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Thursday 1 May 2008

May Day in Budapest

Building yet to be renovated near Moszkva Tér, Budapest, 2008

It is a holiday here in Germany, we don't have to wait until Monday, as in England, to have a break from work. I am sorting files and papers while preparing for my move, it takes ages because I get bogged down reading everything. While doing just that I found a yellowing scrap of paper with the following written on it. I probably penned it on the number 4 tram in the vicinity of Margit Híd, crossing the Danube. It seemed appropriate to post it today.

May Day in Budapest

Moszkva Tér out in force
Téssek nénis and men of course.
All selling flowers on this holiday
As many Magyars make their way
To visit friends, to sit in the sun,
Palatinusz is open, oh what fun.

Over the years nothing has changed,
Perhaps on the surface, but the spirit remains.
Up to the castle away from the grime,
From noisy buses and the rush for time.
It's a tourist place, but only the centre,
Walk a few streets and a different world you can enter.

Thoughts of scenes from the books I have read,
How many invasions and how many dead?
The bullet holes still can be seen,
Talk to some people and information I glean.
What happened in the war?
In '56 came something more.

Hungary now a land of peace,
My amazement will never cease,
When I look up at this hard working folk
Their fight to survive tears does evoke.
What happened in the years long past
Leaves a mark that, of course, will last.

The strength of Hungarians, and their pride,
Is usually only seen from the inside.
What a privilege it has been
For me this side to have seen.
Hungarians welcome me into their lives,
For me this is the reason why I survived.

The loneliness in a foreign land,
Is easier with a friendly hand.
For this I will always be in debt
As now I return with no regrets.
I know that here I leave my heart
When, for home, I make a start.

Susie Mallett 1st May 1993


Márgit Híd: híd - bridge

Téssek Nénis: this is a name I invented while living in Hungary, 1989-93, for the people who stand in the squares and street corners, selling their wares and crying " Téssek, téssek ....." tempting people to buy, téssek meaning please or kindly.

The Hungarian Revolution, 1956

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