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.
COME, REVOLUTION CALLS
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.
"FOREVER LIVE THE REVOLUTION!"
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.
"BRING JUSTICE TO HUNGARY; BRING JUSTICE TO EDUCATION!"
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
"NO MORE COMRADES; WE ARE ALL HUNGARIANS!"
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
"RUSSIANS GO HOME!"
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
"CALL TO ARMS! CALL TO ARMS!"
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
"GOD BLESS THE MAGYARS!"
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
"WE SWEAR, WE SWEAR. HUNGARY WILL LIVE ONCE AGAIN."