Looking Back Poem

The 1956 Hungarian Revolution
As seen through the eyes of an eight-year-old 
By Jules Apatini


In 1956, a dreary day in Budapest,
An eight-year-old child, I was, feeling blessed.
Living across from Corvin, a store so grand,
Amidst a city where turmoil was at hand.

The streets filled with slogans, voices raised,
Russians Go Home, the people praised.
Songs of freedom echoed through the air,
As innocence danced, unaware.

On the balcony, my sister and I stood,
Lost in the joy of the neighborhood.
But Grandma knew the danger in sight,
She beckoned us inside, out of the fight.

Night fell, and sounds of firecrackers burst,
Unaware of the severity, we quenched our thirst.
The party turned to revolt, a fight for freedom’s breath,
Against the Communist regime, in the face of death.

We listened to the radio, as a family we stayed,
The news of the revolt, the progress they made.
Trips to the basement, with neighbors in tow,
Unaware of the shelter from a devastating blow.

Days went by, with hope in our hearts,
Freedom fighters gaining ground, playing their parts.
But November 4 brought darkness and pain,
As Russian troops invaded, bringing death and disdain.

In the basement, we huddled, fear gripping our soul,
The tanks outside, their barrels taking their toll.
Our apartment damaged, a hole in the wall,
Witnessing destruction, our world about to fall.

Yet amidst the chaos, my Grandpa stood tall,
Removing a bomb, risking it all.
The hero of my eyes, his bravery unmatched,
In that moment, my admiration was attached.

Hungarians cried for help, a plea to the West,
But their voices went unheard, their dreams suppressed.
The fight continued, with bare hands they fought,
Against the enemy, with homemade weapons sought.

The world changed, lives lost, sacrifices made,
In the name of freedom, a debt that won’t fade.
And so, our family knew, we had to escape,
Through the woods at night, a dangerous landscape.

With bullets overhead, danger lurking near,
We made it to the border, fleeing from fear.
To Vienna, we arrived, seeking a new start,
But it was in Rome, color entered my heart.

From black and white memories, a vibrant hue,
As a refugee, my life took on something new.
The Hungarian Revolution, a turning point indeed,
Shaping history, planting a revolutionary seed.

Now at 75, I reflect on the past,
The challenges faced, memories that will last.
In a world filled with uncertainty and strife,
May peace prevail, and we embrace a better life.