16th February 2023


2 minutes read

Márta Júlia Nagy

The Home for Crazy Girls

translated by Anna Bentley

16th February 2023

2 minutes read

The immaculate is always suspect.

That’s what the stubborn school

of self-hatred teaches.

The cellar coughs up animalcula,

Red dust drifts from the wall, chalk or brick,

As autumn trudges into the landscape,

And clings feebly onto the fence

with its liver-spotted, vine-tendril hands,

its shrivelled blue teats idly swaying.


In streets too faraway and far too cursed,

Stand houses with small, myopic windows,

And in those windows, evening-framed,

Sit beautiful, crazy girls,

Who act like they get nothing to eat.


If you’ve seen them, take them out and feed them,

They’re thin; a nameless fever gnaws at their flesh.

Adopt a crazy girl from the Home,

She’ll grow fat on your kindness, then slip away

Like a dream cut off before dawn.

The other half tormenting you, keeping its grip.


Far, far away, between the grey walls

of large concrete houses, live crazy girls.

Till one fine day, a prince comes by,

And is stunned by the stink of unwashed groins.

What the eye deems dashing does not always delight,

But they eat from his hands and drink from his words.


The pus-yellow, winter sun swooned early,

And when the prince found a crazy girl, he’d be sure to make her his own.

Throwing away half his kingdom,

A mild gaze thus turning vacant.

While the beautiful, crazy girls’ eyes are as huge

As the heap of hills towering on the horizon,

As the storm-dark, expectant sky, turquoise-green,

As the eye of an open-water whirlpool, brown.


No cleaner works here, no porter either.

Cockroaches nest in the crazy girls’ ovens,

Shrews curl up in the crannies of their cupboards,

Dry skin peels and drifts from their lips,

Chalk from the blackboard, brickdust from the walls.


Maybe this is the way dirt turns bright

and you see clearly once and for all,

That there are no lunatics, there is no Home,

Just a vein on the house’s wall,

Which, like an ancient vine-tendril twists

and drops onto chalkdust purple-blue drips.




written by

Márta Júlia Nagy

More about the author

Issue 04


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translated by

Anna Bentley

More about the translator


The Home for Crazy Girls by Márta Júlia Nagy
In Márta Júlia Nagy’s poem, a home for beautiful crazy girls lies rotting as if from a modern nightmare or a fairytale by the Brothers Grimm.