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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Franz Kafka: Excursion into the Mountains


Montmelon, Doubs, Jura, in spring: photo by Tinelot Wittermans, 27 April 2004

'I don't know,' I cried without being heard, 'I do not know, If nobody comes, then nobody comes. I've done nobody any harm, nobody's done me any harm, but nobody will help me. A pack of nobodies. Yet that isn't all true. Only, that nobody helps me - a pack of nobodies would be rather fine, on the other hand. I'd love to go on an excursion - why not? - with a pack of nobodies. Into the mountains, of course, where else? How these nobodies jostle each other, all these lifted arms linked together, these numberless feet treading so close! Of course they are all in dress suits. We go so gaily, the wind blows through us and the gaps in our company. Our throats swell and are free in the mountains! It's a wonder that we don't burst into song.'

Spring forest on Polževo Plateau near Višnja Gora: photo by Mihail Simonić, 17 April 2007

Franz Kafka: Excursion into the Mountains (Der Ausflug ins Gebirge), written between 1904 and 1912, from Betrachtung (Meditation), 1913, translated by Willa and Edwin Muir in The Penal Colony: Stories and Short Pieces, 1948




Yes indeed, "the wind blows through us and the gaps in our company"


first light in sky above still blackness
of ridge, planet below black pine branch
in foreground, sound of wind in branches

unconscious as it continues
to exist, in present

“in and for itself,” is one
sound, in particular

silver line of sun reflected in channel,
whiteness of gull flapping toward ridge


PS. At least there's a song sparrow out there, calling from one of those branches on Montmelon perhaps? --


light coming into sky above still black
ridge, song sparrow calling from branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

as was up to now is not yet,
in the sense of does

not think that is to repeat,
but, meaning looking

silver of low sun reflected in channel,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit