Friday, October 13, 2006

HORSE

somewhere

in the far north


of Toronto

my son and I


see a hammer

lying in an intersection


when I think about

the future


I tend to smile

we destroy a shipping crate


containing

a wooden horse


put the horse

& bits of smashed crate


into the car and

drive home


together

through the traffic


and at night

no one


climbs out of

the horse

5 comments:

hugh said...

If one were an Indian, immediately alert, leaning into the wind on the galloping horse, quivering swiftly over the quavering ground, till one stopped using spurs, there being no spurs, till one threw away the reins, there being no reins, and one hardly saw the terrain out in front as a well-mown stretch of moorland, now without a horse's neck or a horse's head.

Kafka, The Wish to be an Indian. (J.A. Underwood trans., altered by me.)

gary barwin said...

I've always loved that piece (and just about all of Kafka's short works.) Here are two versions.


If one were ever alert, riding the tunnels of the brain, quivering from the quavering breath, til one stopped using grammar, there being no grammar, til one threw away sound, there being no sound, and one saw not the world out front, now without eyes or tongue, now without subject or object, shape nor form, nothing but the horse riding into being.

* * *
I understand that Czech's have this fascination with Native North Americans:

If one were a White Man, ever alert, leaning into the wind on a galloping horse, quivering swiftly over the quavering ground, til one stopped using spurs, there being no spurs, till one threw away the reins, there being no reins, and one hardly saw the terrain out in front as a well-mown stretch of lawn, now without a horse's neck or a horse's head.

gary barwin said...

Wait! Change that. I left out some words.


If one were ever alert, riding the tunnel of the brain, quivering from the quavering breath, til one stopped using grammar, there being no grammar, til one threw away sound, there being no sound, and one saw not the world out front, now without eyes or tongue, now without subject or object, shape nor form, nothing but the black horse riding into being.

hugh said...

Those are both excellent. I was having some trouble with the translation of "Indianer"; I like the choice in the second one you posted.

functional nomad said...

If one were a grader, marking essays for sense as an earnest logician, till one stopped looking for meaning, there being no meaning, and revelled in the irrational terrain as one might as a well-mown and nameless tree, one might, as I have, come across passages like this in that vast expanse:

"The naming of the animals and the glorifying of them should not be seen as exactly tree and it takes a psychological approach to get this."