What Companions Does the Wind Have?

A sample below of Hans Henny Jahnn’s writing from the horrific Kebad Kenya. I’m currently reading a selection published by Atlas Press. I owe a debt to flowerville for my introduction to Jahnn’s work, little of which exists in English translation. Steve also wrote a first-rate essay on Jahnn. Thanks also to Steve, I discovered the outstanding Hyperion, the latest issue [PDF] features a translated excerpt of Jahnn’s Perrudja. (Somehow I must overcome my inattentiveness when reading on screen to read this.)

For a moment it had seemed to Kebad Kenya as if he were travelling the never-ending road to infinity. He tried to prepare a speech to explain or excuse his sin. Even though his words would first have been heard beyond the stars. Very late. It was possible too that no one would even understand what he was saying. That he had been alone. As if the infinite expanses were not more lonely. As if the ceaseless course of time had not savoured mankind’s fate a thousandfold. What companions does the wind have? Nevertheless, Kebad Kenya could no longer retract his deceit – that he had died. And when a man is hated by death, then patience has to be found, or self-command, in order to await what must happen.

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