beautiful essay of Michael Chabon about the Yiddish phrasebook behind which the world in which anyone could have taken use of it has disappeared. And while reading, I recall how many similar floats I myself have from various sunken worlds. A leaf of the big military atlas of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy representing Southern Bohemia and indicating eight hundred villages there where now large continuous forests extend along the state borders. A history and a reader of the Transylvanian Saxon literature. A picture of a church tower standing out of the middle of the storage-lake created by Ceauşescu on the place of the Transylvanian Bözödújfalu, whose Hungarian inhabitants who had converted first to Unitarianism then to Sabbatarianism and finally to Judaism were deported by the Nazis. Records of the uniquely beautiful and forceful archaic music of the Pontus Greeks who, after three thousand years of heroic history, fled the southern shores of the Black Sea in 1920. Old newspaper cuttings about the island of Ada Kaleh on the lower Danube which, inhabited by Turks, enjoyed extraterritorial status for half century after the decomposition of the Turkish empire, until it was laid under water during the construction of the Iron Gate Dam. A map of the beautiful Art Nouveau downtown of Kőbánya where I used to go to library as a child, and where now, after the construction of the Socialist-style concrete housing estate in the 70s the only old building left is the wonderful synagogue that stands out like the church tower of Bözödújfalu. A series of monographs on the Armenian provinces of the now almost uninhabited Eastern Anatolia. Seventeen old dresses of the Miao ethnic minority that we have purchased from an old-clothes woman in Yangshou. A travelogue among the Christian Assyrian tribes that lived in the Anatolian mountains before the Kurds exterminated them together with the Armenians. An archive photo album of the Persian Jews, whose last representatives proudly told to us that they had been living in that country for three thousand years. An autobiography of a 17th-century Turkish officer who nostalgically confessed that “his roots are in Temesvár” in the Hungarian South. A medieval Syriac-Arabic dictionary scanned by us in the South Indian jungle that had been used by the last Hellenized Syriacs for translating Greek philosophy into Arabic before they gave up their language, one half of the dictionary. A Slovakian prayer book of our neighbor Uncle Jani, because in the village where I live, even ten years ago every old people spoke that archaic Slovakian dialect which is already extinct even in Slovakia, and by the time I have finally learned it there is nobody left to speak it with.
It is about these disappearing or already palimpsest worlds that we want to write from time to time as much as we have experienced of them in this Atlantis series of the Poems of the River Wang.