Irena Šťastná


[He leaves those cows of his…]


He leaves those cows of his
up to their knees in it.
Heads worn raw
at the vaulted roof.
Windows boarded up.

He’s mad
– they shrug him off.

It’s otherwise.
The lowing of frantic udders
reminds him of dad.




to lift
and clear away
a cockerel’s
You well know
by the time
you’ve called for help
the others’ve pecked
away the head.




Lick about for the taste of your fillings.
Be a hindrance (in your own interposing time)
at the airport run through with drafts. Flare up.
Perform irrigations of the cavities (and there’s plenty).
Grind up in your mash all those deviant truths.
Finger mouths onto the bus window
(all of them all at once set off from the end stop).


IRENA ŠŤASTNÁ is a Czech poet and novelist. She lives in Dobroslavice, a small village in North Moravia in the Czech Republic. In 2012, she was nominated for the Dresden Lyrics Prize together with four other Czech authors. Her fourth collection Žvýkání jader (Chewing on the Cores) will be published in November 2015.


About the Translator:

PAUL INGS has lived in the Czech Republic since 1992. His own poetry has appeared in British journals such as The Reader, The Interpreter’s House, South, Fuselit, and others, and in the anthologies Cornwall (Palores publications) and Hildegard: visions and inspiration (Poetry on the Lake). More recently a review in the Czech Journal Plav and an early translation of the poetry of Irena Šťastná commissioned by Poetry Cornwall have been published.