This song is from 1968, but the lyrics were written in the fifties by the Czech poet Josef Kainar. The singer, Vladimir Mysik, then wrote the song based on the words of the poem in the sixties. He used existing lyrics of poems that he really liked in his songs quite a few times, I remember another song with lyrics that were inspired by the poet Vaclav Hrabe who died at the age of 25 under unexplained circumstances in 1965 (Variace na renesancni tema – Variation on a Renaissance Theme).
This particular poem by Josef Kainar is probably about the hopelessness of life in communist Czechoslovakia in the fifties. But I don’t really know what it is about, I am just guessing, especially since I seem to remember that Kainar either was a communist himself, or at least he was taught in elementary school as a representative Czech poet (who has a German name) under the communist regime, probably because his poetry was really interesting.
There is a little bit of hope and beauty hidden somewhere in the text … but you have to look hard ….
But I am not sure where it is hidden. Maybe he is saying that life is beautiful even if there is no hope that things will get better one day.
The words about the French expedition are in Kainar’s poem but not in the song.
(26.09.1917 – 16.11.1971)
Stříhali do hola malého chlapečka
All of the little boy’s hair had to go now the curls were falling on the floor and slowly dying there the curls were falling down, like roses into a grave an iron chair was being turned around
All the gray gentlemen in the mirrors on the walls they were just watching, they just kept watching they saw the little boy captured and hoodwinked krku with a white apron, tied around his neck
One of them, the Limping cello teacher he laughed out loud, and they were all so startled he laughed out loud, and the sound was just like when a piece of bloody meat smacks the floor
A French expedition in eighteen hundred and thirty five entered the catacombs of a tiny Christian sect there’s laughter from darkness to darkness and back under your dead tongue every time when a piece of bloody meat smacks the floor
A young apprentice is watching the little boy like a little animal watching another one not ready yet to catch and tear into pieces what is not mine but maybe already
Each morning he puts his little pink milk can on a tiny stove they call Vincent the conk out artist all kinds of strange thoughts then float in his head all of them kind of off the wall and a bit lukewarm
The longing itching like zits itching under soap the longing after a little coat check girl she sits in the cafe under her coats as if under young hanged bodies
All of the little boy’s hair had to go now watch yourself and don’t you make a move no moving is allowed on his iron chair
It’s already starting for him too.