instead of a proper post
…have a poem I translated once. I rather like it, though I suppose I’d have done it a bit differently today.
Julian Tuwim, somewhere around 1933
Horrible flats. In horrible flats
Horrible tenants horribly dwell.
On crooked walls, sooty and black.
Creeps a bemolded, wintery hell.
Since morning — babble. They babble all day,
Of rain, of prices, of junk and stuff,
They’ll sit a bit, but they won’t stay,
And all is spectral, and all is bluff.
They’ll check their watch, their pockets probe,
And then descend unto the ground
Gracing with their soles this tiny globe,
So clearly definite, so neat, so round.
All buttoned up, they’ll walk ahead,
Shifting their glances left, right and left,
Watching a movie but seeing instead
Separate snapshots: tree… house… horse… Jeff…
Grab a newspaper like so much dough,
And chew it, chew it into a pap,
Until their brains, bloated and slow,
Swell up obscenely with mushy crap.
You’ll hear them talk, once more, of Ford…
Of God… of Russia… sports, radio, war,
The bullshit grows ten-thousand-fold,
On seas of news they sail, forlorn.
They hang their heads, starved for relief,
By evening fully devoid of thoughts,
Crawl under beds, seeking a thief,
And bang their heads on chamber-pots.
Patting their trousers, darned on the arse,
They look in pockets for old receipts,
Proof of possessions rightly amassed,
Sanctified, holy, exalted writs.
Then pray the Lord their soul to keep…
from famine… war… death… plague rats…
Then, snout on chest, they’ll fall asleep,
The horrible bourgeois in horrible flats.
Subscribe to comments with RSS.