Franz Kafka

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"An Avenger," by Anton Chekhov (1886) -- from "The Horse-Stealers and Other Stories," Full text, in English: Anton Chekhov's "An Avenger" (Мститель)

Chekhov family and friends in 1890. (Top row, left to right) Ivan, Alexander, Father; (second row) unknown friend, Lika Mizinova, Masha, Mother, Seryozha Kiselev; (bottom row) Misha, Anton

An Avenger

SHORTLY after finding his wife in flagrante delicto Fyodor Fyodorovitch Sigaev was standing in Schmuck and Co.'s, the gunsmiths, selecting a suitable revolver. His countenance expressed wrath, grief, and unalterable determination.
"I know what I must do," he was thinking. "The sanctities of the home are outraged, honour is trampled in the mud, vice is triumphant, and therefore as a citizen and a man of honour I must be their avenger. First, I will kill her and her lover and then myself."
He had not yet chosen a revolver or killed anyone, but already in imagination he saw three bloodstained corpses, broken skulls, brains oozing from them, the commotion, the crowd of gaping spectators, the post-mortem. . . . With the malignant joy of an insulted man he pictured the horror of the relations and the public, the agony of the traitress, and was mentally reading leading articles on the destruction of the traditions of the home.
The shopman, a sprightly little Frenchified figure with rounded belly and white waistcoat, displayed the revolvers, and smiling respectfully and scraping with his little feet observed:
". . . I would advise you, M'sieur, to take this superb revolver, the Smith and Wesson pattern, the last word in the science of firearms: triple-action, with ejector, kills at six hundred paces, central sight. Let me draw your attention, M'sieu, to the beauty of the finish. The most fashionable system, M'sieu. We sell a dozen every day for burglars, wolves, and lovers. Very correct and powerful action, hits at a great distance, and kills wife and lover with one bullet. As for suicide, M'sieu, I don't know a better pattern."
The shopman pulled and cocked the trigger, breathed on the barrel, took aim, and affected to be breathless with delight. Looking at his ecstatic countenance, one might have supposed that he would readily have put a bullet through his brains if he had only possessed a revolver of such a superb pattern as a Smith-Wesson.
"And what price?" asked Sigaev.
"Forty-five roubles, M'sieu."
"Mm! . . . that's too dear for me."
"In that case, M'sieu, let me offer you another make, somewhat cheaper. Here, if you'll kindly look, we have an immense choice, at all prices. . . . Here, for instance, this revolver of the Lefaucher pattern costs only eighteen roubles, but . . ." (the shopman pursed up his face contemptuously) ". . . but, M'sieu, it's an old-fashioned make. They are only bought by hysterical ladies or the mentally deficient. To commit suicide or shoot one's wife with a Lefaucher revolver is considered bad form nowadays. Smith-Wesson is the only pattern that's correct style."
"I don't want to shoot myself or to kill anyone," said Sigaev, lying sullenly. "I am buying it simply for a country cottage . . . to frighten away burglars. . . ."
"That's not our business, what object you have in buying it." The shopman smiled, dropping his eyes discreetly. "If we were to investigate the object in each case, M'sieu, we should have to close our shop. To frighten burglars Lefaucher is not a suitable pattern, M'sieu, for it goes off with a faint, muffled sound. I would suggest Mortimer's, the so-called duelling pistol. . . ."
"Shouldn't I challenge him to a duel?" flashed through Sigaev's mind. "It's doing him too much honour, though. . . . Beasts like that are killed like dogs. . . ."
The shopman, swaying gracefully and tripping to and fro on his little feet, still smiling and chattering, displayed before him a heap of revolvers. The most inviting and impressive of all was the Smith and Wesson's. Sigaev picked up a pistol of that pattern, gazed blankly at it, and sank into brooding. His imagination pictured how he would blow out their brains, how blood would flow in streams over the rug and the parquet, how the traitress's legs would twitch in her last agony. . . . But that was not enough for his indignant soul. The picture of blood, wailing, and horror did not satisfy him. He must think of something more terrible.
"I know! I'll kill myself and him," he thought, "but I'll leave her alive. Let her pine away from the stings of conscience and the contempt of all surrounding her. For a sensitive nature like hers that will be far more agonizing than death."
And he imagined his own funeral: he, the injured husband, lies in his coffin with a gentle smile on his lips, and she, pale, tortured by remorse, follows the coffin like a Niobe, not knowing where to hide herself to escape from the withering, contemptuous looks cast upon her by the indignant crowd.
"I see, M'sieu, that you like the Smith and Wesson make," the shopman broke in upon his broodings. "If you think it too dear, very well, I'll knock off five roubles. . . . But we have other makes, cheaper."
The little Frenchified figure turned gracefully and took down another dozen cases of revolvers from the shelf.
"Here, M'sieu, price thirty roubles. That's not expensive, especially as the rate of exchange has dropped terribly and the Customs duties are rising every hour. M'sieu, I vow I am a Conservative, but even I am beginning to murmur. Why, with the rate of exchange and the Customs tariff, only the rich can purchase firearms. There's nothing left for the poor but Tula weapons and phosphorus matches, and Tula weapons are a misery! You may aim at your wife with a Tula revolver and shoot yourself through the shoulder-blade."
Sigaev suddenly felt mortified and sorry that he would be dead, and would miss seeing the agonies of the traitress. Revenge is only sweet when one can see and taste its fruits, and what sense would there be in it if he were lying in his coffin, knowing nothing about it?
"Hadn't I better do this?" he pondered. "I'll kill him, then I'll go to his funeral and look on, and after the funeral I'll kill myself. They'd arrest me, though, before the funeral, and take away my pistol. . . . And so I'll kill him, she shall remain alive, and I . . . for the time, I'll not kill myself, but go and be arrested. I shall always have time to kill myself. There will be this advantage about being arrested, that at the preliminary investigation I shall have an opportunity of exposing to the authorities and to the public all the infamy of her conduct. If I kill myself she may, with her characteristic duplicity and impudence, throw all the blame on me, and society will justify her behaviour and will very likely laugh at me. . . . If I remain alive, then . . ."
A minute later he was thinking:
"Yes, if I kill myself I may be blamed and suspected of petty feeling. . . . Besides, why should I kill myself? That's one thing. And for another, to shoot oneself is cowardly. And so I'll kill him and let her live, and I'll face my trial. I shall be tried, and she will be brought into court as a witness. . . . I can imagine her confusion, her disgrace when she is examined by my counsel! The sympathies of the court, of the Press, and of the public will certainly be with me."
While he deliberated the shopman displayed his wares, and felt it incumbent upon him to entertain his customer.
"Here are English ones, a new pattern, only just received," he prattled on. "But I warn you, M'sieu, all these systems pale beside the Smith and Wesson. The other day—as I dare say you have read—an officer bought from us a Smith and Wesson. He shot his wife's lover, and-would you believe it?-the bullet passed through him, pierced the bronze lamp, then the piano, and ricochetted back from the piano, killing the lap-dog and bruising the wife. A magnificent record redounding to the honour of our firm! The officer is now under arrest. He will no doubt be convicted and sent to penal servitude. In the first place, our penal code is quite out of date; and, secondly, M'sieu, the sympathies of the court are always with the lover. Why is it? Very simple, M'sieu. The judges and the jury and the prosecutor and the counsel for the defence are all living with other men's wives, and it'll add to their comfort that there will be one husband the less in Russia. Society would be pleased if the Government were to send all the husbands to Sahalin. Oh, M'sieu, you don't know how it excites my indignation to see the corruption of morals nowadays. To love other men's wives is as much the regular thing to-day as to smoke other men s cigarettes and to read other men's books. Every year our trade gets worse and worse —it doesn't mean that wives are more faithful, but that husbands resign themselves to their position and are afraid of the law and penal servitude."
The shopman looked round and whispered: "And whose fault is it,
M'sieu? The Government's."
"To go to Sahalin for the sake of a pig like that—there's no sense in that either," Sigaev pondered. "If I go to penal servitude it will only give my wife an opportunity of marrying again and deceiving a second husband. She would triumph. . . . And so I will leave her alive, I won't kill myself, him . . . I won't kill either. I must think of something more sensible and more effective. I will punish them with my contempt, and will take divorce proceedings that will make a scandal."
"Here, M'sieu, is another make," said the shopman, taking down another dozen from the shelf. "Let me call your attention to the original mechanism of the lock."
In view of his determination a revolver was now of no use to Sigaev, but the shopman, meanwhile, getting more and more enthusiastic, persisted in displaying his wares before him. The outraged husband began to feel ashamed that the shopman should be taking so much trouble on his account for nothing, that he should be smiling, wasting time, displaying enthusiasm for nothing.
"Very well, in that case," he muttered, "I'll look in again later on . . . or I'll send someone."
He didn't see the expression of the shopman's face, but to smooth over the awkwardness of the position a little he felt called upon to make some purchase. But what should he buy? He looked round the walls of the shop to pick out something inexpensive, and his eyes rested on a green net hanging near the door.
"That's . . . what's that?" he asked.
"That's a net for catching quails."
"And what price is it?"
"Eight roubles, M'sieu."
"Wrap it up for me. . . ."
The outraged husband paid his eight roubles, took the net, and, feeling even more outraged, walked out of the shop.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

"Der Nachbar," by Franz Kafka: "The Neighbour," English version. "The Neighbour -- Der Nachbar," by Franz Kafka, translated in English, with Original Text in German

Evening. Melancholy,  Edvard Munch, 1896, Munch Museum, Oslo

  The Neighbour

My business rests entirely on my shoulders. Two lady with typewriters and account books in the hall, my room with desk, counter, conference table, club chair and telephone, that's all I need for my work. So easy to survey, so easy to run. I am quite young and the business goes well. I do not complain, I do not complain. As of the new year, a young man has rented the small, vacant neighboring apartment, which, blunderingly, I had for too long hesitated to rent myself.  It is also a room with a front room, and furthermore a kitchen. Room and hall I could have used – my two young ladies have felt already overloaded, at times – , but what would the kitchen have served for? These petty thoughts to be blamed, I let the apartment go. Now there sits this young man.  
Harras is his name. What he actually does there, I do not know. On the door it says “Harras, Office.” I have made inquiries, I have been told it is a business similar to mine.  Before lending one could not be  advised, involving a young, ambitious man, whose business may have a future, but one can not really advise on credit, since presently no fortune seems to exist. The usual information which one gives when nothing is actually known. Sometimes I meet Harras on the stairs, he must always be in an extraordinary hurry, as he scurries carefully past me. As a matter of fact, I have never exactly seen him; he always has the office keys ready in his hand. In the blink of an eye he has opened the door. Like the tail of a rat, he has slipped in and I am standing again in front of the board “Harras, Office,” which I have already read more often than it deserves.
The miserable thin walls, which betray the honest, active man, cover the dishonest. My telephone is attached on wall of the room, which separates me from my neighbor. But I do emphasize that merely as an especially ironic fact. Even if it sat on the opposite wall, you would hear everything in the neighboring apartment. I've given up mentioning the name of the customer on the telephone. But it obviously does not take much shrewdness to guess the name by some characteristic, inevitable turns of the conversation.  Sometimes I dance around, the receiver to the ear, spurred by unrest, on tiptoe, and yet that can not prevent that secrets are revealed.
Of course, by my business decisions will become insecure through that, my voice uncertain. What is Harras doing while I'm on the  telephone? I would like to really exaggerate – but you must do that often, to obtain clarification –  so I could say: Harras does not need a telephone, he uses mine, he has moved his sofa against the wall and listens, I must run to the telephone when it rings, accept the customer's wishes, take serious decisions to run large-scale persuasions – but above all, involuntarily making a report to Harras through the wall of the room. It may be that he doesn't even have to wait until the end of the conversation, but rather he rises after that point of the conversation which has enlightened the case enough for him, then he flits through the city as it’s his habit, and before I have even hung up the receiver, he is already there, working against  me.

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 Nachbar

Mein Geschäft ruht ganz auf meinen Schultern. Zwei Fräulein mit Schreibmaschinen und Geschäftsbüchern im Vorzimmer, mein Zimmer mit Schreibtisch, Kasse, Beratungstisch, Klubsessel und Telephon, das ist mein ganzer Arbeitsapparat. So einfach zu überblicken, so leicht zu führen. Ich bin ganz jung und die Geschäfte rollen vor mir her. Ich klage nicht, ich klage nicht.
Seit Neujahr hat ein junger Mann die kleine, leerstehende Nebenwohnung, die ich ungeschickterweise so lange zu mieten gezögert habe, frischweg gemietet. Auch ein Zimmer mit Vorzimmer, außerdem aber noch eine Küche. - Zimmer und Vorzimmer hätte ich wohl brauchen können - meine zwei Fräulein fühlten sich schon manchmal überlastet -, aber wozu hätte mir die Küche gedient? Dieses kleinliche Bedenken war daran schuld, daß ich mir die Wohnung habe nehmen lassen. Nun sitzt dort dieser junge Mann. Harras heißt er. Was er dort eigentlich macht, weiß ich nicht. Auf der Tür steht: ›Harras, Bureau‹. Ich habe Erkundigungen eingezogen, man hat mir mitgeteilt, es sei ein Geschäft ähnlich dem meinigen. Vor Kreditgewährung könne man nicht geradezu warnen, denn es handle sich doch um einen jungen, aufstrebenden Mann, dessen Sache vielleicht Zukunft habe, doch könne man zum Kredit nicht geradezu raten, denn gegenwärtig sei allem Anschein nach kein Vermögen vorhanden. Die übliche Auskunft, die man gibt, wenn man nichts weiß.
Manchmal treffe ich Harras auf der Treppe, er muß es immer außerordentlich eilig haben, er huscht formlich an mir vorüber. Genau gesehen habe ich ihn noch gar nicht, den Büroschlüssel hat er schon vorbereitet in der Hand. Im Augenblick hat er die Tür geöffnet. Wie der Schwanz einer Ratte ist er hineingeglitten und ich stehe wieder vor der Tafel 'Harras, Bureau', die ich schon viel öfter gelesen habe, als sie es verdient.
Die elend dünnen Wände, die den ehrlich tätigen Mann verraten den Unehrlichen aber decken. Mein Telephon ist an der Zimmerwand angebracht, die mich von meinem Nachbar trennt. Doch hebe ich das bloß als besonders ironische Tatsache hervor.
Selbst wenn es an der entgegengesetzten Wand hinge, würde man in der Nebenwohnung alles hören. Ich habe mir abgewöhnt, den Namen der Kunden beim Telephon zu nennen. Aber es gehört natürlich nicht viel Schlauheit dazu, aus charakteristischen, aber unvermeidlichen Wendungen des Gesprächs die Namen zu erraten. - Manchmal umtanze ich, die Hörmuschel am Ohr, von Unruhe gestachelt, auf den Fußspitzen den Apparat und kann es doch nicht verhüten, daß Geheimnisse preisgegeben werden.
Natürlich werden dadurch meine geschäftlichen Entscheidungen unsicher, meine Stimme zittrig. Was macht Harras, während ich telephoniere? Wollte ich sehr übertreiben - aber das muß man oft, um sich Klarheit zu verschaffen -, so könnte ich sagen: Harras braucht kein Telephon, er benutzt meines, er hat sein Kanapee an die Wand gerückt und horcht, ich dagegen muß, wenn geläutet wird, zum Telephon laufen, die Wünsche des Kunden entgegennehmen, schwerwiegende Entschlüsse fassen, großangelegte Überredungen ausführen - vor allem aber während des Ganzen unwillkürlich durch die Zimmerwand Harras Bericht erstatten.
Vielleicht wartet er gar nicht das Ende des Gespräches ab, sondern erhebt sich nach der Gesprächsstelle, die ihn über den Fall genügend aufgeklärt hat, huscht nach seiner Gewohnheit durch die Stadt und, ehe ich die Hörmuschel aufgehängt habe, ist er vielleicht schon daran, mir entgegenzuarbeiten.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

"The Jeune Premier," by Anton Chekhov (1886) -- Full text, in English: Anton Chekhov's "The Jeune Premier" (Первый любовник)

Birth house of Anton Chekhov.
Anton Chekhov was born on the feast day of St. Anthony the Great (17 January Old Style) 29 January 1860, the third of six surviving children, in Taganrog, a port on the Sea of Azov in southern Russia

 The Jeune Premier

YEVGENY ALEXEYITCH PODZHAROV, the jeune premier, a graceful, elegant young man with an oval face and little bags under his eyes, had come for the season to one of the southern towns of Russia, and tried at once to make the acquaintance of a few of the leading families of the place. "Yes, signor," he would often say, gracefully swinging his foot and displaying his red socks, "an artist ought to act upon the masses, both directly and indirectly; the first aim is attained by his work on the stage, the second by an acquaintance with the local inhabitants. On my honour, parole d'honneur, I don't understand why it is we actors avoid making acquaintance with local families. Why is it? To say nothing of dinners, name-day parties, feasts, soirées fixes, to say nothing of these entertainments, think of the moral influence we may have on society! Is it not agreeable to feel one has dropped a spark in some thick skull? The types one meets! The women! Mon Dieu, what women! they turn one's head! One penetrates into some huge merchant's house, into the sacred retreats, and picks out some fresh and rosy little peach— it's heaven,parole d'honneur!"
In the southern town, among other estimable families he made the acquaintance of that of a manufacturer called Zybaev. Whenever he remembers that acquaintance now he frowns contemptuously, screws up his eyes, and nervously plays with his watch-chain.
One day—it was at a name-day party at Zybaev's—the actor was sitting in his new friends' drawing-room and holding forth as usual. Around him "types" were sitting in armchairs and on the sofa, listening affably; from the next room came feminine laughter and the sounds of evening tea. . . . Crossing his legs, after each phrase sipping tea with rum in it, and trying to assume an expression of careless boredom, he talked of his stage triumphs.
"I am a provincial actor principally," he said, smiling condescendingly, "but I have played in Petersburg and Moscow too. . . . By the way, I will describe an incident which illustrates pretty well the state of mind of to-day. At my benefit in Moscow the young people brought me such a mass of laurel wreaths that I swear by all I hold sacred I did not know where to put them! Parole d'honneur! Later on, at a moment when funds were short, I took the laurel wreaths to the shop, and . . . guess what they weighed. Eighty pounds altogether. Ha, ha! you can't think how useful the money was. Artists, indeed, are often hard up. To-day I have hundreds, thousands, tomorrow nothing. . . . To-day I haven't a crust of bread, to-morrow I have oysters and anchovies, hang it all!"
The local inhabitants sipped their glasses decorously and listened. The well-pleased host, not knowing how to make enough of his cultured and interesting visitor, presented to him a distant relative who had just arrived, one Pavel Ignatyevitch Klimov, a bulky gentleman about forty, wearing a long frock-coat and very full trousers.
"You ought to know each other," said Zybaev as he presented Klimov; "he loves theatres, and at one time used to act himself. He has an estate in the Tula province."
Podzharov and Klimov got into conversation. It appeared, to the great satisfaction of both, that the Tula landowner lived in the very town in which the jeune premier had acted for two seasons in succession. Enquiries followed about the town, about common acquaintances, and about the theatre. . . .
"Do you know, I like that town awfully," said the jeune premier, displaying his red socks. "What streets, what a charming park, and what society! Delightful society!"
"Yes, delightful society," the landowner assented.
"A commercial town, but extremely cultured. . . . For instance, er-er-er . . . the head master of the high school, the public prosecutor . . . the officers. . . . The police captain, too, was not bad, a man, as the French say, enchanté, and the women, Allah, what women!"
"Yes, the women . . . certainly. . . ."
"Perhaps I am partial; the fact is that in your town, I don't know why, I was devilishly lucky with the fair sex! I could write a dozen novels. To take this episode, for instance. . . . I was staying in Yegoryevsky Street, in the very house where the Treasury is. . . ."
"The red house without stucco?"
"Yes, yes . . . without stucco. . . . Close by, as I remember now, lived a local beauty, Varenka. . . ."
"Not Varvara Nikolayevna?" asked Klimov, and he beamed with satisfaction. "She really is a beauty . . . the most beautiful girl in the town."
"The most beautiful girl in the town! A classic profile, great black eyes . . . . and hair to her waist! She saw me in 'Hamlet,' she wrote me a letter à la Pushkin's 'Tatyana.' . . . I answered, as you may guess. . . ."
Podzharov looked round, and having satisfied himself that there were no ladies in the room, rolled his eyes, smiled mournfully, and heaved a sigh.
"I came home one evening after a performance," he whispered, "and there she was, sitting on my sofa. There followed tears, protestations of love, kisses. . . . Oh, that was a marvellous, that was a divine night! Our romance lasted two months, but that night was never repeated. It was a night, parole d'honneur!"
"Excuse me, what's that?" muttered Klimov, turning crimson and gazing open-eyed at the actor. "I know Varvara Nikolayevna well: she's my niece."
Podzharov was embarrassed, and he, too, opened his eyes wide.
"How's this?" Klimov went on, throwing up his hands. "I know the girl, and . . . and . . . I am surprised. . . ."
"I am very sorry this has come up," muttered the actor, getting up and rubbing something out of his left eye with his little finger. "Though, of course . . . of course, you as her uncle . . ."
The other guests, who had hitherto been listening to the actor with pleasure and rewarding him with smiles, were embarrassed and dropped their eyes.
"Please, do be so good . . . take your words back . . ." said Klimov in extreme embarrassment. "I beg you to do so!"
"If . . . er-er-er . . . it offends you, certainly," answered the actor, with an undefined movement of his hand.
"And confess you have told a falsehood."
"I, no . . . er-er-er. . . . It was not a lie, but I greatly regret having spoken too freely. . . . And, in fact . . . I don't understand your tone!"
Klimov walked up and down the room in silence, as though in uncertainty and hesitation. His fleshy face grew more and more crimson, and the veins in his neck swelled up. After walking up and down for about two minutes he went up to the actor and said in a tearful voice:
"No, do be so good as to confess that you told a lie about Varenka!
Have the goodness to do so!"
"It's queer," said the actor, with a strained smile, shrugging his shoulders and swinging his leg. "This is positively insulting!"
"So you will not confess it?"
"I do-on't understand!"
"You will not? In that case, excuse me . . . I shall have to resort to unpleasant measures. Either, sir, I shall insult you at once on the spot, or . . . if you are an honourable man, you will kindly accept my challenge to a duel. . . . We will fight!"
"Certainly!" rapped out the jeune premier, with a contemptuous gesture. "Certainly."
Extremely perturbed, the guests and the host, not knowing what to do, drew Klimov aside and began begging him not to get up a scandal. Astonished feminine countenances appeared in the doorway. . . . The jeune premier turned round, said a few words, and with an air of being unable to remain in a house where he was insulted, took his cap and made off without saying good-bye.
On his way home the jeune premier smiled contemptuously and shrugged his shoulders, but when he reached his hotel room and stretched himself on his sofa he felt exceedingly uneasy.
"The devil take him!" he thought. "A duel does not matter, he won't kill me, but the trouble is the other fellows will hear of it, and they know perfectly well it was a yarn. It's abominable! I shall be disgraced all over Russia. . . ."
Podzharov thought a little, smoked, and to calm himself went out into the street.
"I ought to talk to this bully, ram into his stupid noddle that he is a blockhead and a fool, and that I am not in the least afraid of him. . . ."
The jeune premier stopped before Zybaev's house and looked at the windows. Lights were still burning behind the muslin curtains and figures were moving about.
"I'll wait for him!" the actor decided.
It was dark and cold. A hateful autumn rain was drizzling as though through a sieve. Podzharov leaned his elbow on a lamp-post and abandoned himself to a feeling of uneasiness.
He was wet through and exhausted.
At two o'clock in the night the guests began coming out of Zybaev's house. The landowner from Tula was the last to make his appearance. He heaved a sigh that could be heard by the whole street and scraped the pavement with his heavy overboots.
"Excuse me!" said the jeune premier, overtaking him. "One minute."
Klimov stopped. The actor gave a smile, hesitated, and began, stammering: "I . . . I confess . . . I told a lie."
"No, sir, you will please confess that publicly," said Klimov, and he turned crimson again. "I can't leave it like that. . . ."
"But you see I am apologizing! I beg you . . . don't you understand? I beg you because you will admit a duel will make talk, and I am in a position. . . . My fellow-actors . . . goodness knows what they may think. . . ."
The jeune premier tried to appear unconcerned, to smile, to stand erect, but his body would not obey him, his voice trembled, his eyes blinked guiltily, and his head drooped. For a good while he went on muttering something. Klimov listened to him, thought a little, and heaved a sigh.
"Well, so be it," he said. "May God forgive you. Only don't lie in future, young man. Nothing degrades a man like lying . . . yes, indeed! You are a young man, you have had a good education. . . ."
The landowner from Tula, in a benignant, fatherly way, gave him a lecture, while the jeune premier listened and smiled meekly. . . . When it was over he smirked, bowed, and with a guilty step and a crestfallen air set off for his hotel.
As he went to bed half an hour later he felt that he was out of danger and was already in excellent spirits. Serene and satisfied that the misunderstanding had ended so satisfactorily, he wrapped himself in the bedclothes, soon fell asleep, and slept soundly till ten o'clock next morning.

Friday, July 8, 2016

"Estiva," by Vincenzo Cardarelli; "Summery," by Vincenzo Cardarelli, English version, translated in English, "Estiva," by Vincenzo Cardarelli

Vincent van Gogh's Painter on the Road to Tarascon, August 1888. Believed destroyed by fire during World War II


Outspread Summer,
season of dense climates
of great mornings
of dawns with no noise
one wakes up like in an aquarium 
of identical days, astral,
season the least prone
to obscurity and crises,  
happiness of spaces,
no earthly promise
can give peace to my heart
as much as the certainty of a sun
that is spilling over your sky,
extreme season, which lays
down in enormous restful times,
offering gold to the greatest of dreams, 
season which allows the light
to over-stretch time  
beyond the boundaries of the day,
and seemingly puts everything 
in the order that precedes
some of the cadences of eternal awaiting.

 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.


Distesa estate,
stagione dei densi climi
dei grandi mattini
dell’albe senza rumore
ci si risveglia come in un acquario
dei giorni identici, astrali,
stagione la meno dolente
d’oscuramenti e di crisi,
felicità degli spazi,
nessuna promessa terrena
può dare pace al mio cuore
quanto la certezza di sole
che dal tuo cielo trabocca,
stagione estrema, che cadi
prostrata in riposi enormi,
dai oro ai più vasti sogni,
stagione che porti la luce
a distendere il tempo
di là dai confini del giorno,
e sembri mettere a volte
nell’ordine che procede
qualche cadenza dell’indugio eterno.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

"Midnight 30, American Poems," a collection of Contemporary American Poetry, just published!

Cover of  "Midnight 30, American Poems," LiteraryJoint Press, 2016

Midnight thirty: half-hour past "Geisterstunde," as it is still called in the broody hillsides hamlets of inner, rural Pennsylvania. In the deep stillness of the night, the tongue is loose, the eye quick, the ear alert, and the mind finally conducive to grasp all that in daylight is hidden. It is only at that time that truth is said, or whispered...
"In this surprising work of modern American literature, like a shimmering, wild creek under the full moonlight, the vein of poetry taps into the inexhaustible resources and riches of the land, and runs with inspiration and wisdom..."
"Midnight 30, American Poems," by A. Baruffi,  published by LiteraryJoint Press, is available as e-book on Amazon Kindle, iBookstore, NOOK Book, Kobo, and Lulu.