Friday, 10 April 2009

karel capek

The End of the Twentieth Century

When this century collapses, dead at last,
And its sleep within the dark tomb has begun,
Come, look down upon us, world, file past
And be ashamed of what our age has done.

Inscribe our stone, that everyone may see
What this dead era valued most and best:
Science, progress, work, technology
And death - but death we prized above the rest.

We set new records, measuring men and deeds
In terms of greatness; thus we tempted fate.
In keeping with the greatness of our needs,
Our heroes and our gangsters, too, were great.

The XXth century, buried; nonetheless,
World, see what eras yet to come will gain:
Great new records, great inventions. Wretchedness.
Dictators. War. A ruined town in Spain.

trans norma comrada

not the translation i'd first seen , i found this here along with a discussion about the translation process. and readings! definitely check out adam and eve. i know little about him other than the robot thing and war with the newts, either of which can be downloaded from the link


Niamh B said...

that's a little bit depressing - hope you have a good easter anyway...

Rachel Fox said...

Great though, really great. Reminds me of the Sassoon Cenotaph poem.

swiss said...

it is good. but check the link for adam and eve if you want easter cheeriness

Niamh B said...

That's better, great reading voice too, tks for posting it

Roxana said...

i've never read poetry by him but 'war with the newts' was a favourite when i was young. i will check those links now :-)

Anonymous said...

Capek is great. Here's an article on him from the Lit Encyclopedia: