curated by Adam Fitzgerald

Thursday, February 26, 2009

from Sny (1925-1940)

Dream of the Marten

In the dream I am walking along a headland. Here the rocks have created an odd sort of pass. I wander until I reach a large modern villa with terrace and gazebo adorned with grapevines. It seemed to me in the moonlight like backstage of the Paris Opera. Wanting to spend the night in the gazebo, I climb over the wall. My drowsing was disturbed by the shutters opening on the first floor, which emitted a light the crown of a lush palm engulfed. A woman leaned out of the window. I couldn’t determine her age as she appeared to me as a silhouette. Her hair struck me as peculiar: it was done up in an outmoded bun. Then I discovered it was white, and as she moved I could see the glitter of pearls sewn onto ribbons plaited into her hair. The lady leaned out the window and quietly called out: “I’ll redeem the box when the night is over.” From the top of the palm above me I suddenly heard a melody that reminded me of an old ditty. When I looked to see who was singing it, I saw a giant orangutan playing a fiddle. He had a ruby red box with an odd handle in the shape of a child’s hand hanging from a strap. On the branch of a tree standing near the palm sat a large horse, its head erect as if an illustration in an old book on natural history, as if fascinated by the singing. It had been flayed, and the skin and hairs on its neck gave way to raw meat, which was larded with bacon fat like a hare ready for roasting.

by Jindřich Štyrský (1899–1942)
Translated by Jed Slast