Monthly Archives: July 2017

Letter to Beirut

On November 4, 1959, while Vlado was working in Beirut as Legal and Political Adviser to the UNEF in the Middle East, there was a fight between four Egyptian and six Israeli jets at the border of the two countries. Here is a letter from Vlado’s father, Pavel, written the following day, which has a news clipping in German referencing this event. I can’t properly translate the Slovak, but it shows Pavel’s usual sense of humor, in the format of a mock newspaper front page – especially the magazine image he altered to look like Vlado, with his nose in a book at the beach, surrounded by women trying to get his attention, ha! He was so funny. I’ve included a couple photos of Pavel, showing what he looked like around this time.

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Poem for Vlado

Fabry Archive - Selected Photographs (86)

Looking through the family papers today, I found a poem by Olinka Fabry, written in tribute of her brother Vlado.  I share it here with love to the both of them.

To Vlado

You died, as you lived –

not fearless, nor reckless,

but wisely bargaining

the single coin of life

for the one thing it is worth,

to bargain for

not for the siren song of gold

nor for the temptation of flesh

nor for the praise of men –

but to help life bloom and sing

and save it from withering away

For while we procrastinated

while we withdrew and barricaded ourselves in our insides

you stepped out –

with a pick and the rope, climbed to the top

into the streaming sunshine of bullets

and called to the man, behind the bush

to come out and talk over his grievance….

Now that it’s consummated,

we see it well, this hard won lesson:

not for the thrill

nor to subdue the mountain

but to steel the gaze

at the edge of the abyss

so when time comes

for the free man

he shall not flinch,

he shall not be found wanting.

Enter now in the hall of fame

of our small mountainfolk,

join the heroes standing around

the famous cliff – straight as candles –

you who wrote their courage in the sky

for all the world to see.

Of you I sing on this foreign shore

gentle as white wool of our lambs

hard as the granite of our cliffs.

You shall not walk again the mountain path

but your name shall be whispered

when the forest sings