The Garde du Nord was frantic

the night I took the sleeper east

my destination Budapest

my fleeting dream you might fly in from Nice


Too long we both had waited

me delaying, always fearing the worst

yet as the stench of false freedom faded

I travelled unfazed and unrehearsed


’56 had seen Soviet tanks

destroy any glimmer of liberations hope

even so our love had blossomed

looking back how did we cope?


The lucky ones escaped they say

from the stamp of Mother Russia’s boots

yet what kind of freedom is it

when you leave behind your roots?


I had heard your Riviera days

were not without a little sorrow

and I kept the keepsake your family sent

held on to it like no tomorrow


Yet now all these decades later

a Warsaw Pact no more

impeding our right to be here again

and to savour passions red blooded roar


At journey’s end I delayed

a still frame of you inside my head

and on Heroes Square I spread your ashes

you, my lover, long since dead



A revised version of a verse posted way back and themed around an old Hungarian chap, long gone, I once knew



      1. Ouch! I forgot about that one. My Lieutenant at the MPD took a year off to work for the UN as police chief of Tuzla. He described it as Appalachia with automatic weapons.

      2. My first wife drove an aid lorry out there…they had to give stuff away each border/section they crossed to rather unpleasant types with guns. By the time they got to the people who needed the stuff there was sweet fanny adams left by all accounts!

    1. I would be proud for the old boy I got to know quite well who told me his story all those years gone if you spread the word far and wide…I will admit to a few tears alone that night. True love, as the old song goes, ‘is a many splendid thing’

    1. Glad you liked it. Had a granddad who fought in WW1 and a dad who was a POW for the whole of WW2 (got conscripted not that long after signing professional contract for Brentford FC at 19 years and never played football again poor sod) so have always had a fascination, add my love of European history and I find myself on safe territory…yet of all the tales of war it is – even if I sound like a soppy old fool – it is those of enduring love during the hardest times that stay with me. Not just the fictional yet those born of fact also. The Glass Room by Simon Mawer remains a particular favourite in the sublime fictional regard.

      1. I totally agree re the enduring love bit. I am not soppy but I did love Atonement. He is trying so hard to get back to her and he doesn’t That is the bit that does it for me as a story. My granddad ran away to ww1 aged 13. he did the four years, was badly wounded so latterly he was a driver. He died not long after I was born but I gather he was a monster because of it all. how could you be otherwise? . By the age of 27 he’d fought that conflict and his wife had died leaving him with a young family. My own dad was in a reserved occupation but he joined up eventually, did what remained , Korea and Suez in bomb disposal. I have all the pictures he and my mum sighed to each other during these times. Soppy does not begin to cover it when I look at them .

      2. Truly wonderful stuff…it is all too easy in the first flush, so much better as the tale unfolds…especially so if the ‘endures’ factor persists. In that regard I count myself the luckiest of blokes. Am sure you and yours are the same. A good thing indeed

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