Here in this land no one gets ridicule
but he who tells the truth. He then must stand
defenseless and attract some smirking, cool
disdain. Nothing dishonors in this land.
Here in this land a person’s wickedness,
which elsewhere would lead straight to prison’s door,
mints him pure gold, brings glory and success,
and garners honor for him evermore.
Here in this land a gauntlet you must run
of petty thieves with deep contempt for you,
who wish to steal your purse and, when it’s done,
will try to win, besides, your handshake too.
Here in this land you never will find rest
when fleeing from contaminated schemes,
for to your house the post comes like the pest
and mercilessly kills your pleasant dreams.
Here in this land you strike an idle blow
if you attempt to hit this wily band,
and every knave will grin and let you know
you’re his compatriot here in this land
Karl Kraus (Austria, 1874-1936) with an image of Upper Torso, artwork by Kiki Smith (Papier-mâché with graphite on shelf, ph. Diana Marrone) seen at Palazzo Fortuny