Poetry in Prose – Bohumil Hrabal

An excerpt from the Handbook for the Apprentice Palaveer – by one of my favourite Czech writers, Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997)

(No translation can ever quite capture the freshness, sheer poetic force and subtle nuances of Hrabal’s language but nevertheless…)

kamenice lipa3

I water flowers when it rains, in sultry July I pull my December sled behind me, to keep cool on hot summer days I drink up the money I put aside for the coal to keep me warm in winter, it makes me nervous to think how unnervous people are about how short life is and how little time there is for going wild and getting drunk as long as there is time, I do not treat my morning hangover like a sample possessing no commercial value, I treat it as if it possessed the absolute value of poetic trauma with touch of discord, which should be savoured like a sacred gallbladder attack, I am a leafy tree full of sharp, smiling eyes in a constant state of grace and coupled axles of fortunes and misfortunes, how fine to see young shoots from an old trunk, how fine to hear laughter of newborn leaves on the youngest shoots….

On the photograph – one of the oldest trees in the Czech republic, about 760 years old, to be found in Kamenice nad Lipou

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