Czech Film Poem

2 Nov


“On the lake the storm is shrieking;
In the storm the child screams shrill;
Screams that pierce the soul with anguish,
Then they suddenly fall still.
‘Oh, my mother, please, oh, please!
At those cries my blood will freeze—
Mother mine, oh, dearest mother,
Fear of him my heart does fill!’
Something fell—beneath the doorway
Moisture trickles—tinged with red.
When the old one went to open,
What she saw filled her with dread.
In their blood, two objects lying
Sent cold terror through her flying:
Baby’s head—without a body;
Tiny body—with no head.”

-Karel Jaromir Erben

trans. Susan Reynolds

still from Birds, Orphans and Fools (1969)

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