Question & Answer 1 – George Szirtes

Question 1

When I see him, he is no longer clad
in his national song, no longer
crossing the Danube in confusion –
fight or flee. He is now a one-man brewery
flush with reasons. The story reminds me

of how he fled to Austria, shipped up
in Plymouth, learnt English
from Laurel and Hardy, watched my father
burn his bridges. My dictator lead

the charge against my Magyar
hero, threw sixty years of history into a broken
flat in Fraddon. They slipped through the cracks
in my father’s lies, my nagyapa left
to watch the foam settle on gold

coins, silver too, as his purpose
became lost. Have you surrendered more
than you thought you could? I gave up
my family for a piece of Hungarian history, threw
away a cult for a hero.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

The country you leave is the country you lose
The journey you take is the path that you choose.
The blue sky is blue but it’s also the blues
There is no returning.

The border you cross is the border you’ve crossed
The language you speak is the language you lost
The footprints you make are merely embossed
They’ve gone by the morning.

The place where you settle is what you become
The more that you speak the more you are dumb.
The more your heart beats the more it’s a drum.
The more it’s in mourning.

The country is closing, its doors are now locked
The goods you once purchased are no longer stocked.
You’re somebody else but no one is shocked
It’s all in the learning.

You could have sung laughter, the note’s on the score.
You could have loved better, you could have loved more.
You could have relaxed on the sand on the shore
Where all suns are burning.

But sometimes you leave since there’s nothing to lose.
You might not have chosen but still opt to choose.
The blues are the blues are the blues are the blues
And there’s no returning.

– George Szirtes

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