Edward Hirsch, Nazim Hikmet, Guy Helminger, Sawako Ariyoshi, Batya Gur, Robert Olen Butler Jr.
For the Sleepwalkers
Tonight I want to say something wonderful
for the sleepwalkers who have so much faith
in their legs, so much faith in the invisible
arrow carved into the carpet, the worn path
that leads to the stairs instead of the window,
the gaping doorway instead of the seamless mirror.
I love the way that sleepwalkers are willing
to step out of their bodies into the night,
to raise their arms and welcome the darkness,
palming the blank spaces, touching everything.
Always they return home safely, like blind men
who know it is morning by feeling shadows.
And always they wake up as themselves again.
That's why I want to say something astonishing
like: Our hearts are leaving our bodies.
Our hearts are thirsty black handkerchiefs
flying through the trees at night, soaking up
the darkest beams of moonlight, the music
of owls, the motion of wind-torn branches.
And now our hearts are thick black fists
flying back to the glove of our chests.
We have to learn to trust our hearts like that.
We have to learn the desperate faith of sleep-
walkers who rise out of their calm beds
and walk through the skin of another life.
We have to drink the stupefying cup of darkness
and wake up to ourselves, nourished and surprised.
Edward Hirsch (Chicago, 20 januari 1950)
The Faces Of Our Women
Mary didn't give birth to God.
Mary isn't the mother of God.
Mary is one mother among many mothers.
Mary gave birth to a son,
a son among many sons.
That's why Mary is so beautiful in all the pictures of her.
That's why Mary's son is so close to us, like our own sons.
The faces of our women are the book of our pains.
Our pains, our faults and the blood we shed
carve scars on the faces of our women like plows.
And our joys are reflected in the eyes of women
like the dawns glowing on the lakes.
Our imaginations are on the faces of women we love.
Whether we see them or not, they are before us,
closest to our realities and furthest.
You are my enslavement and my freedom
You are my flesh burning like a raw summer night
You are my country
You are the green silks in hazel eyes
You are big, beautiful and triumphant
And you are my sorrow that isn't felt
the more I feel it.
You Are My Drunkenness
You are my drunkenness...
I did not sober up, as if I can do that;
I don't want to anyway.
I have a headache, my knees are full of scars
I am in mud all around
I struggle to walk towards your hesitant light.
Nazim Hikmet (20 januari 1902 – 3 juni 1963)
er sei nämlich astronome,
und die energie
hocke in schwarzen löchern.
pillenesser und götter.
gräten und computer im netz
oder das blutende huhn,
der schächer im schaumbad.
abwechselnd gegen das wellblech gepinkelt,
fragmente im nebel.
durch braune schneepfützen.
äste fingen vogelleiber:
sprang von der brücke
in den fluß.
Guy Helminger (Esch-sur-Alzette, 20 januari 1963)
The River Ki (Vertaald door Mildred Tahara)
“The two palanquin bearers, ordered from Wakayama City, gave a loud shout as they lifted the palanquin in which Hana was seated and carried it aboard the boat moored at the landing. They set the palanquin down in the middle of the boat and stationed themselves at the stern.
"She's a beauty!" said one of the men.
"A little doll," whispered the other. In the meantime the boatmen were calling out one to another.
The bride's boat left the shore. The go-betweens sat side by side like mandarin ducks in the lead boat, which had been loaded to capacity with presents for relatives and gifts sent in return for engagement presents. Toku waited on her mistress in the boat carrying Hana's palanquin, the second in the procession. Toku was fifty years old, and her face, heavily made up for the occasion, was tense. Though Ki province is relatively warm, the air over the river this early March morning chilled the women's skin, even though they were dressed in crested kimonos of silk pongee with matching sashes.“
Sawako Ariyoshi (20 januari 1931 – 30 augustus 1984)
Uit: Murder in Jerusalem
“Schreiber's smooth, large, white face was shining when he lifted his head from the camera lens. Benny Meyuhas touched his shoulders and moved him gently aside in order to get a peek through the lens, and then he too saw the figure standing at the edge of the roof, near the railing, holding the hem of her white gown in her hand, her drawn and pale face turned to the dark sky. He lifted his head and pointed at the moon.
Rain had fallen all week, especially at night, and even though the weather forecasters had noted repeatedly that these rains were benefi-cial, welcome, appearing now in mid-December as the harbinger of a wonderful winter, Benny Meyuhas was beside himself; it seemed to him that the head of the Production Department himself had ordered this rain in order to prevent him from the night filming of Iddo and Eynam, or, as he put it, "to finish up already with that thing that's eaten up our entire budget for Israeli drama." Just when Benny had lost all hope of completing these last scenes, which were being filmed in secret, if not absolutely underground due to the threat-which no crew member had actually mentioned but everyone knew-that Matty Cohen, head of production, could at any moment appear on the set and put a stop to the whole project, the rain suddenly let up and the moon appeared, as if it had consented to perform its role and cast light on the path of Gemullah the somnambulist, the heroine of Agnon's story, as she sleepwalked at the edge of the roof and sang songs from her childhood.”
Batya Gur (20 januari 1947 – 19 mei 2005)
Uit: The Star of Istanbul
“I made another step to the side and another and I could see her again, in profile now, her long, straight nose beautifully at odds with the usual standards of beauty of this age. I thought: I bet her feet are large too and her hands and she is all the more beautiful for defying this world’s conventions in these details. And I was still entranced by her nose, absorbing even the precise curve where its bridge met her brow, a perfect fit, I fancied, for my fingertip, when she said, “I am a film actress.”
She’d hardly finished the sentence when one reporter leaped in before another hubbub of questions could begin. “Miss Bourgani,” he said, “the world is at war.” She turned her face instantly to him—in my general direction as well—and her dark eyes riveted him and his voice snagged as if he were suddenly beginning to choke. He managed to stammer a couple of meaningless vowel sounds and then he fell silent. The other reporters all laughed. But it was a sympathetic laugh. Hers was a face that could stop a thousand ships.
“Yes?” she said, encouraging him to go on with his question, giving the impression that she’d spoken softly, though I could hear her clearly.“Miss Bourgani,” the reporter began again. “In light of the German threats and this being a British liner, are you afraid to be traveling on the Lusitania?”
Robert Olen Butler Jr. (Granite City, 20 januari 1945)