Friend, I think this watchman is you and I. Don
by Franz Kafka
Immersed in the night. The way you sometimes lower your head to contemplate, so completely immersed in the night. All around people are asleep. A little play-acting, an innocent self-deception that they are sleeping in houses, in solid beds, under a solid roof, stretched out or curled up on mattresses, in sheets, under covers; in reality, they have come together as once before and as they later did in the wilderness, a camp in the open air, a vast number of people, an army, a nation, under a cold sky on cold earth, cast down where one once stood, with one’s forehead resting on one’s arm, one’s face toward the ground, breathing calmly. And you watch, you’re one of the watchmen. You find the next one by swinging a firebrand from the bonfire beside you. Why do you watch? Someone must watch, they say. Someone must be there.
Translated by Don Hank