Franz Kafka

Saturday, October 14, 2017

"Sera d’ottobre" (October Evening) by Giovanni Pascoli. English translation, with original Italian text. "Sera d’ottobre" (October Evening) from the collection "Myricae" (1891-1900)


Autumn Landscape with Four Trees, Vincent van Gogh, 1885; Nuenen, Netherlands


The following translation of "Sera d’ottobre" ("October Evening") by Giovanni Pascoli is from the book "The Poems of Giovanni Pascoli: Translated in English, with Original Italian Text," published by LiteraryJoint Press (2017). Also available as Amazon ebook (Free on Kindle Unlimited!)  

    



October Evening



Along the street you see on the hedge
red berries laughing in clusters:
in the plowed fields to the shed make
             a late return the cows.

Along the road a poor lad with a tired tread is 
shuffling along slowly on the crispy leaves:
in the fields a young girl to the wind starts to sing:
                        Flower of thorns!...





Sera d’Ottobre



Lungo la strada vedi su la siepe
ridere a mazzi le vermiglie bacche:
nei campi arati tornano al presepe
                tarde le vacche.

Vien per la strada un povero che il lento
passo tra foglie stridule trascina:
nei campi intuona una fanciulla al vento:
                    Fiore di spina!...


From the collection “Myricae” (1891-1900)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

"Il Bosco" (The Wood) by Giovanni Pascoli. English translation, with original Italian text. "Il Bosco" (The Wood) from the collection "Myricae" (1891-1900)


Girl in White in the Woods, August 1882, Oil on paper mounted on canvas, Kröller-Müller Museum, the Netherlands


The following translation of "Il Bosco" ("The Wood") by Giovanni Pascoli is from the book "The Poems of Giovanni Pascoli: Translated in English, with Original Italian Text," published by LiteraryJoint Press (2017). Also available as Amazon ebook (Free on Kindle Unlimited!)  
 

The Wood



Oh, old wood full of arbutuses,
which smells of mushrooms and casts a spell,
which I already heard ringing loud
with invisible cicadas and birds:

within you live the mischievous fauns
at the mercy of which are airs that whisper;
lives the nymph, who the slow steps spies,
her blonde hair in the flickering shadows.

At dawn, through the brushwood the nymphs 
appear at times, if the desire wins them over,
some the eye catches, and the sun kisses.

And they disappear; yet alive is the thicket,
always alive in the flowers of the periwinkle
and in the great wisps of the acacia shrubs.





Il Bosco



O vecchio bosco pieno d'albatrelli,
che sai di funghi e spiri la malìa,
cui tutto io già scampanellare udia
di cicale invisibili e d'uccelli:

in te vivono i fauni ridarelli
ch'hanno le sussurranti aure in balìa;
vive la ninfa, e i passi lenti spia,
bionda tra le interrotte ombre i capelli.

Di ninfe albeggia in mezzo alla ramaglia
or sì or no, che se il desio le vinca,
l'occhio alcuna ne attinge, e il sol le bacia.

Dileguano; e pur viva è la boscaglia,
viva sempre ne' fior della pervinca
e nelle grandi ciocche dell'acacia.


From the collection “Myricae” (1891-1900)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Montale's Essential: The Poems of Eugenio Montale in English


Cover of  "Montale's Essential: The Poems of Eugenio Montale in English," published by LiteraryJoint Press, 2017.

Eugenio Montale’s idiosyncratic poetry has challenged many English-language translators because of its obscure, often cryptic language. This essential anthology of Montale's work, the latest and most comprehensive English translation of this century, features poems from his masterpiece collections "Ossi di Seppia" (Cuttlefish Bones, 1925,) "Le Occasioni" (The Occasions, 1939,) and "Xenia” (1966.) ebook available on Amazon and Kobo.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"Paese notturno" (Hamlet at Night) by Giovanni Pascoli. English translation, with original Italian text. "Paese notturno" (Hamlet at Night) from the collection "Myricae" (1891-1900)

The following translation of "Paese Notturno" ("Hamlet at Night") by Giovanni Pascoli is from the book "The Poems of Giovanni Pascoli: Translated in English, with Original Italian Text," published by LiteraryJoint Press (2017). Also available as Amazon ebook (Free on Kindle Unlimited!)  


The "weighing of the heart," from the book of the dead of Hunefer. Anubis is portrayed as both guiding the deceased forward and manipulating the scales, under the scrutiny of the ibis-headed Thoth.


Hamlet at Night 

Hubs, haystack poles, and trees to the moon
are they a worship temple to ancient Anubis(*),
or a gloomy ruin? The clouds cast a dark
shadow

on the countryside, and deeper and fuller,
on the strange rubble, the night is pressing,
hidden from sight, where a chained dog
is whining.

There on the horizon is the golden scythe:
little by little is painting two black spires,
from there, I know not what so pure white. Is it the white
front of a sphinx?

(*) Anubis: (Ancient Greek: Ἄνουβις) or Anpu is the Greek name of a god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion, usually depicted as a canine or a man with a canine head. 



Paese notturno


Capanne e stolli ed alberi alla luna
sono, od un tempio dell’antico Anubi,
fosca rovina? Stampano una bruna
                                        orma le nubi

su la campagna, e più profonda e piena
la notte preme le macerie strane,
chiuse allo sguardo, dove alla catena
                                        uggiola un cane.

Ecco la falce d’oro all’orizzonte:
due nere guglie a man a man dipinge,
indi non so che candido. Una fronte
                                        bianca di sfinge?

Monday, September 4, 2017

"Notte" (Night) by Giovanni Pascoli. English translation, with original Italian text. "Notte" (Night) from the collection "Myricae" (1891-1900)



"Starry Night," by Vincent van Gogh Year (1889,)  Museum of Modern Art, New York City.


The following translation of "Notte" (Night) by Giovanni Pascoli is from the book "The Poems of Giovanni Pascoli: Translated in English, with Original Italian Text," published by LiteraryJoint Press (2017). Also available as Amazon ebook (Free on Kindle Unlimited!)  




Night



Young ladies at the buzzing spinning wheels,
and the oil lamp gilds their blonde heads:

the blonde hair, the black starry eyes,
they turn to the window now and then:

are they expecting white knights
crossing over the dark wall of sound?

They talk about love, courtesy, wonders:
so they talk waiting the break of dawn.  



Notte


Siedon fanciulle ad arcolai ronzanti,
e la lucerna i biondi capi indora:

i biondi capi, i neri occhi stellanti,
volgono alla finestra ad ora ad ora:

attendon esse cavalieri erranti
che varcano la tenebra sonora?

Parlan d’amor, di cortesie, d’incanti:
così parlando aspettano l’aurora.


From the collection “Myricae” (1891-1900)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"Der Kaufmann," by Franz Kafka: "The merchant (or The Businessman)," English version. "Der Kaufmann, The merchant (or The Businessman)," by Franz Kafka, translated in English, with Original Text in German


Portrait of Franz Kafka as a young man.

From "The Tales of Franz Kafka: English Translation With Original Text In German," available as e-book on Amazon KindleiPhone, iPad, or iPod touchon NOOK Bookon Kobo, and as printed, traditional edition through Lulu.  



The Merchant (or The Businessman)



It is possible that some people are sorry for me, but I am not aware of it. My small business fills me with worries that make my forehead and temples ache inside, yet without offering any prospect of relief, for my shop is a small one.
I have to spend hours in advance to make things ready, refresh the memory of the house servant, warn him for fear of mistakes, and figure out each season of the year what the next season's fashions are to going be, and not the ones prevailing among the people I know, but those appealing to inaccessible peasants in the deep countryside.
My money is in the hands of strangers; their circumstances I cannot discern; the misfortune that might strike them I cannot foresee; how could I possibly avert it! Perhaps, they became prodigal and give a banquet in some inn garden, and others may be attending this banquet just a little while before their departure to America.
When in the evening of working days I lock up my shop and suddenly see before me hours, in which I will not be able to do any work to meet the uninterrupted necessities of my business, then the excitement that I drive far away in the morning comes back like a returning flood, but cannot be contained within me, and sweeps me away aimlessly with it.
And yet I can make no use of this mood, I can only go home, for my face and hands are dirty and sweaty, the clothes are stained and dusty, my working cap is on my head, and my boots are scratched by the nails of crates. I go home as carried by a wave, snapping the fingers of both hands, and I caress the hair of the children coming my way.
But the walk is short. Soon I'm at my house, open the door of the elevator, and step in.
I see that now and all of a sudden I'm alone. Others who have to climb the staircase tire a little thereby, have to wait with quick breath till someone opens the door of the apartment, which gives them a reason for irritability and impatience, have to traverse the hallway where they hang their hats, and only once they go down the aisle past a few glass doors and come into their own room are they alone.
But I'm immediately alone in the elevator, and gaze, propped on my knees, into the narrow mirror. As the elevator starts to rise, I say: “Quiet now, step back, will you, in the shadow of the trees you want to make for, or behind the draperies of the window, or into the garden trellis?”
I say it through my teeth, and the banisters flow down past the opaque glass panes like water.
“But enjoy the view of the window, when the processions come out of all three streets, not giving way to each other, but advance through each other and, between their last rank, let the open space emerge again. Wave your handkerchiefs, be terrified, be moved, praise the beautiful lady who passes by. Cross over the stream on the wooden bridge, nod to the children bathing, and gape at the Hurrah rising from the thousand sailors on the distant battleship.
Just follow the inconspicuous man, and when you have pushed him into a doorway and have robbed him, then watch him, with your hands in the pockets, as he sadly goes his way along the left-hand street. The scattered policemen on horseback rein in their galloping horses and thrust you back.
Let them! The empty streets will make them unhappy; I know it.
Already they ride away, pray, in pairs, slowly around the street corners, darting across the squares.”
Then I have to get off, let the elevator go down again, ring the doorbell, and the maid opens the door while I greet her.


From "The Tales of Franz Kafka: English Translation With Original Text In German," available as e-book on Amazon KindleiPhone, iPad, or iPod touchon NOOK Bookon Kobo, and as printed, traditional edition through Lulu.   


Der Kaufmann



Es ist möglich, daß einige Leute Mitleid mit mir haben, aber ich spüre nichts davon. Mein kleines Geschäft erfüllt mich mit Sorgen, die mich innen an Stirne und Schläfen schmerzen, aber ohne mir Zufriedenheit in Aussicht zu stellen, denn mein Geschäft ist klein.
Für Stunden im voraus muß ich Bestimmungen treffen, das Gedächtnis des Hausdieners wachhalten, vor befürchteten Fehlern warnen und in einer Jahreszeit die Moden der folgenden berechnen, nicht wie sie unter Leuten meines Kreises herrschen werden, sondern bei unzugänglichen Bevölkerungen auf dem Lande.
Mein Geld haben fremde Leute; ihre Verhältnisse können mir nicht deutlich sein; das Unglück, das sie treffen könnte, ahne ich nicht; wie könnte ich es abwehren! Vielleicht sind sie verschwenderisch geworden und geben ein Fest in einem Wirtshausgarten, und andere halten sich für ein Weilchen auf der Flucht nach Amerika bei diesem Feste auf.
Wenn nun am Abend eines Werktages das Geschäft gesperrt wird und ich plötzlich Stunden vor mir sehe, in denen ich für die ununterbrochenen Bedürfnisse meines Geschäftes nichts werde arbeiten können, dann wirft sich meine am Morgen weit vorausgeschickte Aufregung in mich, wie eine zurückkehrende Flut, hält es aber in mir nicht aus und ohne Ziel reißt sie mich mit.
Und doch kann ich diese Laune gar nicht benützen und kann nur nach Hause gehn, denn ich habe Gesicht und Hände schmutzig und verschwitzt, das Kleid fleckig und staubig, die Geschäftsmütze auf dem Kopfe und von Kistennägeln zerkratzte Stiefel. Ich gehe dann wie auf Wellen, klappere mit den Fingern beider Hände, und mir entgegenkommenden Kindern fahre ich über das Haar.Aber der Weg ist kurz. Gleich bin ich in meinem Hause, öffne die Lifttür und trete ein.
Ich sehe, daß ich jetzt und plötzlich allein bin. Andere, die über Treppen steigen müssen, ermüden dabei ein wenig, müssen mit eilig atmenden Lungen warten, bis man die Tür der Wohnung öffnen kommt, haben dabei einen Grund für Ärger und Ungeduld, kommen jetzt ins Vorzimmer, wo sie den Hut aufhängen, und erst bis sie durch den Gang an einigen Glastüren vorbei in ihr eigenes Zimmer kommen, sind sie allein.

Ich aber bin gleich allein im Lift, und schaue, auf die Knie gestützt, in den schmalen Spiegel. Als der Lift sich zu heben anfängt, sage ich: »Seid still, tretet zurück, wollt ihr in den Schatten der Bäume, hinter die Draperien der Fenster, in das Laubengewölbe?«
Ich rede mit den Zähnen und die Treppengeländer gleiten an den Milchglasscheiben hinunter wie stürzendes Wasser.
»Flieget weg; euere Flügel, die ich niemals gesehen habe, mögen euch ins dörfliche Tal tragen oder nach Paris, wenn es euch dorthin treibt.
Doch genießet die Aussicht des Fensters, wenn die Prozessionen aus allen drei Straßen kommen, einander nicht ausweichen, durcheinandergehn und zwischen ihren letzten Reihen den freien Platz wieder entstehen lassen. Winket mit den Tüchern, seid entsetzt, seid gerührt, lobet die schöne Dame, die vorüberfährt.
Geht über den Bach auf der hölzernen Brücke, nickt den badenden Kindern zu und staunet über das Hurra der tausend Matrosen auf dem fernen Panzerschiff.
Verfolget nur den unscheinbaren Mann, und wenn ihr ihn in einen Torweg gestoßen habt, beraubt ihn und seht ihm dann, jeder die Hände in den Taschen, nach, wie er traurig seines Weges in die linke Gasse geht.
Die verstreut auf ihren Pferden galoppierende Polizei bändigt die Tiere und drängt euch zurück. Lasset sie, die leeren Gassen werden sie unglücklich machen, ich weiß es. Schon reiten sie, ich bitte, paarweise weg, langsam um die Straßenecken, fliegend über die Plätze.«
Dann muß ich aussteigen, den Aufzug hinunterlassen, an der Türglocke läuten, und das Mädchen öffnet die Tür, während ich grüße.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"Zum Nachdenken für Herrenreiter," by Franz Kafka ("Reflections for Gentlemen-Jockeys" or "For the Consideration of Amateur Jockeys") English version. "Zum Nachdenken für Herrenreiter" by Franz Kafka, translated in English, with Original Text in German



 
Picture of Franz Kafka as a young man

 

From "The Tales of Franz Kafka: English Translation With Original Text In German," available as e-book on Amazon KindleiPhone, iPad, or iPod touchon NOOK Bookon Kobo, and as printed, traditional edition through Lulu.   

 

Zum Nachdenken für Herrenreiter



Nichts, wenn man es überlegt, kann dazu verlocken, in einem Wettrennen der erste sein zu wollen.

Der Ruhm, als der beste Reiter eines Landes anerkannt zu werden, freut im ersten Krawall des Orchesters zu stark, als daß sich am Morgen danach die Reue verhindern ließe.

    Der Neid der Gegner, listiger, ziemlich einflußreicher Leute, muß uns in dem engen Spalier schmerzen, das wir nun durchreiten nach jener Ebene, die bald vor uns leer war bis auf einige überrundete Reiter, die klein gegen den Rand des Horizonts anritten.

    Viele unserer Freunde eilen den Gewinn zu beheben und nur über die Schultern weg schreien sie von den entlegenen Schaltern ihr Hurra zu uns; die besten Freunde aber haben gar nicht auf unser Pferd gesetzt, da sie fürchteten, käme es zum Verluste, müßten sie uns böse sein, nun aber, da unser Pferd das erste war und sie nichts gewonnen haben, drehn sie sich um, wenn wir vorüberkommen, und schauen lieber die Tribünen entlang.

    Die Konkurrenten rückwärts, fest im Sattel, suchen das Unglück zu überblicken, das sie getroffen hat, und das Unrecht, das ihnen irgendwie zugefügt wird; sie nehmen ein frisches Aussehen an, als müsse ein neues Rennen anfangen und ein ernsthaftes nach diesem Kinderspiel.

    Vielen Damen scheint der Sieger lächerlich, weil er sich aufbläht und doch nicht weiß, was anzufangen mit dem ewigen Händeschütteln, Salutieren, sich Niederbeugen und in die Ferne grüßen, während die Besiegten den Mund geschlossen haben und die Hälse ihrer meist wiehernden Pferde leichthin klopfen.

    Endlich fängt es gar aus dem trüb gewordenen Himmel zu regnen an.



Reflections for Gentlemen-Jockeys



    When you reflect upon it, to be first in a race is not something to be desired.

At the outbreak of the orchestra, the glory of being recognized as the best rider in the country is too strong of a pleasure not to bring some remorse the next morning.

 The envy of your opponents, cunning and highly influential men, must hurt you in the narrow enclosure you now ride through in the plain area, which soon became empty, except for some stragglers of the previous race, small figures against edge of the horizon.

     Many of your friends rushing to collect their winnings and only cry 'Hurrah!' to you over their shoulders from the distant counters; your best friends laid no bet on your horse, fearing that they might get angry with you if you lost, and now that your horse was first and they have won nothing, they turn away as you pass and rather look along the grandstands.

     Your rivals behind you, firmly in the saddle, strive to ignore the bad luck that has befallen them and the injustice that was somehow inflicted upon them; they take a fresh look at things, as if a different race were about to start, and this time a serious one after such a child's play.

     To many ladies the winner appears ridiculous, because he is swelling with importance and yet does seem not to know what to do with the never-ending handshaking, saluting, bowing, and waving, while the defeated keep their mouths shut and lightly pat the necks of their whinnying horses.

     And finally, from the presently overcast sky, it even begins to rain.

From "The Tales of Franz Kafka: English Translation With Original Text In German," available as e-book on Amazon KindleiPhone, iPad, or iPod touchon NOOK Bookon Kobo, and as printed, traditional edition through Lulu.