April 21, 2018

Spring, messieurs et mesdames, is a most admirable season. In spring the birds sing “tweet-tweet”; the streams sing “zhr-r-r”; and the trees sway this way and that, this way and that, with extraordinary energy—but the poor forest alas!, must stand on its feet all day, and keep growing and blossoming all the time—all the time. Terrible, isn’t it?—

Translated by J...

April 21, 2018

A butterfly alighted on the muzzle of a cannon. It was so bright and beautiful, it looked like a tinted symbol of the Deity . . . a token of the good Lord, Who sits Above, and paints gay butterflies.

So, the butterfly alighted on the muzzle of a cannon, and—nothing more.

No, Messieurs et mesdames, nothing more. Unless I tell you that the gay butterfly afterwards...

April 21, 2018

Lines on the Death of Moyshe Nadir

Composed by His Very Self

To the memory of Moyshe Nadir,—

Once among the living

And neatly combed—

Who did spend two or three hours daily

On the perfect knotting of his cravat,

And who loved his every finger nail;

Loved, and esteemed, and protected

His precious self

From approaching locomotives

And chilling draughts. . . .

Now he lies col...

September 15, 2017

Once upon a time there was an emperor who ruled over a land that was immeasurably large, beautiful, and prosperous. Like every other emperor, he possessed a treasure-chamber, in the midst of which, among all the shining, glittering jewels, there lay a horn. But this was no ordinary instrument. For when one peered inside its finger holes—Oh, what wonders there w...

September 15, 2017

If I had to die now,

I would say:

“Was that it?”

And:

“I’m not quite sure I understood it.

And:

“It was a bit loud.”

1935

Translated by Pól Peist

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