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10

god’s zoo move to another music altogether and indeed may have been a Habsburg waltzer in a past life. When I told him on the phone that my world journey through London had brought me to Hungary, or at least that part of it which is to be found in Kentish Town, there was a terse silence. ‘What about it?’ As is so often the case with people who adore the limelight, Rety packs a great deal into the shadows of a previous existence. ‘Will you be my Magyar?’

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Th e autobiographical note John Rety produced for his most recent pamphlet of verse In the Museum (Hearing Eye, 2007) reads:

John Rety was born when he arrived in England in 1947, two years after World War II and at the age of seventeen. He came by the Alberg [sic] Express from Budapest where he was born on 8.12.1930. After a period of 4 years of various employment he began to have work published and became the editor of various literary publications, having had a book of his short stories published in 1951 [sic] (slated by the Catholic Herald and praised by the Morning Advertiser). He turned to poetry around 1980 having fi nally decided to give up painting when in 1977 his studio was broken into and all his paintings were stolen. In the poems printed here a judicious reader will be able to adduce underlying incidents and other signifi cant details of the writer’s life.

Will trains ever again sound our inner disturbances? What better illustrates our rootlessness, an unresolved love aff air, or the swoop of time than a train’s whistle? Th ere was an Austrian movie ArlbergExpress, directed by Eduard von Borsody and produced the same year John Rety made his departure. Th e single mention of it in the British Film Institute archives describes ‘a criminal adventure about a stolen jewel and a young musician who returns home from being a prisoner of war’. Th e fi lm itself is not available. What one hears

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