This poem is a recipient of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards with an Honorable Mention. Inspired by my AP European History course, I wanted to illustrate the power of the people and convey the nationalistic fervor that changed Eastern Europe forever. Never forget.

paris, france: june 18, 1815

the nightmare of europe put to rest at last,

eyes closed, the mass of writhing foreign soldiers

lay siege under parisian pride, a conquest neverending

through winter storm and mountain cliffs,

the spirit surged on relentless

yet, corsican blood now hidden away: dome des invalides

the final strike of waterloo felled the noble man

vienna, austria: september 16, 1815

a peace conference

—hopeful restoration of order places balance of power on the throne

crafted by tradition, a work of the conservative mind against warfare

forevermore was the resistant reign of the monarch, pope, and tyrant

arms of central europe raise in unity against total domination

collective security now an unspoken agreement:

thus ensues the congress of vienna

a result: the cough of france contained, so it seemed

the hapsburg empire lies dormant, a multi-ethnic kingdom

holy rule forevermore

buda, hungary: march 21, 1848

however, the cold spreads, a revolutionary plague

—into eastern european satellite states

the minds of intellectuals swim with fervor,

frustration among the public lurk silently under watchful eyes

boiling over onto the chains of restricted rights

us youths, us hungarians— the hunters in the dark of night

prey upon this new concert of europe

under foreign rule,

we revolt, a premonition

—to expel the conservative force

we fall, a critical defeat.

aided with the soviets and their darkened hearts,

crushed was the premature uprising,

now subjected to a century of fear.


moscow, russia: april 3, 1944

the transition of power now complete: all hail stalin's rule

secret police outlaws opposition,

eliminated: conservatives, liberals, radicalists, anarchists

in the gulags hidden among the mountains,

lie the bones of traitors against the regime

thus, citizens of russia considered homogeneous:

the nuts and bolts of the industrial dictator

unsatisfied, communist veins claw into hungary

and the map runs scarlet red: russians commence!

budapest, hungary: november 2, 1956

rise, magyars, independence is near!

must we bear to endure the lost identity of our people any longer?

must we bear to waste away under the weight of communist solitude for yet another day?

the hungarian spirit flutters at last

seize the means of opportune rebellion and

rise, independence is near!

gather upon arms, students and farmers alike

crowded into public squares, common houses, universities,

brews the beginning of a new era

they tried to stop us, the russian secret police

threatened our people with guns and tanks and gas

but the moment of futility and humiliation had passed,

freedom over fear

and thus, on this very morning

from the ashes of communism in hungary—

I saw the resurrection of a nation long gone,

once chained to the almighty hammer and sickle:

a victorious assent to liberation.


I saw youths, like me,

give up the dusted pages of gold in their studies

for torches, helmets, and suits in the streets

enemies of censorship, enemies of socialism,

a generation of liberal ideas calls for equality to all.


I saw workers, appendages of industrial machines

cease to follow the laws of production

doctors, lawyers, professors

rush to save the beating heart of nationalism

bankers, farmers, entrepreneurs

shatter the glass ceiling of russian domination


I saw women— some teachers, others artists —

run the cobblestones with popular excitement,

anticipating the end of soviet yoke that cursed the spirit of budapest:

a girl, thirteen, raises the flag of freedom: green, red, white

an aunt, sixty seven, sets fire to a russian tank


I saw men— dressed in trenches—

hurl soviet books into the rages of fire

that littered the streets like shards of broken glass;

cut down the communist emblem strewn with blood,

soiled with gasoline into the fiery pits of hell


I saw change, a nation reborn.

november 3, 1956

for four days, hungary was free

tens of thousands before parliament square

—women and men, old and young—

praise the purified coat-of-arms


no hungarian could ever forget this day

freedom of speech, freedom of the press

revision of cultural superiority and pride

complete security of economic trade

blatent transparency of a new congress

restoration of hungarian tradition, the tricolor emblem

long live the founding fathers: kossuth and imre nagy

november 4, 1956

the russians returned.

fleets of two hundred thousand, showering our heads with bullets and shrapnel;

bomber squads of endless waves, corrupted with bloodlust, blow apart our only homes

stalin reigns once again.

now, with tears in our eyes, we vowed to our fallen flag