Ivan Blatný

Poet, son of the writer Lev Blatný (1894-1930). Born in Brno, he spent the first part of his life here – before escaping into exile in 1948. He lived in a house...

more »

František Halas

Poet, translator and publicist, Brno born, spent his childhood and youth here. He learned the bookseller’s trade from A. Píša and for a brief period (1919–1921)...

more »

Oldřich Mikulášek

Poet and publicist. Lived in Brno from 1937 until his death, latterly at Mášova street. He is linked to several cultural institutions (the Brno studios of Czechoslovak...

more »

Jaroslav Seifert

Poet, publicist, memoirist. The first – and so far the only Czech to receive the Nobel prize for Literature. In addition to the lasting popularity he won through...

more »

Jan Skácel

Poet, writer, editor and translator. Spent most of his life in Brno and is closely linked to a number of Brno cultural institutions (the magazine Host do domu...

more »

Vít Slíva

Poet and schoolteacher. His connection to Brno dates back to his university days. Apart from one interlude, he has been living to this day at Poděbradova street....

more »

Brno

Places (in alphabetical order)

Vítězslav Nezval

1900  –  1958

Poet, writer and dramatist, started reading law in Brno in 1919 but soon after curtailed his studies. Later on, he repeatedly returned to Brno to see his friends and particularly his parents, who retired to Šmejkalova street in Žabovřesky. He had a little room in their house, which is where he wrote the major part of his works of the 1920s and 30s. In recollection of his parents and the mood of times spent in Brno he wrote one of his best known poems “Na břehu řeky Svratky” (‘On Svratka riverbank’), first published in the collection Chrpy a města (Cornflowers and towns) (1955).

The author and the places of his/her poems

Jundrov, Na Piavě


The poem and the place



On Svratka riverbank

On Svratka riverbank the speedwell flowers free,
on Svratka riverbank the grass grows short and close,
I loved to go there daily, swam, in reverie,
on Svratka riverbank the speedwell flowers free,
the water’s heavy, chilling, murky, tenebrose.

Even in sunny summer this place holds sombre sway
like that old painting hanging up in our home,
why did I scent it wafting dill, garlic, caraway,
even in sunny summer this place holds sombre sway
like that one garden, which I used to roam.

Though there be nicer rivers, sparkling greater still
than plaintive-shored dark Svratka river’s flow,
yet my life’s years I had right here to fill,
though there be nicer rivers, sparkling greater still,
not to their banks did my own mother go.

Though there be lands whose water is more blue
a sky more blue and mountains more blue-hued,
yet to Moravia I’ll hold forever true,
though there be lands whose water is more blue,
they are less dear to me than the land here imbued.

Though there be cemeteries far more grand,
like Vyšehrad, Prague’s golden heart filigree –
I am most moved by the granite one close at hand,
though there be cemeteries far more grand,
that above Brno is most dear to me.

On Svratka riverbank the speedwell flowers free,
and in the summer, corncobs tower in turn.
Oh, mother with you here I yearn to be,
on Svratka riverbank the speedwell flowers free,
mother, to live with you in Brno, yet, I yearn.

Though there be nicer rivers, sparkling greater still
than plaintive-shored dark Svratka river’s flow,
yet with you, mother, to live on I would will,
though there be nicer rivers, sparkling greater still,
you are my homeland, home, my mother, ever so.

                                                                         

                                                                         translated by Václav Pinkava

 


Nezval, Vítězslav: Chrpy a města (Cornflowers and towns), Prague: Československý spisovatel 1955, pp. 43–44.



Contacts



Jiří Trávníček  -   travnicek@ucl.cas.cz
Michal Fránek  -   franek@ucl.cas.cz

Write us