In Memoriam
(For György Faludy, 1910-2006)


Even the best of us, you thought, were doomed to fall
for even the best of health could grant us no reprieve.
How well you fail the test!... Poet, rest in peace.
Your critics have dispersed… And you are alive
in timeless rhymes that will survive the rest of us.

Thomas Land

György Faludy (1910-2006) was one of the great poets of modern Europe. He spent his final, extraordinarily creative, years in his native Hungary, where he returned after decades of self-imposed exile. He then married Fanny Kovács, a poet aged 28, and outraged the authorities with his riotous way of life while basking in the love of his enormous loyal public. Maecenas Press of Budapest has marked the centenary of his birth by publishing a Faludy collection in English translation (37 Vers/37 Poems, trans. Peter Zollman, 2010, 208pp., ISBN: 9789632032252, 2,490 Forints or about £8).
His 1962 memoir, My Happy Days in Hell, is published in Penguin Modern Classics. It is an incisive account of the demoralising effects of Communism and the horrors of forced labour - but is also very funny, and utterly life-enhancing. The critic Philip Toynbee once wrote: 'Faludy is the man we would all like to be.' Few books say as much about the central, most appalling  experiences of the twentieth century.

If you have any comments on this poem, Thomas Land would be pleased to hear from you.