruelty, and the hard labor of producing something beautiful. The routines of agriculture are inevitably politicized, yet they possess a tenderness matched only by Zoltán himself. 

 

It might not surprise you to learn that the author helps his family tend a rose nursery in Vojvodina, an autonomous and multicultural province of Serbia.

 

Zoltán Danyi  was born 1972 in Senta, Vojvodina. His scholarly interests are focused on the work of Béla Hamvas. Zoltán has received a number of prestigious awards for his poetry as well as his prose, most recently for his novel Dogcatcher that deals with war-time memories of the late 1990s .

 

 

 

From the Diary of a Gardener

 

(1)

 

For two weeks I withdrew into a village at the seaside.

 

Palms, oleanders, grapes, lavender - they represent the garden now. The lavender has already dried, but if I crush it between my fingers, it smells. My lunch is simple, most often composed of cooked rice and fried fish. When I cook, I pluck a few stalks of dried lavender, crumble them, and put them in the hot oil; it soothes the stomach’s nervousness. After lunch, I pick some grapes in the garden, a bunch or two; it is good for the body and for the soul. Grapes are already shriveled, wasps nibble them while the birds feast on them. What is left, it is now the best, the ripest, the sweetest. 

 

I know that I’m not doing everything as it should be done, but if I did everything as it should be done, that wouldn’t be good either.

 

4th of October 2015

 

(2)

 

Removal of souls, that’s what’s happening right now. More should be said on this subject, I know, but if I were to say it, it wouldn’t be accurate anymore. 

 

I work with roses but don’t understand their force. Annihilation is what I don’t understand, or maybe the extent of annihilation. I have the impression that tens of thousands of people are constantly annihilating each other so that others might have gardens full of roses. That’s the reason last time I talked about the cruelty of roses: sometimes it seems to me that roses don’t talk about anything else except for annihilation. About tearing apart, ripping off, cutting, spraying with pesticide, extermination. After all this, pruning is just an addition, like how the victors raise the flag in an already devastated city. 

 

Maybe I should be doing something else. 

 

In any case, presidents talk about something else. Rise of a nation. Strengthening of a nation. National reunification across borders; these are the things presidents talk about. I work with roses and don’t understand what they’re thinking. Only the air crosses borders. And the souls that are pulled by some force on the other side. Only the souls have been pulled; the body is not needed. 

 

Removal of souls. As if a soul is worth more on one or on the other side. As if it depends on it. 

 

6th of August 2016

 

 

 

Translated from Croatian by: NGORwDAC

 

Iz dnevnika jednog vrtlara

 

(1)

 

Povukao se na dva tjedna u jedno primorsko selo.

 

Palme, oleanderi, grožđe, lavanda, oni sada predstavljaju vrt. Lavanda je već presušila, ali ako je protrljam, zamiriše. Moj je ručak jednostavan, najčešće kuhana riža i pržena riba. Kada kuham, otkinem nekoliko stručkova suhe lavande, izmrvim ih i stavim na vrelo ulje, smiruje nervozu želuca. Nakon ručka uberem grožđa u vrtu, grozd ili dva, dobro je za tijelo i za dušu. Zrna grožđa već su smežurana, ose ih nagrizaju, a i ptice se njima slade. Ono što je ostalo, sada je najbolje, najzrelije, najslađe.

 

Znam da ne radim sve kako treba, ali kada bih sve radio kako treba, ni to ne bi bilo dobro.

 

4. listopada 2015.

 

(2)

 

Uklanjanje duša, to se sada događa. Trebalo bi o ovome više reći, znam, ali kada bih rekao, to više ne bi bilo točno.

 

Radim s ružama i ne razumijem tu silu. Uništenje je to što ne razumijem, ili možda količina uništenja. Jer imam dojam deseci tisuća postojećih neprekidno se uništavaju kako bi drugi imali vrtove pune ruža. Zato sam prošli put govorio o okrutnosti ruža: ponekad mi se čini kako ruže i ne govore o ničem drugom osim o uništenju. O kidanju, trganju, rezanju, prskanju otrovima, istrebljivanju. Rezidba je nakon svega toga samo dodatak, kao kada u razorenom gradu pobjednici istaknu zastavu.

 

Možda bih se trebao baviti nečim drugim.

 

Predsjednici u svakom slučaju govore o nečem drugom. Uspon nacije. Jačanje nacije. Ponovno ujedinjenje nacije iznad granica, takve stvari govore predsjednici. Radim s ružama i ne razumijem što misle. Iznad granica je samo zrak. I duše, koje vuče nešto na onu drugu stranu. Vuku samo dušu, tijelo ne treba.

 

Uklanjanje duša. Kao da duša više vrijedi s jedne ili s druge strane. Kao da o tome ovisi.

 

6. kolovoza 2016.

 


 

S mađarskog prevela Angéla Pataki. Rođena 1968. u Novom Bečeju, Jugoslaviji, Angéla prevodi s njemačkog i mađarskog jezika. Živi u Istri.

 

A kertész naplójából


(1) 


Két hét elvonulás egy tengerparti faluban.


Pálmafa, leander, szőlő, levendula, most ezek jelentik a kertet. A levendula kiszáradt már, de ha megdörzsölöm, jó illata van. Az ebédem egyszerű, általában főtt rizs és sült hal. Amikor főzök, a száraz levendulából néhány szálat letépek, és megtörve a forró olajba rakom, megnyugtatja az ideges gyomrot. Ebéd után szőlőt szedek a kertben, egy-két fürtöt, jó a testnek és a léleknek. A szőlőszemek már töppedni kezdtek, a darazsak kikezdték őket, a madarak is rájárnak. Ami megmaradt, most a legjobb, a legérettebb, a legédesebb.


Tudom, hogy nem csinálok mindent jól, de ha mindent jól csinálnék, az se lenne jó.


2015. október 4.
 
(2)


Lélekelszívás, ez megy most. Többet kellene erről mondani, tudom, de ha többet mondanék, már nem lenne pontos.


A rózsákkal dolgozok, és nem értem ezt az erőt. A pusztítás az, amit nem értek, vagy inkább a pusztítás mértéke. Mert úgy látom, hogy létezők tízezreit kell folyamatosan elpusztítani ahhoz, hogy rózsákkal legyen tele mások kertje. Ezért beszéltem a múltkor a rózsák kegyetlenségéről: néha úgy tűnik, hogy nem is szólnak másról a rózsák, csak a pusztításról. A kicsupálásról, a kiszaggatásról, a levágásról, a lepermetezésről, a kiirtásról. A metszés ezek után már csak ráadás, mint amikor a lerombolt városra a győztesek kitűzik a zászlót.


Lehet, hogy mással kellene foglalkoznom.


Az elnökök legalábbis másról beszélnek. A nemzet felemelkedése. A nemzet megerősödése. A nemzet határok feletti újraegyesítése, ilyeneket mondanak az elnökök. A rózsákkal dolgozok, és nem értem, mire gondolnak. A határok felett csak levegő van. Meg a lelkek, ahogy húzza valami őket át a másik oldalra. Csak a lelket húzzák, a test nem kell.


Lélekelszívás. Mintha az egyik vagy a másik oldalon többet érne a lélek. Mintha ezen múlna.


2016. augusztus 6.

 

 

 

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