Franz Kafka

Saturday, July 18, 2020

"Die Abweisung," (The Rejection, The refusal) by Franz Kafka

From "The Tales of Franz Kafka: English Translation With Original Text In German," available as e-book on AmazonKindleon Kobo, and as printed, traditional edition through Amazon and Lulu.    

Die Abweisung

Wenn ich einem schönen Mädchen begegne und sie bitte: »Sei so gut, komm mit mir« und sie stumm vorübergeht, so meint sie damit:
"Du bist kein Herzog mit fliegendem Namen, kein breiter Amerikaner mit indianischem Wuchs, mit waagrecht ruhenden Augen, mit einer von der Luft der Rasenplätze und der sie durchströmenden Flüsse massierten Haut, du hast keine Reisen gemacht zu den großen Seen und auf ihnen, die ich weiß nicht wo zu finden sind. Also ich bitte, warum soll ich, ein schönes Mädchen, mit dir gehn?"
"Du vergißt, dich trägt kein Automobil in langen Stößen schaukelnd durch die Gasse; ich sehe nicht die in ihre Kleider gepreßten Herren deines Gefolges, die, Segenssprüche für dich murmelnd, in genauem Halbkreis hinter dir gehn; deine Brüste und im Mieder gut geordnet, aber deine Schenkel und Hüften entschädigen sich für jene Enthaltsamkeit; du trägst ein Taffetkleid mit plissierten Falten, wie es im vorigen Herbste uns durchaus allen Freude machte, und doch lächelst du — diese Lebensgefahr auf dem Leibe — bisweilen."
"Ja, wir haben beide recht und, um uns dessen nicht unwiderleglich bewußt zu werden, wollen wir, nicht wahr, lieber jeder allem nach Hause gehn."

The Rejection (or The refusal)

When I meet a beautiful girl, and entreat her: “Be so good, come with me,” and she walks past in silence, this is what she means by that: “You're no Duke with a flying name, no broad American with Indian build, with horizontal resting eyes, a skin tempered by the air of the prairies and the rivers that flow through them, you have never journeyed to the great lakes and on them, wherever they may be I do not know. So why, pray, should a beautiful girl like myself go with you?”
"You forget that no automobile is swinging you through the street; I see no gentlemen, pressed in their clothes, whispering their blessings, walking in exact semicircle behind you; your breasts are well laced into your bodice, but your thighs and hips compensate for such restraint; you are wearing a taffeta dress with pleated folds that made our delight last Autumn, and yet you smile with that mortal danger onto the body.” “Yes, we are both right, and to keep us from being irrevocably aware of it, isn't it better that we rather just go our own way home?”

From "The Tales of Franz Kafka: English Translation With Original Text In German," available as e-book on AmazonKindleon Kobo, and as printed, traditional edition through Amazon and Lulu.    

Saturday, July 11, 2020

"July and the Night," a Poem from "Jersey Blues Selected Poems"

July and the Night

I breathe Turgenev -
"... In the pure dry air there is a scent
of wormwood, rye in blossom, and buckwheat;
even an hour before nightfall there is no moisture
in the air. It is for such weather that the farmer 
longs, for harvesting his wheat..."

The end of a glorious July day.
In the secretive orchard of my ancestors,
Crouched at the foot of a scrawny, old pear tree,
I recollected all my past, long gone Summers,
And wondered how long the tree had been standing;
It had always yielded small, pale-green pears:
Sour when firm in the prime time of Summer,
Then sweet and juicy, when full and ripe.
Grandfather must had planted it, before my days;
No special care or attention was required from us,
For the trunk was joined to the land,
His tree drew moisture from the rainfall,
And was married to the sun.
When I was little I used to climb
Upon the lower, slender branches,
For I wouldn't venture any higher.
My being brimmed over with tenderness...
The crickets chirped their laborious love songs,
And bats flitted around the tree tops, against the blue.
Hovering in the fresh breeze, I smelled the odorous youth,
That once ran through my weary limbs.
Across the magnificent hour-glass of the terse sky,
The night shadows advanced rapidly on the blackening earth.
I chilled: the pitch-dark night was an hypothesis,
The dream-like sentry to my besieged, solitary fortress.
As the night fell upon me, I closed my eyes
And felt merriment all around.
I thought to myself that,  although we took no heed,
While the tree lived, I too lived, and saw a bit of the world.
The orchard was whispering mysteriously, and in the nearby
Gardens the flowers had closed their corollas, seeking rest.
As the tide of memories ebbed, my existence receded too;
I quivered in fright: it was a nook that a soul
May never let go of lightheartedly.

From "Jersey Blues: Selected Poems", also available on iBookstore, NOOK Book, and Amazon Kindle.