A Dream about the Funeral of Professor P
by Jan Svankmajer
I lie on top of a huge crate (the kind to be found in parks where gardeners store their tools or which are used for storing salted sand for scattering on pavements). A bed is carefully made for me on top of this crate - a pillow below my head, and I am covered by a duvet. I am falling asleep when all of a sudden I hear some noise. Some people are coming to my crate. There is a crowd headed by prominent Czech intellectuals. They carry packages in their hands. They kneel in front of my crate (without noticing me) and pray. Then they stand up one by one and go up to the crate, opening the lid together with me and my sheets (at this moment I have to hold the lid with both hands in order not to fall off) and throw their packages into the crate. At the same time they always cross themselves. I know that the packages contain pieces of Professor P.'s flesh. Now K.B. approaches the crate and carries something wrapped in torn, greasy newspaper. Before throwing it into the crate he unwraps it and takes out a roll of prepared skin. He tells me that it is the skin of Professor P. and throws it into the crate. Then the painter J.P. comes to the crate and holds something like portable "mirrors" with a handle. On these mirrors she has arranged Professor P.'s bones woven through with artificial flowers (reminiscent of old Baroque relics). She passionately kisses the mirrors and throws them into the crate.
[November 12, 1980]