Saturday, October 28, 2017


My Great-Grandfather Was A Lard Merchant

My great-grandfather was a lard merchant,

and today

some still recall him

between Henndorf and Thalgan,

Seekirchen and Kostendorf,

and they hear his voice

and draw

together at his table,

which was also the table of gentlemen.

1881, in the spring,

he made up his mind for life: he planted

grape vines along a wall outside the house

and called the beggars together;

his wife, Maria, the one with the black ribbon,

gave him a further thousand years.

He invented the music of pigs

and the fire of bitterness,

he spoke of the wind

and of the wedding of the dead.

He would give me not one slice of speck

for my despair.


Thomas Bernhard
translated by James Reidel
Seagull Books 2017