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Page:Modern Czech Poetry, 1920.djvu/23

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5
PETR BEZRUČ.
 

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).