Across the Danube

Sztetyúpák -
Statue Park


Trying To Find
Béla Bartók

the 2004 visit


Finch at the Merlin

Finch in Hungarian


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After two visits to the geographic centre of Europe and the republic that most looks like the Wales, Peter Finch's poetic output appears now in Hungarian translation. If you can read that amazing language check here. Welsh may look like Irish and be totally unpronounceable to anyone living east of the Ebbw but Hungrian defeats even the Russians. It belongs to the Finno-Ugric linguistic group which includes Finnish and Estonian although knowing those languages won't help. The Celts, of course, originated in what is now the Great Hungarian Plain. But Finch saw no druids when he was there. To read Finch's Magyar impressions in English select from the list to your left.




on the hill








Lenin is still here ten miles
out of Budapesht
Szoborpark Diósd direction Balaton
District XXII near Érd
two buses from the Danube
through the depot where it's still
forbidden to take photos past
stocky women in headscarves
past pensioners in ragged
coats past brilliant blue
sunlight shaking the dust from
Hungary's walls. In the park the Evil Empire
still holds - Béla Kun,
Ferenc Münnich, Engels, Marx,
Soviet soldiers, liberators,
nine metre heroes gesturing still
towards the flaking future.
There are cracked faces
and scratched plaques
usurped from Sztálin tér,
ripped from Lenin Boulevard.
A red star flowerbed like the one once
by the Chain Bridge until a Moskovitch
got driven through it in 1989.
Iron guns, men in suits, the fat faces of
central Europe with such determined eyes.The park is capitalist venture I pay to
enter there's a shop selling songs
of the liberators party photographs
minutes of the central agitation and
propaganda committee heroic tyrannical
gun and death Gyula Illyés' hymn to
liberation arc welded onto the entrance gates.
Soviet gone home - air once more on
the Great Plain - the land still full of people.

the future is this way
Szoborpark - the future



Gyula Illyes' hymn to liberation
Sztetyúpárk - the hymn











Late at night across the Liberty Bridge
with the Danube in flood Turul high on
their pillars. Two girls behind me
Tokaji fuelled in the walkway
refuge necking looking
for the sub repatriating the body
of Béla Bartók that radical
Fatboy Bartók bucolic Béla
fundamental mixer
fixing the past for the future
tutor of the revolution
back now it's over
rolling the renamed streets
scratching the free world.

My eyes are like 1950
when the red star was ruby brite
top of the parliament dome
poor light river fog man with an accordion
playing Magyar parasztdalok
horses hats long coats against the
Central European dark.

But it's 2002 submarine
is a buoy on the clean river.
Bartók has given
his gun to Lajkó Félix.
Hiphop népzene
leaks from a window.
Old tram outside my old hotel.
Both are full of light












Trying To Find Béla Bartók

Top of the hill at Farkasréti temetõnél in a mild rainstorm.
The mamoushka flower sellers
in sailing polythene squat by the road.
A Trabant has its front off.
There are bullet holes in the ferro tram stop
and there's a man with a dog.
The guard at the car-park has
the red fire face of a drinker
and no knowledge of this land's greatest son.
The paths like death itself are interminable.
I find him next to Solti
marked by a chisled bass clef
and overgrown with conifer.
There's a fragment of a red star
and no flowers.

Was your visit to Hungary: yes / no
Which of these: Concerto for Orchestra / Hungaroton / Race With The Devil
Rate democracy: 1- speech 2- obstinacy 3 - epic 4 - fiction
How: tin can / mixer deck / mini-bar / high-peak military cap (please circle)

Please hum 14 bagatelles into this microphone



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