Modern Czech Poetry/The pitman

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[2] [3]

2. KOVKOP.

 

Já kopu, já pod zemí kopu,
já balvany jak hada kůže se jiskřící kopu,
pod Polskou Ostravou kopu.

Kahan mi zhasíná, do čela padly
zcuchané vlasy a slepené potem,
octem a žlučí se zalévá oko,
ze žil a z temena lebky se kouří,
z pod nehtů červená lije se krev,
já kopu, já pod zemí kopu.

Široké kladivo do štoly vrážím,
na Salmovci kopu,
já v Rychvaldě kopu a v Petřvaldě kopu.

2. THE PITMAN.

 

I dig, under the earth I dig;
Boulders glittering like the scales of a serpent I dig;
Beneath Polská Ostrava I dig.

My lamp is quenched, upon my brow hass fallen
My hair, matted and clammy with sweat;
My eyes are shot with bitterness and gall;
My veins and my skull are clouded with vapour;
From beneath my nails gushes forth crimson blood;
Beneath Polská Ostrava I dig.

The broad hammer I smite upon the pit;
At Salmovec I dig,
At Rychvald I dig, and at Petřvald I dig.

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Při Godule má žena mrzne a sténá.
na klíně hladová robata pláčou,
já kopu, já pod zemí kopu.

Srší to ze štoly, srší to z očí,
já v Dombrové kopu, já v Orlové kopu,
na Porembě kopu a pod Lazy kopu.

Nade mnou, nad hlavou kopyta duní,
gróf jede dědinou, komtesa ručkou
pohání koně a směje se růžovou tváří.

Já kopu, já motyku zdvihám.
má žena sinalá do zámku jde,
chleba chce, v prsou kdy vyschlo jí mléko.

Dobrého srdce je pán,
z žlutého kamene je jeho zámek,
pod zámkem hučí a láme se Ostravice.
Před branou černé dvě suky se mračí.

Na co šla do zámku prosit a žebrat?
Roste rež na poli panském pro horníka robu?
Já v Hrušově kopu a v Michálkovicích.

Co bude z mých synků, co bude z mých děvuch,
až mne ráz ze štoly vytáhnou mrtva?
Můj synek dál bude kopat a kopat,
na Karvinné kopat,
a děvuchy—co bývá z hornických děvuch?

Což kdybych tak jednou prokletým kahanem do štoly mrštil,
sehnutou do výše narovnal šíji,
levici zaťal a vykročil přímo,
půlkruhem od země k obloze vzhůru
kladivo zdvihl a jiskřící oči
tam pod božím sluncem.
Slezské písně“ (1909).

Hard by Godula my wife freezes and whimpers,
Famishing children weep at her bosom;
I dig, under the earth I dig.

Sparks flash from the pit, sparks flash from my eyes;
At Dombrová I dig, at Orlová I dig,
At Poremba I dig, and beneath Lazy I dig.

Above me overhead rings the clatter of hoofs,
The count is riding trough the hamlet, the countess with dainty hand
Urges on the horses and her rosebud face is smiling.

I dig, the mattock I upraise;
My wife, livid-faced, trudges to the castle,
Craving for bread, when the milk has dried up in her breasts.

Good-hearted is my lord,
Of yellow masonry is his castle,
Beneath the castle is dinning and bursting the Ostravice.
By the gates two black bitches are scowling.

Wherefore she went to the castle to pester and beg?
Grows rye on my lord's field for the drab of a pitman?
At Hrušov I dig and at Michalkovice.

What will betide my sons, what will betide my daughters,
On the day when they drag out my corpse from the pit?
My sons shall go on digging and digging,
At Karvinna digging;
And my daughters,—how fares it with daughters of pitmen?

How if one day I should fling my accursed lamp into the pit,
And stiffen my bended neck,
Clench my left hand and stride forth and onward,
And in a sweeping curve from the earth to the skyline upwards
Should upraise my hammer and my flashing eyes,
Yonder beneath God's sunshine!“Silesian Songs” (1909).


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1970, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 30 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.