Friday, 10 April 2015

Happy Stone Castle

On 5/4/15 my parents took me back to the place where I was conceived. Boldogkővár (translated: Happy Stone Castle) is in the North-East of Hungary, near the Slovakian border. 

Fűzér Castle
The day was a nostalgic journey, we visited two castles in one day. The first was Fűzér Castle, and Fűzér village, where my parents got married on October 13th in 1962. Three authorities had to permit my being: the postman and policeman of the village were their witnesses at the registry office and then they sneaked into the church as well, just to secure God's will (or the Church's - I am sure I had had God's will many times over by then). In 1962 in Hungary people went to church incognito. Not that my parents were very religious, but they wanted to satisfy my grandmother's needs. 

An interesting detail came to light on this occasion: my father told me that they had wanted to get married on 12th October, but because they were hikers and it was such an unusual thing to do to just turn up in the village in your hiker gear and demand to be wed, the registrar postponed the ceremony to the 13th and went to the county head office to ask for permission. So my parents broke new grounds and finally got married on 13th October - a Friday.
The Catholic Church 
 By the time they walked over to Boldogkővár on their honeymoon hiking tour - some 50 kms in the mountains of Zemplen - the villagers'  gossip had already overtaken them. The people in the village asked them whether they have heard about the hikers that had got married in Fűzér - and my parents laughingly revealed their identity. 

This time we had lunch in the castle cave, where there is a Mediaeval Restaurant. All cutlery and plates are made of wood and the menu is phenomenal. No fizzy drinks, all home made and all the food is cooked on open fire. There, I read some more about the castle in old-new Hungarian - in verse, stating that the castle must have got its name from a man who must have lead a very happy life in that castle. This is extremely reassuring. 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Dreaming of Poetry

Last night I had this vivid dream of being in Heaney's House. There were many of us, having been invited for the weekend. In every room of his house there was a red-framed old fashioned black board on the wall with lines written on it in white  chalk or pages pinned onto it. He did not say a word, but radiated goodness and it felt like home. I woke up with a feeling of warmth around my heart.

Of course, I am now reminded of his last words to his wife: Noli Timere - Don't be afraid. He left this warning behind and the words became magnified in the light of finality. FEAR is the worst enemy of peace and this is an extremely important message, not only for Northern Ireland. Noli Timere, had become a metaphor for wisdom and a life lived well.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Emigrant Woman's Tale

Here we are at the eve of this first performance that I am doing with Fil Campbell, singer song writer from Rostrevor.

It has been nearly a year we first started talking about this project, which is a story of immigration, told in poetry and songs. We had support from the Art's Council of Northern Ireland and our local Council who supported a stay in Annaghmakerrig, at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.

We will first perform it in Rostrevor, in this truly international village we happened to meet in.

She is from Belleek near the West Coast of Ireland. I am from Hungary, the most eastern edge of Central Europe - we are both "blow-ins" as the locals call us, nevertheless, to quote Fil "this is the place we call home".

Scheduled performances so far:
14th March 2 pm at the Book Corner in Rostrevor
14th April 7 pm at NoAlibis Book Store Belfast.

A book with memoirs, short fiction, song lyrics and poetry with a CD is attached that we will launch at the event.

Hope to see you there.

Here is a first review from a reader:

Csilla Toldy
If a soul seeking - prior to its fall into the manifestation of life -  an efficient way in which to develop and grow through adversity, oppression and insecurity, then Ms Toldy is certainly a masterful mistress of such a design.
This pilgrimage of a journey has been beautifully and poignantly expressed through her writings and poetry; none more so than in her in her latest book The Emigrant Woman’s Tale. 
It would be a mistake to venture or even attempt any critique on this work, other than to say, read it with an open heart, and know yourself better!
Keith ap Owen