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Translation of the Week – Rachelle by Vitezslav Nezval

Plamen Press launches its Translation of the Week (Literature from Central, Eastern or Southeastern Europe translated into English). Our first posting is Rachelle from Vítězslav Nezval’s collection of poems Farewell and a Handkerchief – Poems on the Road.  This collection renders Nezval’s travels to Austria, France and Italy in 1933.  Nezval returned that year to Czechoslovakia and with artist Karel Teige founded the only official Surrealist movement outside of France.


I’m just too tired, Rachelle,

But we’ll make do on this narrow bench
Take my hand, and go to sleep
We may as well be friends

I’m just too tired, Rachelle,
And soon you’ll ride another train
Sleep childlike, deathlike on this bench
Our time was not in vain

I’m just too tired, Rachelle
Like your ancient vilified race
Like my aging cathedral bells
Like poetry, like grace

Like laughter and like hell

I’m just too tired, Rachelle

Translated from the Czech by Roman Kostovski

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