The Sunflower

The sunflower

Rain-soaked since noon

Obscures the head of a woman

With a cold compress on her brow

Observing the aphids

She shifts her eyes

To a spot on the opposite wall

Where a frame is affixed

With a glass panel

Two people live there

They never cry

An enormous propeller spins on the horizon

It is a solitary vehicle

Moving farther away

It is a blue-tainted cloud

The evening star on a sunken cliff

Getting ready to rise

Circled by a bird

From somewhere wafts

The odor of an open chapel

The woman dozes

Stovepipe hats begin to glimmer

Evening piles coal

A curl falls into the sleeping woman’s face

The sunflower

Nods its head

Like the woman reminiscing

Her hands strangely rigid

The tower

Suddenly vanished

Vague drone of a dam in the distance

 

 

 

 

 

Slunečnice

 

Slunečnice

Na niž celé odpoledne pršelo

Zaclání hlavu ženy

Jež si dala obklad na čelo

A pozoruje mšice

Její pohled se také otáčí

Kamsi na jedno místo protější stěny

Do níž je zasazen rám

A skleněná tabule

Bydlí tam dva lidé

Nikdy nepláčí

Na obzoru se točí nesmírná vrtule

Je to vůz jede sám a sám

O kus dále

Je modřidlem potřísněný mrak

Večernice na nízké skále

Se chystá že vyjde

Krouží kolem ní pták

Odkudsi je cítit

Pach otevřeného kostela

Paní usíná

Cylindry se začínají třpytit

Večer skládá uhlí

Kadeř spadá spící ženě do čela

Slunečnice

Též

Svěsila hlavu

Jako ta žena jež vzpomíná

Ruce jí podivně ztuhly

V tom zmizela věž

Z dálky je slyšet neurčitý hukot splavu

 

 

Vítězslav Nezval (1900-1958) was perhaps the most prolific writer in Prague during the 1920s and ’30s. An original member of the avant-garde group of artists Devětsil (Nine Forces), he was a founding figure of the Poetist movement. His output consists of a number of poetry collections, experimental plays and novels, memoirs, essays, and translations. Nezval frequently traveled to Paris, engaging with the French surrealists. Forging a friendship with André Breton and Paul Éluard, he was instrumental in founding The Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia in 1934.

 

 

 

Stephan Delbos is a New England-born writer living in Prague. His poetry, essays, and translations have been published internationally. He is the editor of From a Terrace in Prague: A Prague Poetry Anthology (2011) and the author of a poetry chapbook, In Memory of Fire (2016). His collection of visual poems, “Bagatelles for Typewriter,” was exhibited at Prague’s ArtSpace Gallery in 2012. His play, Chetty’s Lullaby, about trumpeter Chet Baker, was produced in San Francisco. A Founding Editor of the literary journal B O D Y, he teaches at Charles University and Anglo-American University in Prague.

 

 

A native of San Francisco, Tereza Novická moved to the Czech Republic in 2000. Currently a student in the American Literature graduate program at Charles University in Prague, she has translated a number of Czech and Slovak poets into English, including Ondřej Buddeus, Jan Těsnohlídek, Sylva Fischerová, Lenka Daňhelová, Pavel Novotný , Nóra Ružičková, and Ondřej Škrabal.

Issue #62 September 2016 Uncategorized
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