Erik Menkveld, Ted Kooser, James Fenton, Walter de la Mare, Ross Franklin Lockridge Jr., Julius Grosse
Eerst klapwiek je recht omhoog
om overzicht te krijgen
en indruk te maken. Laat je niet
afleiden door zilvergroen wiegende
duivinnen aan de einder (knotwilgen)
of door de boer met voer bij het hok:
houd je symboolwaarde steeds in het oog.
Cirkel vervolgens traag weer omlaag
tot op je poten en begin te koeren.
Goed koeren scheelt veel vechten,
wie goed koert, koert tien tegen een
zijn mededuif het gevecht uit de kop.
Een vreedzaam volkje
's Winters vechten we cactussen om
(uit speelse verveling en bij verbod
op tegenstand): volgens overlevering
levensgevaarlijk, maar onder begeleiding
een belevenis. In het voorjaar denken we
niet aan vechten. En sinds de planten
uit hun wortels springen van de droogte
's zomers, heeft een karpersimulator
de smaak van de beproefde vissen
doen vergeten. Een enkeling van ons
klaagt na de schrale bonenmaaltijd
in het najaar zachtjes met zijn kont.
Maar zolang we nog bonen hebben
hoeven we niet te doden.
Erik Menkveld (25 april 1959 - 30 maart 2014)
A Blind Woman
She had turned her face up into
a rain of light, and came on smiling.
The light trickled down her forehead
and into her eyes. It ran down
into the neck of her sweatshirt
and wet the white tops of her breasts.
Her brown shoes splashed on
into the light. The moment was like
a circus wagon rolling before her
through puddles of light, a cage on wheels,
and she walked fast behind it,
exuberant, curious, pushing her cane
through the bars, poking and prodding,
while the world cowered back in a corner.
A Letter in October
Dawn comes later and later now,
and I, who only a month ago
could sit with coffee every morning
watching the light walk down the hill
to the edge of the pond and place
a doe there, shyly drinking,
then see the light step out upon
the water, sowing reflections
to either side—a garden
of trees that grew as if by magic—
now see no more than my face,
mirrored by darkness, pale and odd,
startled by time. While I slept,
night in its thick winter jacket
bridled the doe with a twist
of wet leaves and led her away,
then brought its black horse with harness
that creaked like a cricket, and turned
the water garden under. I woke,
and at the waiting window found
the curtains open to my open face;
beyond me, darkness. And I,
who only wished to keep looking out,
must now keep looking in.
Ted Kooser (Ames, 25 april 1939)
Portret door Jack Richard Smith, 2008
A German Requiem (Fragment)
Would come down, would ever come down
With a smile like thin gruel, and never too much to say.
How he shrank through the years.
How you towered over him in the narrow cage.
How he shrinks now...
But come. Grief must have its term? Guilt too, then.
And it seems there is no limit to the resourcefulness of recollection.
So that a man might say and think:
When the world was at its darkest,
When the black wings passed over the rooftops,
(And who can divine His purposes?) even then
There was always, always a fire in this hearth.
You see this cupboard? A priest-hole!
And in that lumber-room whole generations have been housed and fed.
Oh, if I were to begin, if I were to begin to tell you
The half, the quarter, a mere smattering of what we went through!
His wife nods, and a secret smile,
Like a breeze with enough strength to carry one dry leaf
Over two pavingstones, passes from chair to chair.
Even the enquirer is charmed.
He forgets to pursue the point.
It is not what he wants to know.
It is what he wants not to know.
It is not what they say.
It is what they do not say.
James Fenton (Lincoln, 25 april 1949)
As I mused by the hearthside,
Puss said to me;
'there burns the fire , man,
and here sit we.
Four walls around us
against the cold air;
and the latch drawn close
to the draughty stair.
A roof o'er our heads
star-proof, moon immune,
and a wind in the chimney
to wail us a tune.'
'What felicity!' miaowed he,
'where none may intrude;
just man and beast- met
in this solitude!'
'Dear God, what security,
comfort and bliss!
and to think, too what ages
have brought us to this!'
'You in your sheep's' wool coat,
buttons of bone,
and me in my fur-about
on the warm hearthstone'
Walter John de la Mare (25 april 1873 – 22 juni 1956)
UIt: Rhapsody in Words
“It was close to that mysterious hour that halves the night. Far in the northeast corner of a spacious house I sat alone. The lamp upon my study table cut a yellow cone from the dense stuff of night, and at the bottom of that cone there lay an open book over which I leaned with fascinated eye. For I had set myself a heroic task--to analyze Words, the very stuff out of which poetry is made and without which thought itself were impossible. So on that moonless night, at an hour when the unphilosophical lie drugged with sleep, I sat gazing at The Dictionary.
Words! Words! Words! So long had I studied them and so rapt had been my attention to the pages of The Dictionary that Words were no longer the simple messengers of thought that I had imagined them to be. They had become a riddle that would not let me be. "What, indeed," I asked myself, "are these conventional symbols that we blandly call Words--this bit-work of the brain, these little inadequacies wherein we are doomed to imprison Thought, the Imperishable, Emotion, the Unconfinable? What are these sluggish ministers of Ideal Beauty--these stupid infantries that plod and lose their way while the main action fails and is forgotten." And I continued somewhat in this vein: "These Words, monsters of ink, pygmy rulers of this world, are nought but an arbitrary convention and, in themselves, utterly devoid of meaning. They are a gibbering noise, a ludicrous cluck made by clicking the tongue, the teeth, and the palate adroitly together, or else they are a series of regimented files of twisting snakes along a page. Why is one word poetic and another prosaic? Why is it that one of these inky lines is called beautiful and reproduced upon a thousand pages and another is declared stupid and forgotten as soon as read? Why may the same word be in one context a thing of vital strength, alive with meaning, and in another context as dead as a stone? What are the families of words, and whence are words come?"
Ross Franklin Lockridge Jr. (25 april 1914 – 6 maart 1948)
Hier met zijn vader
Horch, horch, was singen die Wellen am Strand?
Es waren drei Jäger im Oberland,
die wollten fischen und jagen
in ihren jungen Tagen.
Sie kamen an einen Wald so grau.
Da saß eine wilde, uralte Frau,
die kämmte die weißen Locken.
Das Herz tät ihnen stocken.
„Vor tausend Jahren da war ich schön,
da jagt ich die Hirsche auf Bergeshöhn.
Kein König zog vorüber,
er küßte mich viel lieber.
Mein Haar ward grau, und mein Haupt ward schwer,
mag heute keiner mich küssen mehr.
Wollt ihr das Alter nicht ehren?
Ich will euch Sitte lehren!“
Drei Haare sie riß aus dcm greisen Schopf,
die wirbelt sie lachend über den Kopf;
drei schöne Mädchen alsbalde
hinschwebten übes dem Walde.
Die Jäger standen und staunten sehr,
dann stürmten sie nach mit Waffen und Wehr,
das flüchtige Wild zu fangen.
Sind alle verloren gegangen.
Julius Grosse (25 april 1828 – 9 mei 1902)