Miroslav Válek - A story with a wasp (A translation)

Forum for your favorite translations of poems

Moderator: negatvone

Post Reply
User avatar
Seafoam Poet
Posts: 178
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:16 am
Location: Wild plains of Central Europe

Miroslav Válek - A story with a wasp (A translation)

Post by Yatib » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:53 am

Miroslav Válek - A story with a wasp
(Poviedka s osou)

He was turned face to the wall so as he could think
Exactly ten minutes for answer as if taking a final exam.
A wasp in the air
kept bumping into the air,
buzzing like an old monoplane,
bumping, falling,
it sounded like knocking on the windows pane with a nail,
as if by every knock someone was called out of the room
for a drink or for a chat,
which always began in the same way :
"But this joke you can't know, my dear colleague ..."
And ended with a sneeze or laughter,
from which the whole house rang
as from the chains cleaning.
The summer was hot ad humid,
the time progressed incredibly slowly,
the wasp kept bumping and falling into the glass,
with every fall one of its crew left,
the ambulance shrieked hysterically behind the window
the dandelions faded away faster
and on the floor one parachute next to the other.
The day of tobacco ripening and waters retreating has begun,
the air was getting yellow and the wasp was dark-yellowishly stupid.
But who of us thinks of glass transparency
and at the same time its adamancy
Who, lifting his leg, considers at the same time its reverse movement ?
It would be unexpected,
as if we met the house crossing the street.
But, all the same - who knows ...
"Dear friends", said he, lifting the glass,
"because the war is the poetry of life and all of us are but servants of the Muse, I'm going to tell you a delightful poem. You'll laugh a lot. Listen :
Don't tell it to anybody.
I've discovered the secrets
guarded by seven wives of Bluebeard.
I can make the sun from the orange thrown to the air,
by the wind's scent I know the taste of women's kisses in the countries it comes from.
Don't tell it to anybody.
The best are the kisses of Vanessa,
they all smell with vanilla.
Vanessa is a poor seamstress from our town.
Poor but honest, she sews with everybody,
but it must be love ringing with pure gold.
The love that doesn't ring is severely punished !
This little rhyme we found in the pocket of a student before ...
And because - not at all by chance - our names were identical,
I sent it immediately to her."
Then, because there was in a way a bit of philosopher in him, he added :
"But I'm telling you quite confidently - as soon as I explored her soul deeper, I began to call her Wasp. That Little Wasp has not only a slim waist, but also a well-sharpened tongue, except the other more attractive qualities, for instance - came a little closer
- and except
- and except
- and except,
that's probably the most important of it. As you can see, the life is complicated and exact as a clock, but does not exclude the possibility of unexpected accidents and encounters. That's all, have a good time ! Let's drink on ! Let's drink again !"
In certain situations we can believe in ability of water to speak Hebrew,
as well as in other, more strange things.
But who has never seen a weeping willow weep to her handkerchief,
would not believe in the ability of trees to fly at nights.
Why should he believe if he hasn't seen ?
And who has ever seen a chromatic harmonica of autumn winds ?
Who has ever seen a shining root in the grave of an electrician
of the darkness in his own grave ?
Who ? Who ? Who ?
He, facing the wall to be punished, has seen it :
The wasp when he was left alone,
the wasp who finally has flown through the commiserative glass,
leaving in it as a reward her rings like circles on the water,
vanishing and made of false gold.
And what next ? He could talk.
He could say everything. But no.
He was turned face to the wall so as he could think
Exactly ten minutes for answer as if taking a final exam.
So he was silent to finally realize : "I have bad luck !,
to turn around and shout :
"Please, I have bad luck, Please let me draw another question. "
But there was no other question.
There was only silence so complete he could hear it,
when he by blink of an eye swang a bell in his head.
He had bad luck !
He had bad luck !
He had bad luck !
There was no other question, but the one he got.
And the first four minutes have already elapsed.
He was turned face to the wall like a thing.
At that moment azaleas at the park began to scent,
the big moon rose somehow too early,
women walked from the green gates,
with pink fingers fastened their shirts,
the street sounded like a big xylophone
it smelled with some cleaning stuff and milk,
a large-buget big movie was on in the cinemas,
in which the fabulous Theo Lingen as a valet
was seducing a boutiful baroness ...
What a chance that during the entracte he spotted the acquainted blonde
for whom he had been longing so long ! She sagged at her waist like a wasp,
laughed and cried :
"Oh, I can't stand it !"
"Oh, I'll get mad !"
"Oh, I'll die !"
Inspired by the film, he told her :
"I'm going to die with you, my beauty, whatever may happen !"
"What ?" - shouted she. "You better look in your mirror at home, sir !"
He was turned face to the wall like a mirror,
like a mirror turned to the wall in a bad moment,
when you don't feel like looking at your own face,
when seeing one's face is almost the same as ringing at the door of your own flat, asking :
"Excuse me, please, is Mr. Walter Krist at home ?"
and hearing Mr. Walter Krist answer :
"It must be a mistake, I don't know him. Mr. Walter Krist never lived in this house."
So it is better to look at your back,
to stand behind yourself, have a distance,
walk in the crowd headed by a boy with an apple and ended with a man
- he still has the taste of that apple on his tongue -
waiting for the death to lean toward him from above his arms :
"Lieutenant Walter Krist ! Only one minute left !"
But his moment has not yet come, although he heard those words quite clearly. And he indeed pities the other guy. He isn't a murderer and doesn't want to kill him.
After all, every death is in a way absurd. Anyway, he got enough beating from them, they cornered him, he can't even follow his crowd anymore. All his faces fled away and now turn to him with silent reproach. So let him speak. Let them make him speak. What a wonderful evening. The air full of honey. Only one minute left.
He was turned face to the wall so as he could think.
He was turned face to the wall like a soulless thing
He was turned face to the wall like a mirror.
Oh, the sad twilight of the averted things with a one dimensional soul,
that need the human eyes !
He was watching into himself, he was reflecting himself.
The lights of summer in distance vanishing,
the trembling breath of candles,
but also the laughter of this mad town,
which crushed him like a china cup,
the well known soprano of the woman, maybe embarrassing at the same time :
"Oh, I can't stand it !"
"Oh, I'll get mad !"
"Oh, I'll die !"
He remembers : A nasty evening. The night kept swelling like a toad.
They laughed. She as well. But he could not recognize himself. His palm itched. She was entirely different. A black Opel-Captain was waiting for them. "Look, he has higher rank than you but he's obedient". She said "Darling" and pulled the curtains down. "I didn't want you to spot it. Do whatever you like ! I've been loving him for so long ! And maybe he slept here million times. And maybe he still will, who can know it. It's boring. Let's sleep. I'm falling off my legs."
He closed his eyes as if he was falling asleep. It seemed to him he said "Burn the order, as if you only dreamed about it."
He smiled and threatened him with his finger :
"Walter, Walter, be strict treating him !"
He was. But he gave him a possibility to decide for himself. He hesitated only a second when he stood there before him. Then he lifted his eyes to the skies :
"Aye, aye, I understand, Herr General."

Yes, death.
Pronounced by single breath like the proverbs.
Yes, death - good for what ?
Similar to what ?
Death good for breaking the bread,
for sharpening knives,
for a bad dream
and memory howling during the endless nights.
Death, similar to itself,
Death inevitable
like the sunset
and death needless
like a swimmer beneath the water and his beautiful profile !
"A wonderful evening ! And the air like honey !"
"So let him answer, truly and at once !"
"Dear colleague, this joke you certainly haven't heard ..."
"Oh, what a chance, what a chance !"
Stand up facing the wall !
Don't be bad to me !
Oh, you are so pale !
As if in you a chalk fell and raged a snowy gale.
Pain ? No, no such things !
Only a wasp and its rings !
One of them they put on my heart !
The air like honey !
Fire !
Wasp !
You were all my world -
dances, rings -
of false gold.
His death resembled a skein of thread,
patiently unwound by somebody.
But who is on the other side ?
Mother, mother, is it you ?
Your needle beneath my nails,
mother, a tree burns in my entrails !
It rains. The sky tearful like an ophan's eyes.
His death resembled a skein of thread.
The lights of summer in distance vanishing,
A ring on the heart flourishing.
He hurries as if he still lived.
But the sky everywhere empty like the lunatic's eyes.
He sat down.
Took off his legs to the black nothingness,
tangled the end of the thread
to the end of the world !
The lights of summer
in distance vanishing.
(you can visit
for more insane stuff
for more translations ...)

Post Reply

Return to “Translations”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest