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Peter J. Oszmann

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  Magda’s Epitaph.
by Peter J. Oszmann
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent poems by Peter J. Oszmann
•  Once upon a time - Sonnet
•  A stroll in the autumn glow - Sonnet
•  Autumn Requiem
•  Hallowed be Thy name…
•  After sunset - Sonnet
           >> View all 256




You see you can no longer hurt me…

Your last cheap joke hit me on the heart…

and whilst - with gritted teeth and angry

despair - I shoved the hard clay, the tart,

rough, sodden earth, onto your coffin

and from my eye a teardrop escaped

and rolled down my nose, and landed in

the dust, your white face I remembered

- amongst the creased sheets a face pallid –

and which the “Dream” charmed into a state

of exalted beauty. In languid

September sunshine that overstate

shadows, I looked at the black, gaping

hole and at the box in which you let

your broken body rest reclining 

and my anguished mind - ready to fret –

painted a mocking, misshapen smile

on the corner of your lips. I felt

that down there - in the cool depth’s exile –

where shadows and the Grim Reaper dwelt,

in a horse voice – just like in the past

often - you laughed at us… and at Death…

I stood… the minutes were running fast…

Pain intensified with every breath…


It was a silly, joke… you may laugh…

you see you can no longer hurt me…

- this will be your fitting epitaph -

…and neither can you ever love me…



© P.J. Oszmann (October 1964 – in Hungarian. English adaptation 2004)

© Illustration created in Photoshop. (2004)




Magda was my favourite aunt. During the last year of war - whilst in hiding from the Nazis under assumed names – she became my mother, according to the identity papers we carried.

She was a tower of strength; without her courage, astuteness and protective love, I do not think I could have survived.


When we arrived to London as penniless refugees in 1956, she gave us food and shelter, although by then she was seriously ill and exhausted. Consequently – and uncharacteristically - she became bitter and resentful about life and people around her.


She passed away – after her second open-heart surgery – in September 1964.

She lives on in my heart.





The original Hungarian poem:






Látod, már nem bánthatsz többet…

Utolsó rosszízű trėfád sziven ütött,

s miközben összeszorított szájjal, s dühödt

elkeseredėssel a földet

- az agyagos, kemėny durva rögöt –

taszitottam koporsódra

ės szememböl egy könnycsepp kiszökött

s orcámon vėgigpergett,

visszaemlėkeztem arcodra,

- a sok fehėr lepedő között

szintelen arcra – melyet

magasztos szėppė varázsolt az álom…

A Szeptemberi bágyadt napsütėsben

a feketėn tátongó gödröt nėztem,

s a ládát, melyben megtört tested

a pihenėsnek átengedted;

s gyötört kėpzetem szádnak szögletėbe

egy gúnyos kis torzmosolyt festett,

s ėreztem, hogy ott lent a hüvös mėlyben

rekedt hangon – mint máskor tetted –

mirajtunk nevettėl… ės a halálon…


Buta ėrtelmetlen vicc volt… Nevethetsz…

de… látod már nem báthatsz többet…

                          … ės nem is szerethetsz…


© P. J. Oszmann (October 1964)





Word by word translation:




You see, you can no longer hurt me…

Your last tasteless joke hit me on the heart…

and whilst - with gritted teeth and angry

despair - I shoved the hard clay,

the rough, sodden earth, onto your casket

and from my eye a teardrop escaped

and rolled down my nose,

I remembered your face

- amongst the many white sheets colourless face –

and which the “Dream” charmed

into a state of exalted beauty.

In the languid September sunshine

I looked at the black, gaping hole and at the box

in which you let your broken body to rest

and my tormented imagination painted a mocking,

misshapen little smile into the corner of your mouth.

And I felt, that down there - in the cool depth -

in a horse voice – just like many times in the past –

you laughed at us… and at death…


It was a silly, meaningless joke… you may laugh…

But, you see, you can no longer hurt me…

             …and neither can you love…













Jew Be or Not Jew Be

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Reviewed by L. Figgins 2/19/2005
Poignant. Beautiful flow to this poem...
Reviewed by Dens Dreamweaver (Reader) 2/9/2005
Your note at the end added so much more to the poem. After reading about your Aunt - it compelled me to go back and re-read your poem again, and again. I've always admired your writing. Am so glad I am back at the Den so I can once more read your treasures.

Reviewed by Andre Bendavi ben-YEHU 2/9/2005

An intriguing composition poemized with true emotions. It is
an outstanding poem that strikes the imagination and makes one think
on life and relationship.

Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
Reviewed by M. B. 2/8/2005
*Magda's Epitaph* is both moving and inspiring, flowing beautifully while being read aloud.
Reviewed by Mitzi Jackson 2/8/2005
this is what makes you great........withstand!!!
hurt and anger and an overshadowing love
rich have it all hear..........
Reviewed by Tracey L. O' Very (Reader) 2/7/2005
A Wonderful Woman Not only will you never forget but you have brought her here to me and I shall never forget her either.
Thank You Peter for sharing all these times with me.
Take care of you and your family Big Bear hugs and kisses to all too.
Love Tracey xooxox
Reviewed by Gabor Renner (Reader) 2/7/2005
Nomen es omen, dear Peter!

Magda of blessed memory,
Let us honour her name:
"Magda" akin to Magdalene
(Miriam) "of Magdala"
Experiencing the cruelty
And the pain of the world around her.
And "Magda" akin to Migdala,
A "Fortress, Tower" of strength,
Protecting those within her keep.

Yours compassionately

PS. Again astonished of our parallel destinies.
Tante Gisi (o.b.m.) was my "tower"
Reviewed by Ed Matlack 2/6/2005
I'd say this is an off handed tribute to you aunt, Peter, and while she may not have understood her significance to you, I would be willing to bet, if there is a life after death, she is smiling at the fact that you tried to create a tribute of some kind to her...Find Peace thru the Write, Ed & Rufuz
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 2/6/2005
heartwrenching write, peter; i am so sorry for the pain you still feel in your heart! you are always in my thoughts and prayers!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in america, karen lynn in texas. :( >tears <
Reviewed by Judy Lloyd (Reader) 2/6/2005
Yes this is a heart breaking story and you did a fantastic job of writing about this terrible time in our world history.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 2/6/2005

A heartbreaking loss...I'm so sorry. A powerful write--thank you for sharing Magda with us.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla. :(

Books by
Peter J. Oszmann

Jew Be or Not Jew Be; The Story of a Perpetual Alien

  1. abstraction on evergreen sojourn
  2. Encounters: Little Red Riding Hood (and ot
  3. The Beauty Of Spring
  4. Again I Ask For More...
  5. This Woman
  6. The Freight Train
  7. What Will Be
  8. The Dancer
  9. Absurd Valley
  10. The Dream Me
  11. Standing Tall
  12. I Wish I Knew
  13. an aging man still searching...
  14. What is Left
  15. Women Are Women
  16. Dew Drop Clause
  17. We Were Blessed
  18. Reciting Those Words
  19. Word’s Amative Verse, of Baccara’s Black R
  20. Sundown in Thibodaux

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