Friday, May 6, 2011

Waiting for the Man

waiting for the man, originally uploaded by deanv41.

A favorite area of Budapest to me is the Theater District -- or Broadway Pest -- along Nagymező utca off Andrassy near Ferenc Liszt Tér and Oktogon. It's a gorgeous, treelined street, broad and bright, as it catches the light very dramatically. The best croissant i found was near here at Mai Manó Café opposite this bronze figure of a man.

I think to myself, "Oh, a statue of an ordinary man! In a city as monumental as Budapest, the regular sort needs celebrating & remembering too. They've had quite enough heroes."

Then i look closer and read: Radnóti Miklós.

He was a poet murdered in the Holocaust on the 10th of November, 1944. He had converted from Judaism to Catholicism in 1943 and was drafted into the army but that didn't save him from the Labour Battalion and a death march as the military retreated from Ukraine back to Hungary. He was shot with a pistol near Abda in northeastern Hungary near Sopron allegedly by a guard irritated at his constant scribbling in a small notebook later found in his breast pocket when a mass grave was exhumed.

Lines from "Maybe"
But don't leave me, delicate mind!
Don't let me go crazy.
Sweet wounded reason, don't
leave me now.
Don't leave me. Let me die, without fear,
a clean, lovely death,
like Empedocles, who smiled as he fell
into the crater.

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