The grand piano was dangling in the air and its silhouette was
drawn like a burned chopstick against the snowy mountaintops.
In between the black-lacquered wood and the cables that were holding
the instrument in its grip, a grey blanket was shoved in.
The yellow crane was towering above the house like a stiff giant
and started slowly to lower its burden.
Just above the balcony, the piano was kept floating and moved
softly to and fro.
The cables made a light creaking sound, the electric lifting equipment
made a humming noise and the sun was burning.
Down in the shadow of the houses, the undercarriage of the crane
filled up the full width of the sloping street.
A square crossbeam was wedged against the rear-wheels.
When the piano was hanging completely still the people
started talking again, children and dogs ran around, sturdy women
put down their baskets filled with vegetables and craned their
There were three movers.
One was operating the crane and the other two went into the house
with the heavy legs of the grand piano tucked under their arms.
The porch was kept open.
One little wheel was scratching the unfinished oak door.
When one of the men returned to get the shoe for the grand, the
sidewalk was crowded with children.
The doors of the balcony flew open and suddenly the second man
was standing in between the blue flowers.
He looked out over slated roofs, rolling meadows, over terraces
bordered with grey stones; here and there he saw a skinny cow,
down the valley he saw the small silver line of the river.
"I am going down", said the operator.
The man with the shoe came onto the balcony: arms wide the men
stood waiting, they were reaching high to get hold of the grand
and slowly were letting it descend on the shoe.
The doors closed.
The crane pulled up its arm with the heavy hook, leaving the piano
behind on the balcony like an unmanageable load.
From the inside someone pushed open the balcony doors even further.
White curtains were flapping outside in the draft.
The men in their cornflower blue coats were bending over on two
sides of the instrument and over two parallel planks of wood they
pushed it unsteadily inside.
Downstairs the children cheered.
of the novel “Het Geheim” by Anna Enquist published: De Arbeiderspers
This translation was made by Catelijne Benner, there are however
English translations available of books by Anna Enquist
Almost she was drawn away in one of those passions, if someone had
caught her at it.
Using one hand Erika Kohut just played on the piano of sense;
using the other she played the piano of passions.
First the passions have been celebrated,
now the sense, that drives her home,
quickly over dark alleys, has a turn.
But others too have achieved the work of the passions in her place.
The teacher has looked at it and given it a number appropriate
to her possibilities.
Erika is running between the lines of trees, where the dying
is already wandering around because of the mistletoe. Many branches
already said goodbye to their spot in the trees and have fallen
into the grass.
New accomplishments in the medical science can make the woman keep
her female functions until her old age.
Erika is leaving her watchtower to return to the warm nest.
On the outside nothing of the confusion is showing. Inside there
is a whirlwind blowing when she sees the young male bodies wander
around the Prater, she could almost be their mother if you look
at her age!
Everything that has happened before that age is irrevocable over
and can never be repeated.
Who knows what the future will bring.
Erika is fasting her zip.
That way she protects herself against touches. Accidental touches
too. But in her hurt inner self the storm grazes her still juicy
“The Pianist” A novel by Elfriede Jelinek about music,
a woman and love.
published: van Gennep Amsterdam.
Catelijne Benner made this translation; there are however English
translations available of books by Elfriede Jelinek.
Life or Piano? and
Dust on the Piano