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Peter J. Oszmann

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Books by Peter J. Oszmann
  The Gnome King’s Jester
by Peter J. Oszmann
Sunday, June 05, 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

(An Allegorical Tale)




Into a Royal cradle I was born

In a marble palace reaching to the clouds

And my regal arrival’s golden morn’

Was heralded in by the cheering crowds.


Until midnight echoed the merriment,

They feasted over the hills and meadows,

I was a tiny babe, yet that moment

I was a King that no one could depose.


I gave the people mesmerising songs,

Magical potions to the lover’s heart;

Gave them ecstasy, that rightly belongs

To lovers of Beethoven and Mozart.


My palace on the peaks of Parnassus stood,

Way-way above the unreachable clouds,

A safe, secure place, where the likelihood

Was nil to be threatened by hostile crowds.


Yet a Shadow moved into my palace,

Grabbed me from my cot, murdered my parents,

Then compelled me, with extreme callousness,

To bow to him and start paying penance.


In pied clothing, with rattle in my hand,

I follow flattering a tyrant Gnome,

Making him laugh, making him feel so grand…

I am his Jester in my Royal home.


He is nothing but an ugly little gnome,

With spilt blood dripping from both of his hands,

These days the gnomes are “big” in my home

And I play the fool, just as he commands.


But he cannot kill the song in my soul;

He is the true Fool and I am the King.

I maybe living inside a hellhole,

But merrily I laugh and sing and sing:


“One day the sky will clear above my head,

Vanished be the sorrow and the heartache,

The Fool will rise and liberty will spread

And the Gnome King will perish at the stake.”


Till then I jest and like a fool I sing,

There’s smile on my face, whilst inside the tears

Run to my soul, and I sing with aching

Heart, waiting to hear the merry crowd’s cheers:


“Tyrant beware! Today’s sorrow is mine,

Today your whip may leave marks on my back,

But tomorrow I will at last consign

You to a dump and bring liberty back.


One day the sky will clear above our head,

Vanished be the sorrow and the heartache,

All the Fools will rise and Freedom will spread

And all Gnome Kings will perish at the stake.”


© P. J. Oszmann (1953 – in Hungarian. English transliteration 2003)

© Illustration created in Photoshop




The original of this poem was written on the 27th of October 1953, just seven months after Stalin’s death (5 March 1953). Tyranny in Hungary was still at its heights. Rákosi – Stalin’s Hungarian henchman and head of the ruling Communist Party, a short, squat, bold man – was in power. His reign of terror was as unremitting as Stalin’s. He ordered the torture and execution of many innocent people on drummed up charges during his reign. (My mother was interned during this period for over three years without trial. Her “crime” was helping her sister’s escape from Hungary in the spring of 1949 after the “Iron Curtain” came down on Hungary’s western border. During her interrogation, after her arrest, she was beaten senseless and kept in solitary confinement without food or water for days and was deprived of sleep until she confessed to her “crime”. She was released in the spring of 1953.)


The Hungarian Uprising began on the 23rd of October 1956, almost exactly three years after this poem was written. Rákosi was deposed and escaped to Moscow. He was never brought to trial for his crimes. Imre Nagy – another Communist, but who stood for reforms and was briefly Prime Minister in 1953 and again during the Uprising – was executed on Soviet orders, after the Red Army crushed the revolt. Freedom to Hungary only arrived after the collapse of the Soviet Union.


The English version above is a “free” transliteration/rework, rather than a literary translation.



I give the word-by-word translation below:



I was born into a Royal cradle

In a marble palace reaching to the clouds,

A multitude of curious people thronged around me

On the golden dawn of my birth.


Until midnight the merriment echoed,

They feasted over hills and meadows,

I was a tiny babe in a cot,

Yet I reigned over multitudes.


I gave them mesmerising songs,

Magic potions to lover’s heart,

To lover’s heart ecstasy and rapture

I gave them the spring nights.


My palace stood on the peaks of Parnass’,

Above unreachable clouds,

Myriad stars were my diadem,

But a shadow moved into my home.


A shadow that become the killer of my family,

A shadow that stealthily grabbed me from my cradle,

Wrenched me from my Royal pomp,

Put a hump on my back and a fool’s cap on my head.


Rattle in my hand, in pied clothing

I follow kowtowing behind a tyrant,

Make him laugh and when he is fed up with my jest

He kicks his shoes into my side.


He is an ugly little gnome, not reaching up to my shoulders,

On his hands spilt blood steams;

Yes, these days the gnomes are “big”

And in my own home I am the fool.


Tralalla, trallala, trallalala

You are the fool and I am the king,

The fool’s song is always merry,

He laughs even when his heart aches.


Tralalla, trallala, trallalala

The sky will clear above my head

And the fool’s victory will come

When the gnome king will burn at the stake.


Until then like a fool I laugh,

My face laughs whilst the tears

Run inside and I sing even if

My heart shatters.


Tralalla, trallala, trallalala

Tyrant beware! Today the sorrow is mine, tomorrow it’s yours.

Today your whip marks my back,

Tomorrow I will grip your throat.


Tralalla, trallala, trallalala

The sky will clear above my head

And the fools victory will come

When the gnome kings will burn at the stake.



A disclaimer footnote to footnotes: (in case anyone should wonder)

I have neither noble nor royal pretences. The reference to “royal” is purely allegorical

and the narration in first person singular was intended to refer to poetry and literature in general,

rather than any single person.


Literature and all the arts in the Communist era were made totally subservient to the whims of the Communist Party.

Nothing could be published without strict Party censorship. The above poem – if found  – could have earned me very harsh punishment.





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Reviewed by Tracey L. O' Very (Reader)
First I want to say how sorry I am for you and your family and your heartwrenching tragedies. A very strong brave man and family. Your poem speaks with such volume of truth of play the game of the real fool who only fools himself. This is an Excellent Powerful Poem and I thank you so Very Much for the history and the double translations of your exquistie poem.
All my love for you and your family always and forever, xooxxoox
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner

An exceptional history lesson with a moral lesson, exceptionally penned.

(((HUGS))) and much love, Karla. :(
Reviewed by Andre Bendavi ben-YEHU

This poem written in 1953 is a live picture of today´s reality.
"The Gnome King’s Jester" is a photo of today´s "DEMON+cracy." (Criminal records of OTAN, VATICAN, CANTERBURY and UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL´S FIVE PERMANENT MEMBERS will certify to that.)

"The Gnome King’s Jester" is a full compliance to Poetry´s mission,
presenting its historic account for the enrichment of the Major Art, and delivering its message with golden letters.

Healthier be the eyes of those that can read
this poem, "The Gnome King’s Jester ".

Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
Reviewed by Ronald Hull
If you can jest, and somehow fool and outlive the tyrant, you will live to see a better day. Thank you, Peter, for sharing this bit of hisory with us.

Reviewed by Ed Matlack
You write of a sad time in Hungary's past, hopefully it has gotten better now that the Iron Curtain was taken to the cleaners and lost...I hope that at some time in life your Mom found some semblance of freedom and happiness...if she knew you now, she would be quite proud...! Find Peace, Ed & Rufuz
Reviewed by L. Figgins
Lust for power rules the world and crushes life. Grand analogy, Peter. A fine poem...
Reviewed by Sandie Angel
Dear Peter:

I'm sorry to learn about what your mother had gone through in her lifetime. It must have been a very painful ordeal, and moreso for you to remember the details of what and how painful it must have been for her.

I'm also very happy to learn of her release from the prison, which means that she was not considered guilty as charged after all. It was a bad memory for both you and your mother, and I hope in time you will find release from such bad memory and remember the good things in life that comes before this and after this. Take care.

((((( Love and Hugs )))))

Sandie May Angel a.k.a. Sandie Angel :o)
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