Blue Notebook, No. 10 by Daniil Kharms

There once lived a red-headed man who had no eyes or ears.

He also had no hair, so he was only in a manner of speaking called red-haired.

He couldn’t speak, since he had no mouth. He had no nose either.

He didn’t even have arms or legs. And he had no stomach, and he had no back, and he had no spine, and he had no innards at all. He had nothing at all! So there’s no knowing who we are talking about.

We’d better not talk about him any more.

 

by Даниил Иванович Хармс (Daniil Ivanovich Kharms)

a.k.a. Даниил Иванович Ювачёв (Daniil Ivanovich Yuvachov)

(1937)

translated by Robert Chandler

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A Fairy Tale by Daniil Kharms

There once was a man  by the name of Semyonov.

And Semyonov went out for a walk and lost his handkerchief.

And Semyonov started looking for a handkerchief and lost his hat.

And looking for a hat, he lost his jacket.

He began to look for a jacket and lost his boots.

– Yes – said Semyonov – this is a loss – I shall go home.

Semyonov began walking home – and he got lost.

– No – said Semyonov – I’d rather sit. And he sat down.

And he sat on a stone, and fell asleep.

 

by Даниил Иванович Хармс (Daniil Ivanovich Kharms)

a.k.a. Даниил Иванович Ювачёв (Daniil Ivanovich Yuvachov)

(1933)

translated by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky


Personally I would have gone with ‘… and lost consciousness’ for the last line, instead of ‘… and fell sleep’ in order to maintain the structural repition for humourous effect even if this translation is a more accurate one.

Here’s The Rain Crashing Down by Daniil Kharms

Here’s the rain crashing down,

time has stopped.

The clocks go on helplessly knocking.

Grow, grass, you don’t need time.

Speak, Holy Spirit, you don’t need words.

 

by Даниил Иванович Хармс (Daniil Kharms)

(1937)

translated by Robert Chandler

This Is How Hunger Begins by Daniil Kharms

This is how hunger begins:

first you wake in good cheer,

then weakness begins,

and then boredom,

and then comes the losss

of the power of swift reason

and then comes calm –

and then the horror.

 

by Даниил Иванович Хармс (Daniil Kharms)

(1937)

translated by Robert Chandler

The Constancy of Merriment and Dirt by Daniil Kharms

Cool Water gurgles in the river

and the mountains’ shadow lies on the fields

and light fades in the sky. And birds

are already flying in dreams.

And the yardman with the black moustache

stands all night by the gate

and under his dirty hat he scratches

the back of his head with dirty hands.

And through the window come merry shouts,

the stamping of feet and the ring of bottles.

 

A day goes by, then a week,

and then the years go by

and people vanish

in neat ranks into their graves.

While the yardman with the black moustache

stands for years by the gate

and under his dirty hat he scratches

the back of his head with dirty hands.

And through the window come merry shouts,

the stamping of feet and the ring of bottles.

 

The moon and the sun have paled,

constellations have changed shape,

motion has become sticky

and time has become like sand.

While the yardman with the black moustache

stands again by the gate

and under his dirty hat he scratches

the back of his head with dirty hands.

And through the window come merry shouts,

the stamping of feet and the ring of bottles.

 

by Даниил Иванович Хармс (Daniil Kharms, 1933)

translated by Robert Chandler

One Fat Man by Daniil Kharms

One fat man invented a way to lose weight. And he lost it. The ladies began pestering him, trying to pry out his secret. But the thin man replied that it becomes men to lose weight, whereas it does not become women at all; that ladies, on the contrary, ought to be plump. And he was absolutely right.

by Даниил Иванович Хармс [Danill Kharms] (Mid-1930s)

Translated by Eugene Ostashevsky

The Faux Wisdom And Miscellany Of A Partially Filled 2012 Notebook

In 2012 I decided to start writing a haiku a day in a pocket size, faux leather bound, notebook. I quickly stopped this and did not use the notebook again until the end of the year. By then it was just random turns of phrase or odd thoughts.
Therefore these scribbled notes mean nothing or if they did once upon a time I have clearly abandoned them and so put will put them here so they may be of some use…


In Case of Emergency Please Inform: 999‘ – is what I wrote on the information page. This makes perfect sense. I have no one who could come and help. There are people nearby I know but they would not come. Therefore I must take precautions in everyday life as only those obligated would aid me and even then begrudgingly.

26/11/11:
Friends enjoy each other
Not ‘out of sight out of mind’
Gone by Tomorrow

27/11/11:
Narratives fill day
Staged laughter of paid actors
Hollow joy and mirth

28/11/11:
Screaming Winds and Rains
The year coming to an end now
Depression sinks in

29/11/11:
The assassin dead
Who will lead them from now on?
Templars will find out

30/11/11:
Dead days of the year
From Christmas until New Year’s
A cold sombre fear

31/11/11:
BBC Breakfast
This year’s obituaries
The final send off

07/01/12:
There’s too much to do
The stress is corroding me
I died long ago

15/01/2012:
Narratives half heard
Always interrupted yet
See it tomorrow

16/01/12:
Tooth deviated
No damage so no treatment
Good health yet ugly

18/09/12:
I would if I could, but I can’t so I shan’t

24/01/12:
They would rather lose limbs than lose face

25/01/12:
If rules are not consistent then they are pointless

01/10/12:
The homoeroticism of Sports:

“No, no, fair doos…he kicked a ball about a manicured field and we all worshipped him like a demigod.”

02/10/12:
“Aye good bloke. I ____ed the corpse at the funeral.”
“Aye we all ____ed it before then. Nothing special like.”

[unknown date due to being on a scrap of paper]
Everyone is in purgatory earning release just as acting on stage is a transitional act.

05/11/12:
A galloping gorilla.

06/11/12:
This is not a love story. It is only a tale of romance.
“Do not lock them in that room, it shall become their tomb!”

27/11/12:
Irony is that the superhero Ironman can afford to pay someone else to do his ironing for him so doesn’t bother himself.


Even before knowing who Daniil Kharms was I apparently had some urge to keep notebooks filled with ridiculous comments and miscellany. Admittedly this is nothing compared to his works and is the most bare bones of the note books I filled due to the long period of not using it during that year. The others, not that I have dug them out, are probably far more peculiar and eclectic… It all seems very dull to me though. These are past thoughts I discarded and only now put here as otherwise I would have posted another morose entry about how miserable life is. I am Eeyore and Marvin the Paranoid Android incarnate.