Empat Tulisan Fragmen Franz Kafka
Membaca Kafka ialah ibarat bermain catur dengan kekurangan satu bidak Raja. Namun mereka yang meminati Kafka tetap ingin bermain; mereka tetap ingin mencari bidak Kafka yang hilang itu. Buku terbaru terbitan New Directions ini membuktikan kegilaan tersebut. Saya tidak fikir fragmen dalam buku ini akan menggantikan karya-karya terbaik Kafka ("The Hunger Artist," "The Burrow," "The Great Wall of China" dll). Tetapi tidak rugi pun bermain catur dengan seorang pencerita yang hebat seperti Kafka. Saya kongsi empat fragmen sahaja. Saya kekalkan terjemahan asal Michael Hofmann.
* * *
When one night the small mouse in the mouse world was loved as no other came under the blade and with a scream gave up her life for a piece of bacon, all the mice in their holes all around were taken by a trembling and shaking; their eyes blinking uncontrollably, they looked at one another in turn, while their tails in terrible agitation swept across the floor this way and that. Finally, reluctantly, they came forth, one pushing the other, all drawn to the place of death. There lay the dear little thing, in its neck the steel blade, the pink legs flattened, the feeble body frozen, to which a morsel of bacon would have been so welcome. There stood the parents, eyeing what was left of their child.
* * *
You don't have to leave the house. Stay at your desk and listen. Or don't even listen, wait for it to bother you. Don't even wait, be completely quiet and alone. They will offer itself to you to be unmasked, it cannot do otherwise, it will writhe in front of you in ecstasies.
* * *
The deep well. It takes years for the bucket to reach the top, then in an instant it plummets to the bottom, faster than you can lean down, you think you are still holding it in your hands and already you hear the faraway splash, but you're not even listening.
* * *
I can swim as well as the others, only I have a better memory than they do, so I have been unable to forget my formerly not being able to swim. Since I have been unable to forget it, being able to swim doesn't help me, and I can't swim after all.