History (An Operetta) : excerpts
“The world escaped me
It doesn’t like me, nor do I like it—
some kind of animosity
Has arisen between us—”
I have a voice. A voice you can’t take away. I will speak, because I have a voice. No one now or ever will take my voice away. I’m speaking now! Quiet, I’m speaking! Quiet, quiet! I’m speaking, speaking, speaking!
And what I have to say is very important,
But let my bare foot accompany my mouth,
Here at the bottom of my person
Let it appear
And barefoot I will speak, barefoot ...
Oh, I understand now ...
Why you are giving me a hard time,
My dear little family!
You, seeing my bare foot, think
You can do anything you want with me!
My God ... My God!
But this word "God" in my mouth
When bound to this foot of mine
Long ago I noticed
That the world is just like me!
I used to be merry
And the world was somehow merrier
But for a long time now
Something has been wrong with me.
As a result,
The world sounds wrong, unpleasant
Even my family.
I am responsible for the world
I am the lord of the world!
Oh, don’t laugh at me.
I know, I know
I’m a seventeen year-old upstart.
I am nothing,
A whippersnapper, that’s me.
Don’t take me seriously
Even I don’t treat myself seriously ...
History (Operetta), Fragment 12 [Trans. Kuharski and Bukowski]