When I found a stack of poems, in Hungarian, dating from the 1930s I hoped I had a trove that would yield the secrets of Paul Weidlinger’s teenage years. It turns out that most of them are drivel (sort of what you’d expect from a teenage boy) but there is a particularly dark one that I found interesting. The Ballad of the Invalids is dated September 7, 1932. Below are both the original Hungarian and an English translation. (To Hungarian, bi-lingual readers: Can you suggest any improvements on the translation?) Paul was seventeen when he wrote it. I wonder if it is a veiled reflection of his political views. He belonged to an underground communist youth group and contributed to their paper, The Red Student. Young people, aligning themselves against the proto-fascist government of Miklós Horthy, were awakened to the suffering of their nation’s peasant class. Was the revolt of the “invalids” against the “healthy” a metaphor for the proletariat versus the aristocracy?
Click on the pdf to read poem in Hungarian or English.
BALLAD OF THE INVALIDS