Olympic bronze-medal winner Tamás Kenderesi of Hungary was arrested in South Korea last weekend, after competing in the World Aquatics Championships, for alleged inappropriate touching of a young local woman in a night club. The celebrated poet János Lackfi wrote a poem in Hungarian about the incident which immediately went viral. Below is Joe Varadi’s translation of this poem:
Ballad of the Ass-Grabbing Champion
South Korea sure ain’t next door,
I feel so neglected here,
My soul is bare naked, bleeding,
I might as well disappear …
Amid my cosmic loneliness,
Fell into a deep crevasse.
Needed a hand grip, alas,
And so — yeah — I grabbed an ass.
Competition is so stressful,
If you falter, you’ll be replaced,
Life a hairpin roller coaster,
Fail and your nation is disgraced.
Sense of defeat cannot contain,
No wonder if now and again,
A racer, feeling in a rut,
Reaches out and grabs a butt.
Oh, circles, spheres and ellipses,
Let him cast the first stone who had
Not ever let geometric
Sights and wonders get to his head!
Stimulating rays and vectors,
Tangents, asymptotic specters,
Science! It has come to pass:
I admit I grabbed that ass.
Real life is the toughest teacher:
(Don’t mean for this to sound shady)
It turned out that to the buttocks
Belonged a flesh and blood lady.
I must sharpen my acumen,
Local customs, oh, how human!
Such bad karma I amass,
When I go and grab an ass!
What immense serendipity
Has occasioned this here poem!
For that backside to be where, and
When my lower arm did roam …
All the hands and tushes round
In the universe abound,
But my fate appeared clear-cut:
I was bound to grab that butt!
With a shout-out to my new fellow Hungarian friend, Zita Fontaine.
I’ve previously translated the Twins’ Chant by János Lackfi. Below is the original ass-grabbing ballad: