Tuesday, October 28, 2014

EC 437 / 11 Smartass John
Eso A.B.
Smartass John and Crazy Jane
Scene 10: Flying Over The River Styx
Translation © Eso A.B.

Synopsis:  The raven takes Smartass John for a ride.  One may imagine Smartass John as Selma Lagerlof’s Nils Holgersson, the bad ass Swedish farm boy http://mygulitypleasures.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/nils_holgersson_-neilmoore-it.jpg , who with little but a ‘Carrot’ for a friend undertook a trip on the backs of wild geese. However, unlike the geese, the raven shakes Smartass John off its back and lets him fall from out of the sky.  (For a more complete perspective on this story, please read blog 427—Introduction.)

The Speaker:
Smartass John had to find a ladder
to climb the raven’s back.
Once he lay in its down,
he dug his fingers
deep into the raven’s feathers.
The raven rose into the air
It had not flown far,
When Smartass John raised his head.
He was surprised to see
they were flying directly above the Styx.

He saw Crazy Jane was still standing in the stream
and pulling bucket after hollow bucket
through the water.
Rozinante was standing by the riverside
and watching with consternation.
Smartass John called to Jane:

“Hey, Jane! I told you,
you no longer need to do that.
The Sun said you are
free to go!”

Crazy Jane:
Thanks, Smartass John!

The Speaker:
Jane waved to him with both hands.
John noticed tears
were streaming down her cheeks.
This is how he came to understand, at last,
that the Styx was a river of tears,
And Crazy Jane was
but bathing in her sorrows.

Soon the raven flew over
the oak, where long lines
of people stood waiting their turn
to hang themselves.
The corpses hanging
were pissing
and watering the roots of the tree.

Perhaps that is the reason why
the oak, watered by a mix of tears and piss
is such a symbol of strength.

Smartass John:
Hey, you below, stop
hanging yourselves.
The Sun says that the gallows
are meant for ministers of state
and hunters only;
for all who insult the bonds
between nature and man
by deriving pleasure from
causing torture or death.

The Speaker:
The raven flew ever higher.
A fierce wind and cold forced one
to keep one’s mouth shut.
It was a time
for Smartass John to admit to himself:
“I am getting worried.”

The raven flew yet higher again
and soon was flying over a large sea.
No matter how many flying fish
were hunting crickets that flew
over their watery domain
the sea became ever smaller.

The Raven:
How high are we, Smartass John?
How large is the sea?

Smartass John:
It appears we are flying over a lake!

The Speaker:
The Raven flew yet higher again.

The Raven:
How high are we now, Smartass John?
How large is the lake?

Smartass John:
We are flying over a puddle.

The Speaker:
The raven kept rising higher.
Just how high it flew
no one knows.
Smartass John thought
that it would have been
perhaps better not to run after
Princess Unsurpassable Beauty
after all. Perhaps he should have
been happy to stay with Crazy Jane,
who had proved that she
did not lag behind him
in finding pleasure in pleasure.
As Smartass John held
to the raven’s black feathers,
he inadvertently rubbed the gold ring again.

Crazy Jane again emerged,
this time from behind the clouds.
It was her turn to be surprised.
She screamed.

Crazy Jane:
I thought that you were long dead!”

The Speaker:
Smartass John was not happy
to hear this.
“Dead men are not nearly
as much fun as I am,” he shot back.

Crazy Jane retorted:
“But they cannot cause harm.
The raven can pick their ribs clean,
without taking worry
they will begin to dance.

Smartass John dug his fingers
Deeper yet into the ravens feathers.

The Raven:
How high are we now, Smartass John?
How large is the puddle?

Smartass John:
It’s as large as
the dead eye of a horse.

No sooner did the raven
hear these words,
it flipped, flew on its back,
and ruffled its feathers.

Smartass John’s grip loosened,
and with two fistfuls of black feathers,
he fell out of the sky.


No comments:

Post a Comment