Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Robert Walser: “a sleeping sardine”

Since arriving in Berlin, I’ve lost the habit of finding humanity laughable. At this point, by the way, I myself request another edible wonder: a plank of bread bearing a sleeping sardine upon a bedsheet of butter, so enchanting a vision that I toss the whole spectacle down my open revolving stage of a gullet. Is such a thing laughable? By no means. Well, then. What isn’t laughable in me cannot be any more so in others, since it’s our duty to esteem others more highly than ourselves no matter what, a worldview splendidly in keeping with the earnestness with which I now contemplate the abrupt demise of my sardine pallet.

Robert Walser, “Aschinger,” in Berlin Stories , trans. Susan Bernofsky (New York: New York Review Books, 2012).
Related reading
Aschinger (Wikipedia)
All OCA Robert Walser posts (Pinboard)
All OCA sardine posts (Pinboard)

comments: 5

Fresca said...

On "a bedsheet of butter"--
not only is that a great way of describing it,
but sardine on butter sounds really good!

I could see buying sardines in water instead of olive oil, to try them this way.

Michael Leddy said...

I can hear a sardine singing, “Make me a pallet on your kitchen table.”

Frex said...

"Lay me down on a bed of rabe, I'll...."

(to be continued, by Cole Porter)

Michael Leddy said...

I had to look up the source. Very apt!

Frex said...

I heard that song playing at McDonald's today
(I like McDonald's, and Country-Western),
and I thought, "SARDINE!"

"The sharp knife of a short life..."

Also, I thought how sardines were the working man's cheap lunch,
kind of like a Filet-o-Fish!