Would You Like To Play?

Dezső Kosztolányi: Would You Like To Play?

Tell me, would you like to be my playmate?
How would you like to play always and ever?
With a child’s heart, looking very clever,
would you like to hide in the dark till very late?
Solemnly to sit at the head of the table
pouring out water and wine with restraint,
yet throwing around beads and pearls and be able
to enjoy trifles and clothes that look funny and quaint?
All these things that make life — would you like to play
a snowy winter and a long-long autumn day,
together, silently, sipping our cups of tea,
with yellow steam, the drink the coulour of ruby?
With a pure, full heart, would you like to live
and between long silences sometimes to give
a sigh of fear, when this old man, November,
is strolling on the boulevards and under
our window he whistles now and again?
Would you like to play being a serpent or a bird,
a long voyage on a ship or on the train,
all the good things, a Christmas and dreams
and a happy lover, too, who only seems
to cry, who only pretends feeling blue?
To live inside a play which has become fully true,
how’d you like living like that forever and ever?
And here is a scene: between flowers you lie
on the ground… Would you like to play that we die?

Translator: Kabdebó Tamás