Sunday, October 23, 2011

attempt at a description - jacques prévert

from Attempt At A Description Of A Supper Of Various Heads In Paaris, France
by Jacques Prevert (tr. Michael Benedikt)

The sun shines for all mankind, except of course for prisoners
and miners, and also for
those who scale the fish
those who eat the spoiled meat
those who turn out hairpin after hairpin
those who blow the glass bottles that others will drink from
those who slice their bread with pocketknives
those who vacation at their workbenches or their desks
those who never quite know what to say
those who milk your cows yet who never drink their milk
those you won't find anesthetized at the dentist's
those who cough out their lungs in the subway
those who down in various holes turn out the pens with which
   others in the open air will write something to the effect that
   everything turns out for the best
those who have too much to even begin to put into words
those whose labors are never over
those who haven't labors
those who look for labors
those who water your horses
those who watch their own dogs dying
those who daily bread is available on a more or less weekly 
those who go to church to keep warm in their winter
those whom Swiss Guards send outdoors to keep warm
those who simply rot
those who enjoy the luxury of eating
those who travel beneath your wheels
those who stare at the Seine flowing by
those whom you hire, to whom you express your deepest thanks,
   whom you are charitable toward, whom you deprive, whom
   you manipulate, whom you step on, whom you crush
those from whom even fingerprints are taken
those whom you order to break ranks at random and shoot down
   quite methodically
those who go on forced marches beneath the Arch of Triumph
those who don't know how to fall in with the custom of the
   country any place on earth
those who never ever see the sea
those who always smell of fresh linen because they weave the
   sheets you lie on
those without running water
those whose goal is eternally the blue horizon
those who scatter salt on the snow in all directions in order to
   collect a ridiculous salary
those whose life expectancy is a lot shorter than yours is
those who've never yet knelt down to pick up a dropped hairpin
those who die of boredom on a Sunday afternoon
     because they see Monday morning coming
     and also Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday
     and Saturday too
     and the next Sunday afternoon as well.

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