Farewell my friend.
What was the hurry, what urgent call you heard?
Why sudden departure, disrupted night’s dream?
Leaving in such haste positively absurd,
Did you hear a harp or just followed a scream?
I stand here bewildered; don’t believe the news,
Yet I well know that every journey must end,
Life pays dividends and death collects its dues…
But parting is such a sweet sorrow my friend.
Fifty years of friendship abruptly ended,
Nothing but bittersweet memories remain,
Upon your eyes deep and dark sleep descended,
Which eternity will forever maintain.
With heavy heart my friend I say my farewell,
Till over the moonbeams again we shall meet.
Wherever you are, may you always fare well,
May your dreams remain forever pure and sweet.
Mi volt a sietség, a sürgös hivás
A gyors távozás, megszakitott álom?
Ily gyorsan menni, céltalan kihivás
Hárfadalt követsz? Rėszt veszel egy bálon?
Itt állok zavartan; nem hiszem a hirt,
- Tudván hogy ėlet útad vėgėre ėrt -
Ėlet ad kölcsönt, s halál egy nėma sírt,
De búcsuzni sziv nem tud, bár ėsz megėrt.
Ötven ėv barátság hirt’len megszakad,
Csak emlėk kėp marad keserü – ėdes,
Szemeidre álom, ólom suly akad,
S a vėgtelensėg már többė nem kėtes.
Nehėz szivvel mondok búcsut Tenėked
Mig ujra találkozunk hodfėny felett,
Bárhol lėgy, Jóisten legyen Tevėled
S álmodj örökkė álmot, szėpeket.
© P. J. Oszmann (1 May 2004)
Photograph taken last year on his visit to us.
I met György (George) – or Gyuri as we all called him – in 1952 when we were freshmen at the Medical University in Budapest. Almost immediately we became good friends and remained good friends in spite of distance and changed circumstances.
I do not know any way to measure friendship, but if there were any meaningful way to measure it I would give him ten out of ten with honours and gold stars. Suffice to say that he was a true friend, a true gentleman, with an outstanding intellect and learning. One of the many common bonds between us was our love of Hungarian poetry. For the rest of my days I will sorely miss him.
I am posting this poem in two versions, in English and in Hungarian. In Hungarian, because I feel he deserved that much, it was our common language after all.
The news of his passing shook me and I felt compelled to say my farewell the only way open to me under the circumstances. In this instance it was not a matter of translation. The two versions occurred almost intuitively and simultaneously. The English version was written first. There are slight variations in the wording between the two, but in essence the message and the format is the same in both versions.