Stagnant Waters

Er beneidete solchen sorglosen Leichtsinn, der sich beschied, mit der Gabe des Tages, genügsam, dankbar, hoffend, statt im Titanischen zu verschmachten, dem selbst das Kleine zuletzt versagte, ohne dass es das Grosse bezwang, trotz aller stürmenden, mörderischen Begierde.
Hermann Bahr, Die gute Schule, p. 20

With an unconstrained, indolent step, engrossed in his thoughts, in vague, diffuse dreaming unconsciously merging with the tumult of the streets, with the hazy luminosity of the lampposts and the moving black stains of the evening pedestrians, it was a constant overflowing, mixing, and pouring of that same melancholy, cold yellow into the blue and heavy black,
he strolled from street to street.

His hands clenched in his pockets, he smiled ironically, gripping an extinguished cigarette in the corner of his delicately modeled, artfully and gracefully sculpted mouth, and becoming intoxicated by the hubbub in the midst of which he unexpectedly found himself, closing and half‑opening his eyes, which were flooded with the conquering illumination of the reflected elevated lights of elegant store windows, in which the weak lights of chandeliers, feeble, sickly, and fading, poured out into the frosty air, superfluous and useless in their impotence and their seemingly last and final exhaustion.

He walked down the promenade and back up again, immersed in himself in the midst of the sound of the strolling pedestrians, which gave the impression of a single undulating mass, cut into yellow and black strips, a mingling and moving play of hard, contrasting colors. Someone greeted him, and he turned, startled, but he did not see and did not even apprehend who it was. Odd, odd – that word kept coming to mind, and he sought an image to accompany it, but it kept slipping away, and he grimaced and knit his brow and suddenly felt an emptiness, a cold emptiness beneath his skull, and in his ears a weak, nervously provoked and persistent resonance.

– – – how stupid, he said almost under his breath, and laughed. And suddenly he felt so light, so fresh, that he could laugh. He felt as though his entire inner self had been flooded with a hot, boiling shower, washing away all the filth, all the sediment that had dried and stuck there. Only an eagerness, and eagerness for something, whether for work, for laughter, for anger, or for derision, just not this stagnant mud, inertia, stagnation, indifference. To work, to work – five, six pages a day, prose, about which he had been thinking the whole month, after a long period of complete barrenness. The splendid prose of glorious sentences, majestic in the range of their rhythms, his final Work, his last work, the fulfillment of his dream –

He just needed to start. Bind himself to his work with the heavy ball of a galley‑slave, the chains of a firm decision, and work, work, work, persistently, like a machine –

He found himself in deep thought across from the column with the lighted clock by the Powder Tower. Six‑thirty – – – it is still too early to go home. There is still time to walk around… or to stop in somewhere.

He started walking back towards Ovocná Street, lighting a cigarette.

It is splendid to walk here. This bustle will finally move even the stagnant waters inside. It will warm the blood, rouse the nerves. The whole machine will start up and start working. In these lights and this agitation, in this noise and tumult, one is reborn, as it were. And he, a passionate friend of solitude, now sought in contact with people (but without intimacy, with reserve, five to ten steps away), in this novelty, the sharp and intense magic he had been looking for until then.

But after a while he weakened, and the hubbub became first unpleasant, then abhorrent, and before he got to the National Theater he turned towards Poštovská Street in a sudden nervous fit that overwhelmed him. In the torpid stillness of the dark street, in which long shadows trembled and broke up, he stopped and hesitated, full of repulsion towards the surroundings in which he found himself,
he needed now his warm and abandoned garret in the corner of a remote neighborhood, with the brusque ticking of the fast clock and the somber mewing of the large black cat,
he glanced, full of indecision, towards the main police department, and he noticed the striking red (as though irritated) of the cautionary signal by a pile of stones, wet and dripping dankly in the cold darkness and then with a lurching, sliding step he set off again towards Poštovská Street, in the direction of the mills. As though he were making his way through waves of cold, black water, in the emptiness of the dead, deserted street, he felt his whole body tremble coldly. He was overwhelmed by an utter disinclination either to go home or to wander the streets. He clenched his teeth at the thought of how much enthusiasm for life he had had just a few moments before, how he had brightened and flared up at the cry: to work, to work! – – –

But it all made sense – no, it was the stupid, sterile zeal of a person lost to indolence, absolute indolence, who is rotting – and who, in order to justify and rationalize his idleness to himself, urges and incites himself to work, to create… with bombastic cries. I am nothing, irremediably nothing – and he spat, stepping out onto the waterfront, which was flooded with the faint white (on first impression to eyes accustomed to black) of an electric light in front of Bellevue Café. And he walked now, with the freest step possible, to the mills and turned down Karlova Street, walking along the narrow sidewalk, now completely at random, wherever chance happened to take him.

He walked with apathy towards his surroundings. He looked fixedly into the face of a lone woman walking down the sidewalk and looking around constantly in every direction, as though she were expecting someone. And he went on without even noticing that he had aroused her attention, and she was now looking after him, astonished at how indifferently he had walked on, unconcerned with her.

But he noticed nothing. Everything was woven into a whirling, intermingled, glowing, and spinning rainbow of confused, concentrated, and fused images and thoughts, in a colorful dance that benumbed and stupefied him, with which he became intoxicated, knowing nothing around him, and when he finally roused himself from his thoughts, as though by an unexpected blow, which tore and destroyed that whole cobweb of trembling and glittering magic, of mingled delicate and sweet colors,
what melancholy overcame him suddenly after that illusory, vain, and empty play of his fiery and fervid imagination!
he saw himself in the emptiest part of the New Town, by the entrance to a rundown pub where, years ago, during the period of his first visits to Parnassus, he used to go with several friends on certain days to “literary” evenings, as they called their insipid twaddle and jesting over cheap beer, taking over this pub on a whim in the struggle against respectable bourgeois customers and fat, well‑pastured and well‑fed exemplars of “Stammgäste,” whom they found repulsive.


It was the same as it had been years ago – no, a bit smaller, sadder, more rundown, and shabbier. Everything seemed suffocated and concealed in delicate layers of gray, the paint on the walls was cracked and buckling, the uncovered tables were worn down and abraded, and everything was drowned in the heady, sourish smell of spilled beer. The gas flame hissed, passing into a waxy white, like a sickly pallor (it gave that paradoxical impression), and in its feeble light heavy dark shadows settled, motionless, rigid, in all of the corners, beneath all surfaces, covering the dirt and filth of the neglected hall.

He remembered. In that corner he used to sit, at the green painted table – how bitter that color was – beneath the completely yellowed picture of a preposterous Napoleon, with a crowd of preposterous French generals in the background. A German engraving, a Swabian inscription, the glass all cracked – yes, nothing has changed since those times when he used to come here, not even the colors of those fantastic uniforms, not even the angular Gothic script, not even the green groove in the dusty glass, not even the impression of something old‑fashioned, remaining from long‑dead ages, so pitifully and gloomily wretched – everything had remained the same as years ago – yes –

And he hung his head and engaged himself in thought again. He wandered into the past, into that remote, long‑gone, vanished, and renounced past; he lived it again, breathed its air. A light shower of painful pleasure, supple, softened, and languorously sweet imbued his nerves. He saw himself amongst his friends, whose profiles emerged from oblivion and were sharply sketched, to the smallest detail, before his eyes – pale, waxen faces, with traces of sleepless and debauched nights in their thin faces – he saw them all again, those friends who used to live it up and joke at the time of their first visits to Parnassus, in gifted chaos, with the nonchalance of bohemians, whose paths had now solidly narrowed to indefatigable production for journals and the publication of book after book, well‑mannered pieces of average quality, with royalties, praised and recommended by everyone, coins minted in the same, acquired form, in undisturbed, recognized comfort…

But he –! Misunderstood, unappreciated, forgotten, past his prime – – – The first works he had published in a journal had aroused derision, and now he no longer published anything, no one knew him, he was finished… He became absorbed in thought, dropping his head, with a feeling of something heavy and oppressive in his eyes. The gas hissed and sang in a sharp, high tone, and this sound pierced right into his brain, cut and tormented him. And then that pain weakened and a delicate, gentle, illuminated, elegiac mood rained into his soul like the moisture of a warm spring night. That life full of rebellion, protesting against everyone who “oppressed” and “pressured” them, who sought cautiously and providentially to extinguish their “dawning light”! That revolt, that resistance against the miserable life of others in disgusting and wearying circumstances, against those who forced them into the same boring gray uniforms in which they themselves were imprisoned! And in the end their paths had indeed narrowed to that same compactness, they entered into what they had opposed so tenaciously, they lived that life that was foreign to their minds, unnatural, their thoughts restricted, formed by the brutal hands of other people – after all of that longing to experience life and the world as much as possible, to shout themselves hoarse, to rebel – everything, just not to leave behind them a desert of days, parched and dry, a past that they could not mourn, nor curse, nor delight in, nor despair of –

And suddenly a memory came to him, full of comforting warmth, as at night in a house standing alone suddenly a kindly series of illuminated, silent windows, lulled to sleep in a quiet yellow, will gleam to the late traveler. But in it mingled a series of sharply dissonant tones: he compared the past with the present, he saw those amiable faces, kindly features distorted into caricatures; poets rambling on with their first published verses are transformed into favored candidates for academic chairs, revolutionaries and agitators into pussyfoots, family writers – and the bitterness spilled over in him, the bitterness from all that had been trampled and ruined, all that had been done away with, all that had come to nothing –

“Man wird alter, diimmer und verdienstvoller…”

And he laughed loudly, recalling that sentence he had read somewhere, but he immediately knit his brow again, and everything he had been thinking made him feel anxious and awkward and stifled… You cannot laugh, it’s too sad and horrible, these broken lives that have taken the wrong course, these narrowed horizons in which one can live on miserably, where one can barely breathe – – –

Oh, how glad he would be to work, if they would grant him the possibility of writing! If only they wanted to hear him out, if only they would give the same freedom as they grant liberal hucksters! … And everything would be different, his life would be more balanced and peaceful, and then there would be work, a work of art, which would justify his life – – –

Really? he asked himself right away, ironically, with a painfully melancholy smile, a narrow line uncertainly and fearfully brightening his weary face, with a pallor that was pure and happy, but also sad, like the limelike whiteness of flowers raised in a hothouse. Why is it not possible to work now? Is it necessary to lie about, fold my hands in my lap, just because I have no contact with publishers and editors have regretfully returned everything I have sent them? I am an idler, an irremediable idler – – – and I blame my surroundings, so that I don’t have to blame myself. I have to return to work – or – or – I am not justified in living –

And everything was so clear to him. The unhealed wounds were re‑opened, as though suddenly touched by a naked hand. Beneath the gray ashes of his feeling, extinguished and cold,
how long, he thought, since he had become insensible and dead! –
a sudden spark lit a repeatedly suppressed, hungry fire of pain and torment with the rapacity of a whole conflagration. The fault was in him, not outside of him. What suffering he felt now from all those years that he had wasted so miserably! Years without work, without the least work! And he could have written so much that had come to mind, even if he had captured a fraction of what he had dreamed. And suddenly he stood up and felt a yearning for his nook, where he could work! It was necessary to put an end to this idleness and proceed to work! To return to those aromatic and warm chambers of Art that he had abandoned! To capture, to preserve at least something that was playing in his mind! As though he were carrying at least something, anything at all, from a burning house, so not everything would be lost!

And his gaze, glowing with the eagerness of creation, noticed and absorbed his surroundings. Dry colors were revived, everything was a single mixture of stains and lights; he captured the angles and contours of objects, which evoked in his memory a series of sharp and clear images, which then suddenly broke through the depressed surface and sprung out, in the full and voracious defiance of nuances and colorful hues… He again forgot everything in that newly observed pleasure, which restored the remote, lost past. His imagination was ignited in that creation and accumulation, arrangement and ordering of gathered images, but then all of the agitation dropped off again, and all of his strength weakened… He gave in. He remembered the times when he really created. Were they not the unhappiest, with that agonizing work, which left behind only abortive, vain attempts, which he rejected and renounced after a week, doubting whether he was talented, and whether he really had the strength to accomplish anything? He would have to force himself to start something else, and he would often throw away his pen in the middle of a work that had taken many days, because the beginning repelled him before he got to the middle. An overly developed critical sense constantly rapped him on the fingers. It was as though one person was creating, and another would come to destroy what the first had written. It seemed to him much more beautiful and glorious when he first contemplated a work. He experienced it and felt the liberated images in a swift stream, in a wondrous splendor of images, in sonorous words and phrases filled with gold, but what he got down on paper from all of that was stiff and forced, trite and hackneyed. He sensed and felt the illusoriness and vanity of everything that grew beneath his fingers; he felt the cold of the keys he played on the keyboard of his soul: the emptiness of what he could create, and the full and certain inaccessibility of the ideal of Art, those paths marked out by Huysmans, those ways mapped out in the air parallel to the great road cut so deeply by Zola.

Oh, that‘s it – he assured himself now – he was never satisfied with his work. He never had the peace with which others associated art, with which they worked. They did not worry, they did not reason–they created. Bad, good: however it came out. With the placid smile of Goethe: “Sind’s Rosen, nun, sie werden bliihn.” They did not think about the goal, the end of everything, the inclination of their literary course; their greatest concern was where to publish their collection, or whether it would be “liked”. But he – fretted and tormented himself. That destroyed him. He wanted everything to be glorious and beautiful, right from the beginning; he would forget that talent had to be developed. He wanted to be great right away, and he did not even create anything small; he wanted to be a titan, but he wasn’t even a gnome. The longing to create something great immediately destroyed him. He could have published a series of small works, attempts, in which he invested a portion of his capital, something that would justify him and comfort him in his more peaceful moments of meditation. He could have sought and joined several colors on a small sheet before daring to attempt a large canvas, a magnificent decoration, an entire concert of controlled and harmonized colorful hues…

But now – now it is already too late. He felt clearly that his time, when he could have created, had passed. He knew himself: he could no longer believe the momentary excitement that sometimes came over him, leading him to take up his pen again to write. He knew those moments of sudden agitation too well, and he knew what their consequence always was. Torpor, indifference, complete apathy towards everything. It was ridiculous for him still to think about creating. He was finished, exhausted… He should believe nothing; he could not deceive himself. He should know the facts, even if it crushed him…, if everything is lost, then at least he should not let himself be derided by other people as an unacknowledged and downtrodden artist, who claims to be a victim of unfriendly relations, spends the nights in debauchery, and sleeps through the days, complaining that “the world” has destroyed him, and that he would have created great things “if he could have worked”. And in the meantime he never even thought seriously about writing in his miserable life.

And again he protested against these thoughts. He saw all of these battles in the past, these struggles and strivings to create something, something his own and new, this rejection of everything that yielded even a bit to a model, that resembled even a bit someone else’s tone. He wanted to have his own vision, pure and undimmed. That was what he worked for, what he sought to achieve. The fragrance of those days, sweetly tormenting, obtrusive, haunting like the breath of a whole bunch of intensely blossomed roses, wafted towards him, inebriated him, captivated him. It was like the magic of suddenly revealed nakedness, fascinating and imposing, a brutal oppression of the will, a straining and agitation of the senses.

He weakened in that battle, true, he weakened in that struggle to break through to originality, but not everything was lost; he could start again on the basis of what he had done so far and reach the goal he had been striving towards years before, now that he was more mature, more sophisticated, and more prepared. His hand was more certain: it should, after all, apply the correct color, find the shade he dreamed of. And then he would create his work and cast it onto the market, into the flood of clichés – he would surprise everyone who had lost faith in him, he would shame everyone who had thrown mud at him. He could compete with everyone who occupied the journals now, with everyone who published book after book, all equally fawning and simply smooth and superficial. He had as much, if not more, capital as the rest; he could align himself with them, he could be just as good as them, he could keep pace with them… Just work, work, and work hard, day after day, mathematically exact, not permitting himself to rest, not allowing idleness, tyrannizing over himself.

He shivered and trembled feverishly. All of his nerves tensed up in the subtlest and most agitated sensitivity, and a wave of painful pleasure washed through his entire body. His thoughts took on color, the longing to create again overpowered him, the burning and molten splendor of images flooded him. He was as uneasy and tense as a young man before his first ball in anticipation of pleasure hitherto veiled, in the dreamed‑of fragrance of women’s bare shoulders, snow white and sweetly rose‑scented, and damp bouquets of blossoming, fresh roses.


To create, to create! resounded in his head as he again walked down the street. Not to be idle, but to work, to work persistently… not everything is beyond hope, much can still be created, if only he is persistent, strong…

He became softer, more approachable in the damp of the heavy night air. His soul widened and deepened, and he allowed his unbridled ideas to flow freely. It was a continuous ebb and flow of incomplete thoughts, images, and tones. He had the impression of an asymmetrical, weak undulation, an imbalanced swinging inside. He whistled unconsciously, his hands clenched in his pockets.

He passed street after street in the monotonous tempo of steps that struck heavily and hollowly against the hard cobblestones, in the extensive silence of the drowsy streets flooded with darkness, in the city that seemed dead, extinguished forever… Light after light emerged one by one out of the darkness, dim beneath the hazy glass of the lamp, as though bathed in oil, glowing a faint yellow. They seemed to seep through the black of night, radiating dispersed rays of light, belated and dying out.

He went out onto the waterfront.

Everything seemed so low; three‑flamed lampposts seemed to shine as low as the pavement. As though burdened and saturated by the thick and damp darkness, the sky pressed down on the entire space and seemed to hang above the river, which roared in monotonous rhythms near the weir. A late‑night cab drove down the waterfront in the feeble reflection of its lights, which illuminated the broad, clumsily swaying hindquarters of the horse. Its rumbling was swallowed up by the distance, in the darkness, somewhere below, near the stone bridge. In the renewed silence only the voice of a clock resounded, as through suddenly aroused from sleep, in two dark, earnest, cold, metallic strokes.

And then the dead, weighty silence returned. He stood at the railing by the river and looked down fixedly into the whirling depths, in which the thickest dark of the night seemed to accumulate. The black marble of the river, seemingly immobile, trembled weakly when he looked straight into it. The shadows on Hunters’ Island, infiltrated by the lights of Kampa Island opposite, seemed elevated and floated above the surface of the river, lit up near the chain bridge by the feeble reflection of the lamps, while by the stone bridge a long strip of bright yellow lights were sharply and prominently doubled in the blackness of the water’s surface. The mass of buildings on the opposite bank, merged into a single rampart of the darkest shades, gave the impression of a darkened window transparency, pierced by only a few solitary, uneasy, flickering lights. From the castle on Hradčany two windows glowed, high above a dark band, like lost stars. The whole combined to form an impression of solid darkness of the most various nuances, mingled with the dim yellow of lights; everything seemed to be pressed down and immersed in a weakly flowing, almost immobile blackness.

The colorful fever of his fervent thought gradually quieted down in the cold wafting from the river. He controlled his imagination. He walked calmly and slowly along the riverbank, beneath the spreading branches of the cold, bare trees.

How quiet it was everywhere! And his thought wandered into the remote corners of the dead city, through which the last inhabitant would walk alone. And he looked at the river again, and it seemed to him that all of those lights were descending, that they would now be bathed in the dark water, and he fixed his gaze on the pavement, across which the blue reflection dragged like the most delicate, broadly extended silk, and he heard the heavy rhythms of undulating masses of people walking through the center, and the indistinct, mingling hum of conversation stupefied and intoxicated him. And then he saw in the darkness the movements of gesticulating hands, and from time to time everything was illuminated by pale green light pouring out onto the pavement, and then he again heard something like ringing bells (from the church, as though lost in the darkness somewhere below, deep down below…), darkly, immeasurably dismally, as though they were mourning in a requiem… and the flattering whisper of invisible lips mingled with all of this.


– – – where I saw that today… And he stopped and tried to remember but could not remember where he had noticed that seemingly irritated red spilled into the black of night. And only as from a deep sleep did he recall what he had been doing that night. And everything was so remote, cold, unclear: all of his memories were interrupted and cut off, as though the man who had been dreaming until that moment were not the same man who had awakened and was now aware of his surroundings.

And he stopped again. He was in a narrow street, and the heavy breath of times long past, a smell as from crypts and tombs wafted over him. It was the fixed, inert, and dead mood of the old, neglected, rundown streets, which still remained, as though preserved by some miracle, from old, medieval Prague, with dreary houses, with portals and stone adornments, narrow corridors and steep, creaking stairs, blackened and heavy, surrounded by the magic of everything that is soon to die. He stared fixedly into the corner where he had strayed so unaware, then fixed his gaze on all of the forms that so many people before him had seen, so many perished and decayed lives in long‑lost times. He felt their being diffused on all of those walls, dank and sweating the sharp smell of mold; he sensed their touch clinging to every stone, to all of the doors and windows. He mingled his living being of that night with those long‑dead souls, with the rhythm of their breath, which they had left here when they had filled graveyards, long‑forgotten, long‑vanished graveyards, with their dead bodies. He evoked and revived them, all of them, those dead faces, those dead bodies, of which nothing is left, nothing at all but nameless dust, dispersed and blown around in extensive space, dust, whirled sometimes by windstorms and then filling the city, delicate and sorrowful dust, settling on the cobblestones, the roofs, carrying its grayness to every corner, every curve, every crevice of the houses, those ancient houses that had gone through everything, survived everything, always again and again bathed in the light of new days, always again and again opening their dark entryways to new people.

And the high, massive houses, full of bizarre stone ornamentation, narrowed now, oppressing and pressing him with their silent gates, the sorrow of their small, narrow windows, where the gas lamps were reflected in feeble strips – and suddenly a kind of stupor overcame him: he couldn’t catch his breath, he felt the proximity of the high walls, the indestructible ramparts of the powerful ashlars, and he was quickening his pace to flee this oppressive atmosphere, when a sudden cry suddenly brought him to a halt again, and then a tumult of mixed sounds from the door of the small godforsaken, rundown pub, recognizable in the darkness only by the red light spilling through the curtains on its low but quite wide doors.

He stopped and listened. The barroom was evidently full, and he heard the protracted, weeping, lightly rippling voice of a harmonica from it, playing a favorite hackneyed song, accompanied by a whole chorus of hoarse voices. And all of that, here outside, in the desolation of the night, in the cold air, seemed to express a slinking, oppressive sorrow, that late‑night cheerfulness of drunken people who were having fun so as to bend beneath the yoke again in the morning, insensitive and exhausted. As he listened to them, pity filled his soul; he felt that these people would soon have some kind of accident, as though these bursts of joy were their last before they were destroyed by a sudden tragedy.

And suddenly, in this alternation of impressions, in this confusion of moods, as though in a flash of light he realized where he was. And he remembered what had happened to him there years ago. He had been standing there after a night out, and there stood his friend in art, the adored Master, whom he was planning to accompany home. They had both stood there listening to the same barroom noise that he heard now (oh, how long ago that was, how long ago! Certainly different people, entirely differently people were pushing and pressing against each other, squeezing together inside, in the hot, ardently intertwined crowd, in the heated air full of smoke!)

The Master was silent, immersed in his thoughts; then he suddenly raised his head and looked into his eyes. They stood there, facing one another, for a long time without speaking, looking interrogatingly at one another, their eyes wide open. Suddenly the Master said, softly, in a moment of intimacy:

“Do you love art?”

“Oh, yes!”

“And has it not yet occurred to you that it is all, after all, in vain, that it is a game of our cold hands, a toy that disgusts and bores and leaves behind dead emptiness, searching, ennui?”

He did not respond.

“Have you never been bothered by the thought that you cannot live another life, but you must live as you have been living? You know, dragging on miserably, disappointed by everything, rotting and moldering away, submissive and enslaved, but silent, silent, silent, with your hands clenched in your pockets…”

And the Master stopped speaking, hung his head, took a step deep in thought, stopped, and without a word, slowly walked away. And he had stood there, rigid, immobile, watching the Master disappear into the darkness like a sorrowful, insubstantial, wretched, oppressed shadow, and he saw slinking and trembling behind him those years of bitter struggle for a bit of recognition, of the smallest nook granted to him after years of cruel and futile battle, in which weariness had already overcome him, in which at times of stifling oppression doubt overwhelmed him – and now, looking into the darkness, he recalled that whole scene and it seemed to him that he still saw the stain of a bowed, bent man vanishing into the darkness, walking away from him, a man weighed down by the striving of years and the fatigue of work – and suddenly a sharp pain interrupted the thick web of concentrated and accumulated weighty images that enveloped him, and he felt the foreignness and haziness of the whole, something hard and unfriendly in its entire relation to things, and alienation and isolation from the rest of the world, and everything was clear to him now: he saw everything move and progress as he stood still in leaden immobility, while he rotted, rotted, rotted; and he felt the last bond binding him to the living mass of Art, faith in Art, faith in his own sanctification and legitimacy rip and break, and with a cold, hopeless stare he saw before him the awakening that awaited him in the cold morning, in that morning without colors and tones, drowned in gray, in the long, empty streets full of cast blue and dampness, beneath the wrinkled sky, in the endless dying of blackness and in the pallid sacrifice of mists and smoke and tin – in endless boredom, in endless misery – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Translated by Kirsten Lodge.

From: Jiří Karásek: Stojaté vody. Studie nitra. Vesna 13, 1893–94, č. 6, 1. 3. 1894, pp. 95–98, č. 7, pp. 111–117.