Franz Kafka

Monday, November 30, 2015

A few words on "October," by Robert Frost, and a version in Italian by LiteraryJoint; October (Ottobre) by Robert Frost, translated in Italian

"Autumn Effect at Argenteuil," by Claude Monet, 1873,
Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London, UK

The poem "October," by Robert Frost, first published in 1915 in the collection "A Boy's Will," captures the moment where Fall is slowly yields to Winter, and the frozen, white season is looming from a short distance. Yet, October has the power to deceive a soul, and invites to cling to a life that is still beckoning, apparently brimming with expectations. This sweet beguile is dear to the poet, who lingers in the Autumnal limbo, to nourish and soon collect the grapes, the harvest of a lifetime.


O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.
From "A boy's will," 1915, by Robert Frost.


Oh mattino gentile d'ottobre silente,
Nell'autunno sono maturate le tue foglie;
Domani il vento, se infuria tagliente,
Infieririrà  sulle tutte quante le spoglie.
I corvi chiamano da sopra le foreste;
E domani già potrebbero volarsene in stormo.
Oh mattino gentile d'ottobre silente,
Incedi con lentezza le ore di questo giorno.
Fa che il dì ci paia meno breve.
I cuori non sono avversi all'inganno che mente,
Come sai tu, ingannaci tutt'intorno.
Lascia cadere una foglia allo spuntare dell'alba;
Al mezzodì lasciane cadere un'altra lieve;
Una dai nostri alberi, solo di lontano un'altra.
Rallenta il sole con la foschia tenue;
Incanta il creato con ametiste.
Piano, piano!
Per il bene dell'uva,
Le cui foglie dal gelo sono già ferite,
Il cui frutto a grappolo altrimenti perisce—
Per il bene dell'uva lungo le mura.

Robert Frost, dalla raccolta "A boy's will" (1915).

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Times change "Tempo che muta" by Vincenzo Cardarelli; "Times change," by Vincenzo Cardarelli, English version, translated by LiteraryJoint

Until now, with the sole exception of a few poems translated by the great Irish poet Desmond O'Grady in the late 1950's, the work of Vincenzo Cardarelli had remained precluded to the English speaking world and the international audience at large. The publication of this extensive collection will finally disclose the doors to one of the most prominent, yet still relatively unexplored, Italian and European poet of the twentieth century.

Times change

Just as the colors of 
seasons change,
so do the moods and thoughts of men.
All in the world is but fickle time.
And here is already the pallid,
sepulchral Autumn, 
while just yesterday was reigning
a flourishing, almost eternal, Summer.

From the collection "Poesie," 1936, from "Vincenzo Cardarelli: The Forgotten amongst the Great. A Collection of the Best Poems by Vincenzo Cardarelli, Translated in English," available as e-book on Amazon Kindle, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touchon NOOK Bookon Koboand as printed, traditional edition through Lulu.

Tempo che muta

Come varia il colore
delle stagioni,
così gli umori e i pensieri degli uomini.
Tutto nel mondo è mutevole tempo.
Ed ecco, è già il pallido,
sepolcrale autunno,
quando pur ieri imperava
la rigogliosa quasi eterna estate.

Dalla raccolta"Poesie," 1936, Vincenzo Cardarelli.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Just Published: Lunga è la Notte (Long is the Night), a Historical and Psychological Novel (Italian Language)

Cover of "Lunga è la Notte" (Long is the Night), a Historical and Psychological Novel (Italian Language) by Alessandro Baruffi. Publisher: LiteraryJoint Press, Philadelphia, PA, 2015.

It is not without a hint of innocent, childish, and timid pride, that I announce to my patient and amiable readers that, after seven, long years of incubation—a delay that I shall ascribe to a reasonable degree of hesitation, and reluctance to fully bring to daylight one's country's darker features and one's own weaknesses—my first Italian novel, Lunga è la Notte (Long is the Night), has finally been published, in print and digital format.
The e-book edition is available on Amazon, for Kindle and any other device.
Sincerely yours,
Founder and Editor-in-Chief,

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Minds in Ferment," by Anton Chekhov, from the Collection: "The Horse Stealer and Other Stories," by Anton Chekhov (Анто́н Па́влович Че́хов) Translated in English by Constance Garnett. Full text in English

Picture of Anton Chekhov (Анто́н Па́влович Че́хов)


THE earth was like an oven. The afternoon sun blazed with such energy that even the thermometer hanging in the excise officer's room lost its head: it ran up to 112.5 and stopped there, irresolute. The inhabitants streamed with perspiration like overdriven horses, and were too lazy to mop their faces.
Two of the inhabitants were walking along the market-place in front of the closely shuttered houses. One was Potcheshihin, the local treasury clerk, and the other was Optimov, the agent, for many years a correspondent of the Son of the Fatherland newspaper. They walked in silence, speechless from the heat. Optimov felt tempted to find fault with the local authorities for the dust and disorder of the market-place, but, aware of the peace-loving disposition and moderate views of his companion, he said nothing.
In the middle of the market-place Potcheshihin suddenly halted and began gazing into the sky.
"What are you looking at?"
"Those starlings that flew up. I wonder where they have settled. Clouds and clouds of them. . . . If one were to go and take a shot at them, and if one were to pick them up . . . and if . . . They have settled in the Father Prebendary's garden!"
"Oh no! They are not in the Father Prebendary's, they are in the Father Deacon's. If you did have a shot at them from here you wouldn't kill anything. Fine shot won't carry so far; it loses its force. And why should you kill them, anyway? They're birds destructive of the fruit, that's true; still, they're fowls of the air, works of the Lord. The starling sings, you know. . . . And what does it sing, pray? A song of praise. . . . 'All ye fowls of the air, praise ye the Lord.' No. I do believe they have settled in the Father Prebendary's garden."
Three old pilgrim women, wearing bark shoes and carrying wallets, passed noiselessly by the speakers. Looking enquiringly at the gentlemen who were for some unknown reason staring at the Father Prebendary's house, they slackened their pace, and when they were a few yards off stopped, glanced at the friends once more, and then fell to gazing at the house themselves.
"Yes, you were right; they have settled in the Father Prebendary's," said Optimov. "His cherries are ripe now, so they have gone there to peck them."
From the garden gate emerged the Father Prebendary himself, accompanied by the sexton. Seeing the attention directed upon his abode and wondering what people were staring at, he stopped, and he, too, as well as the sexton, began looking upwards to find out.
"The father is going to a service somewhere, I suppose," said
Potcheshihin. "The Lord be his succour!"
Some workmen from Purov's factory, who had been bathing in the river, passed between the friends and the priest. Seeing the latter absorbed in contemplation of the heavens and the pilgrim women, too, standing motionless with their eyes turned upwards, they stood still and stared in the same direction.
A small boy leading a blind beggar and a peasant, carrying a tub of stinking fish to throw into the market-place, did the same.
"There must be something the matter, I should think," said Potcheshihin, "a fire or something. But there's no sign of smoke anywhere. Hey! Kuzma!" he shouted to the peasant, "what's the matter?"
The peasant made some reply, but Potcheshihin and Optimov did not catch it. Sleepy-looking shopmen made their appearance at the doors of all the shops. Some plasterers at work on a warehouse near left their ladders and joined the workmen.
The fireman, who was describing circles with his bare feet, on the watch-tower, halted, and, after looking steadily at them for a few minutes, came down. The watch-tower was left deserted. This seemed suspicious.
"There must be a fire somewhere. Don't shove me! You damned swine!"
"Where do you see the fire? What fire? Pass on, gentlemen! I ask you civilly!"
"It must be a fire indoors!"
"Asks us civilly and keeps poking with his elbows. Keep your hands to yourself! Though you are a head constable, you have no sort of right to make free with your fists!"
"He's trodden on my corn! Ah! I'll crush you!"
"Crushed? Who's crushed? Lads! a man's been crushed!
"What's the meaning of this crowd? What do you want?"
"A man's been crushed, please your honour!"
"Where? Pass on! I ask you civilly! I ask you civilly, you blockheads!"
"You may shove a peasant, but you daren't touch a gentleman! Hands off!"
"Did you ever know such people? There's no doing anything with them by fair words, the devils! Sidorov, run for Akim Danilitch! Look sharp! It'll be the worse for you, gentlemen! Akim Danilitch is coming, and he'll give it to you! You here, Parfen? A blind man, and at his age too! Can't see, but he must be like other people and won't do what he's told. Smirnov, put his name down!"
"Yes, sir! And shall I write down the men from Purov's? That man there with the swollen cheek, he's from Purov's works."
"Don't put down the men from Purov's. It's Purov's birthday to-morrow."
The starlings rose in a black cloud from the Father Prebendary's garden, but Potcheshihin and Optimov did not notice them. They stood staring into the air, wondering what could have attracted such a crowd, and what it was looking at.
Akim Danilitch appeared. Still munching and wiping his lips, he cut his way into the crowd, bellowing:
"Firemen, be ready! Disperse! Mr. Optimov, disperse, or it'll be the worse for you! Instead of writing all kinds of things about decent people in the papers, you had better try to behave yourself more conformably! No good ever comes of reading the papers!"
"Kindly refrain from reflections upon literature!" cried Optimov hotly. "I am a literary man, and I will allow no one to make reflections upon literature! though, as is the duty of a citizen, I respect you as a father and benefactor!"
"Firemen, turn the hose on them!"
"There's no water, please your honour!"
"Don't answer me! Go and get some! Look sharp!"
"We've nothing to get it in, your honour. The major has taken the fire-brigade horses to drive his aunt to the station.
"Disperse! Stand back, damnation take you! Is that to your taste?
Put him down, the devil!"
"I've lost my pencil, please your honour!"
The crowd grew larger and larger. There is no telling what proportions it might have reached if the new organ just arrived from Moscow had not fortunately begun playing in the tavern close by. Hearing their favourite tune, the crowd gasped and rushed off to the tavern. So nobody ever knew why the crowd had assembled, and Potcheshihin and Optimov had by now forgotten the existence of the starlings who were innocently responsible for the proceedings.
An hour later the town was still and silent again, and only a solitary figure was to be seen—the fireman pacing round and round on the watch-tower.
The same evening Akim Danilitch sat in the grocer's shop drinking limonade gaseuse and brandy, and writing:
"In addition to the official report, I venture, your Excellency, to append a few supplementary observations of my own. Father and benefactor! In very truth, but for the prayers of your virtuous spouse in her salubrious villa near our town, there's no knowing what might not have come to pass. What I have been through to-day I can find no words to express. The efficiency of Krushensky and of the major of the fire brigade are beyond all praise! I am proud of such devoted servants of our country! As for me, I did all that a weak man could do, whose only desire is the welfare of his neighbour; and sitting now in the bosom of my family, with tears in my eyes I thank Him Who spared us bloodshed! In absence of evidence, the guilty parties remain in custody, but I propose to release them in a week or so. It was their ignorance that led them astray!"