In Memoriam: Thomas Ország-Land d. 2018

I am sad to have to record the death of Thomas Ország-Land, a frequent and valued contributor to this magazine. Indeed, his poem dedicated to his son, David, in the last issue (No.82, re-printed below), although I did not realised it at the time, could stand as a final valediction. A Hungarian, moving between London and Budapest, he was an award-winning journalist and foreign correspondent for The Guardian and The Observer. Latterly, he moved from London to Israel, covering the Eastern Mediterranean. In addition, he was a poet and a translator, particularly concentrating on Jewish Hungarian poets caught up in the Holocaust. He published a book of translations of one such poet, Miklós Radnóti, having, from 2003 onwards, first published a number of them in Pennine Platform, where they were very well received. Although I never met him in person, I grew to respect, value and like him very much through our correspondence in which we discussed each other’s poetry and life in general. His death makes the world a lesser place. Our sympathy goes out to his family. 

Nicholas

Jerusalem Heirloom 
to my son Dávid 

My father taught me to die, 
when I must, like a human being. 
My mother taught me to trust 
and sing like a human being. 

And a boy and a king, alone 
with a stone, a sling and a harp 
has left me the chutzpah to try 

to hone and sharpen and fling 
each thought and word and line 
beyond the confines of time 
that bind a human being. 

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