Daniil Harms: I'll tell you, in all frankness

I'll tell you, in all frankness,
how it is made, our thought,
how appear the roots of conversations,
how words fly from one speaker to another.
One has to sit still for some time,
trying not to miss even a smallest star,
to have, so to speak, a reason to untangle one's neck
so it could be turned towards kind acquaintances and unfamiliar
interlocutors.
After the greetings, to present the hostess with a handful of boulders,
or some other stashed valuable
in the form of a pin, or a southern fruit, or a little yawl
for a row on the lake on quiet sunny days,
so rare in our frugal northern clime,
where the spring is always a good deal late,
so much so that in June the house dog sleeps under a blanket,
like a human - man, woman or child,
and still shivers from the chills.
At times the ire at the order of change
between hot and cold overtakes all.
But the lunar time is in alternation young and old,
it is much clearer than the abracadabra of seasons.
The scientists observe from year to year
the ways of cyclones and the influences they exert,
without being able to foresee the likelihood of evening rain.
And I suppose that the painter Filonov
has more power over the clouds than they.
If you intend to contradict this, fulfill the intended.
For smart counterarguments, or strong,
or passionate, timely, or divine,
I've saved some tools that can pick apart my interlocutor's any thought.
I've mulled it all over, weighed it, recounted and remultiplied
and now I present it to the hostess
like a hermit's gift,
this set of tools so essential in debates.
Take it, my lovely hostess, this gift of mine,
and debate on, to your heart's content.


Daniil Harms
7/28/1931


Transl: RT, 5/24/2006

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