All posts by Frank Johnson

About Frank Johnson

Creator of Ñspel / Translator from Czech and Portuguese / Tweets articles about art

Poems from Uncle Arthur: Life Sentence

Life’s to be lived

so live for today

or carpe diem

if your Latin’s OK

and don’t lose the will to live

or say life ain’t worth living

because you only live once

and life’s too short

as we’re here today

gone tomorrow

indeed from cradle to grave

ain’t that long a stay

life is a cabaret old chum

the best things in life are free

living is easy with eyes closed

and life’s not about how many breaths you take

but the moments that take your breath away

so live and let live

eat drink and be merry

for tomorrow

can look after itself

and anyway

our little life is rounded with a sleep

and life what is it but a dream

which is not to say life can’t be cruel

life is hard

and nothing is certain but death and taxes

so look lively

he came to save the living not the dead

live as if every day was your last

don’t fret about spelling or grammar

and certainly not syntax

it’s not a matter of life or death

it’s more important than that

remember God writes straight on crooked lives

and live life to the full stop

♥ ♣ ♦ 

Poems from Uncle Arthur: Fourteen

Don’t walk under a

ladder, don’t let a frog in

side, don’t open an um

brella until you’re out out

side, reflect before you break a

mirror, crossing black-cat paths – un

wise, don’t sing when eating

dinner, don’t bring an albatross de

mise, don’t gift a purse with empty

inner, and of course there’s more be

sides, but apropos of poe

try, whate’er your rhyming

scheme, be mainly mighty careful not

to call your poem Thir

♥ ♣ ♦ 

Incontrovertible, by Karel Čapek

(My translation of the short story Naprostý důkaz, which was published in Povídky z jedné kapsy in 1929.)

“The thing is, Tondo,” said investigating magistrate Slavík to his best friend, “it’s a question of experience. I don’t believe any excuses, any alibis or any blah-blah-blah. I don’t believe either the accused or the witnesses. People lie, even when they don’t mean to. Say a witness swears blind he’s got nothing against the accused… it’s quite possible that, deep down, so deep down he’s not even aware of it himself, he hates him for whatever deep-down reason. And everything the accused says has been plannned to the last jot and tittle. And everything the witness says might very well be governed by a conscious or unconscious desire to help or hinder the accused. You can’t believe anyone, that’s what I say.

Continue reading Incontrovertible, by Karel Čapek

Reading Writing Right, by Karel Čapek

(My translation of the short story Tajemství písma, which was published in Povídky z jedné kapsy in 1929.)

“Rubner!” said the editor-in-chief. “Go and take a look at that graphologist, Jensen. He’s doing a demonstration tonight for members of the press. They say he’s quite a sensation, that Jensen. Write me a few lines about it.”

Continue reading Reading Writing Right, by Karel Čapek