When sleep is running away from a man, and the man lies on his bed, dumbly stretching out his legs, while nearby a clock ticks on the bed stand and sleep is running away from the clock, then it seems to the man that an immense black window opens wide before him and that his thin little gray human soul is going to fly out through this window and his lifeless body will stay lying on the bed, dumbly stretching out its legs, and the clock will ring its quiet bell: “Yet another man has fallen asleep,” at that moment the immense and utterly black window will swing shut with a bang. 

A man by the last name of Oknov was lying on his bed, dumbly stretching out his legs, trying to fall asleep. But sleep was running away from Oknov. Oknov lay with his eyes open and frightening thoughts knocked inside his increasingly wooden head.     

March 8, 1938

Daniil Kharms
tr. Matvei Yankelevich



  1. i don't think it is good for me to read this (otherwise excellent) paragraph :-)

  2. oh and that's not an excerpt but the complete text of one of Kharms' typically short pieces.

  3. ah!

    i had to counteract this grim one through a different, brighter, full of hope approach, see next post :-)