Robert Bly, Norman Maclean, Sara Coleridge, Donna Tartt, Marcelin Pleynet, Iván Mándy, J.J.L. ten Kate, Tim Fountain
For My Son Noah Ten Years Old
Nigh and day arrive and day after day goes by
And what is old remains old and what is young remains young and grows old.
The lumber pile does not grow younger nor the two-by-fours lose their darkness
but the old tree goes on the barn stands without help so many years;
the advocate of darkness and night is not lost.
The horse steps up swings on one leg turns its body
the chicken flapping claws onto the roost its wings whelping and walloping
but what is primitive is not to be shot out into the night and the dark.
And slowly the kind man comes closer loses his rage sits down at table.
So I am proud only of those days that pass in undivided tenderness
when you sit drawing or making books stapled with messages to the world
or coloring a man with fire coming out of his hair.
Or we sit at a table with small tea carefully poured.
So we pass our time together calm and delighted.
In Rainy September
In rainy September when leaves grow down to the dark
I put my forehead down to the damp seaweed-smelling sand.
What can we do but choose? The only way for human beings
is to choose. The fern has no choice but to live;
for this crime it receives earth water and night.
we close the door. "I have no claim on you."
Dusk comes. "The love I have had with you is enough."
We know we could live apart from the flock.
The sheldrake floats apart from the flock.
The oaktree puts out leaves alone on the lonely hillside.
Men and women before us have accomplished this.
I would see you and you me once a year.
We would be two kernels and not be planted.
We stay in the room door closed lights out.
I weep with you without shame and without honor.
Wanting Sumptuous Heavens
No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
Drinks his dark rum all day, and is content.
Robert Bly (Madison, 23 december 1926)
Uit: A River Runs Through It
“Eventually, he introduced us to literature on the subject. He tried always to say something stylish as he buttoned the glove on his casting hand. "Izaak Walton," he told us when my brother was thirteen or fourteen, "is not a respectable writer. He was an Episcopalian and a bait fisherman."" Although Paul was three years younger than I was, he was already far ahead of me in anything relating to fishing and it was he who first found a copy of The Compleat Angler and reported back to me, "The bastard doesn't even know how to spell 'complete.' Besides, he has songs to sing to dairymaids." I borrowed his copy, and reported back to him, "Some of those songs are pretty good." He said, "Whoever saw a dairymaid on the Big Blackfoot River?
Scene uit de film van Robert Redford uit 1992 met o.a. Brad Pitt
"I would like," he said, "to get him for a day's fishing on the Big Blackfoot—with a bet on the side."
The boy was very angry, and there has never been a doubt in my mind that the boy would have taken the Episcopalian money.
When you are in your teens—maybe throughout your life—being three years older than your brother often makes you feel he is a boy. However, I knew already that he was going to be a master with a rod. He had those extra things besides fine training—genius, luck, and plenty of self-confidence. Even at this age he liked to bet on himself against anybody who would fish with him, including me, his older brother.”
Norman Maclean (23 december 1902 – 2 augustus 1990)
See yon blithe child that dances in our sight!
Can gloomy shadows fall from one so bright?
Fond mother, whence these fears?
While buoyantly he rushes o'er the lawn,
Dream not of clouds to stain his manhood's dawn,
Nor dim that sight with tears.
No cloud he spies in brightly glowing hours,
But feels as if the newly vested bowers
For him could never fade:
Too well we know that vernal pleasures fleet,
But having him, so gladsome, fair, and sweet,
Our loss is overpaid.
Amid the balmiest flowers that earth can give
Some bitter drops distil, and all that live
A mingled portion share;
But, while he learns these truths which we lament,
Such fortitude as ours will sure be sent,
Such solace to his care.
Sara Coleridge (23 december 1802 - 3 mei 1852)
Uit: The Goldfinch
“Things would have turned out better if my mother had lived. As it was, she died when I was a kid; and though everything that’s happened to me since then is thoroughly my own fault, still when I lost her I lost sight of any landmark that might have led me someplace happier, to some more populated or congenial life.
Her death the dividing mark: Before and After. And though it’s a bleak thing to admit all these years later, still I’ve never met anyone who made me feel loved the way she did. Everything came alive in her company; she cast a charmed theatrical light about her so that to see anything through her eyes was to see it in brighter colours than ordinary – I remember a few weeks before she died, eating a late supper with her in an Italian restaurant down in the Village, and how she grasped my sleeve at the sudden, almost painful loveliness of a birthday cake with lit candles being carried in procession from the kitchen, faint circle of light wavering in across the dark ceiling and then the cake set down to blaze amidst the family, beatifying an old lady’s face, smiles all round, waiters stepping away with their hands behind their backs – just an ordinary birthday dinner you might see anywhere in an inexpensive downtown restaurant, and I’m sure I wouldn’t even remember it had she not died so soon after, but I thought about it again and again after her death and indeed I’ll probably think about it all my life: that candlelit circle, a tableau vivant of the daily, commonplace happiness that was lost when I lost her.“
Donna Tartt (Greenwood, 23 december 1963)
c’est encore toi
ta voix et le multiple nombre
Plus tard comme un cor
comme un clavier
je te touche
dans ton ombre je viens
je te tiens
tu me caresses et tu m’éveilles
je te tiens
et tu jouis dans ma bouche
tu me berces
tu ris musique
tu jouis dans mon oreille.
Marcelin Pleynet (Lyon, 23 december 1933)
Uit: On The Balcony
“He was watering the plants. Sprinkling them. Rather half-heartedly. Without conviction. The plants sensed it, the plants on the balcony. They were coated with dust in the faded-green box. The climbing plant crept up the worn, crumbling mortar wall, and yet... It was barely possible to stir on the tiny balcony. He cautiously turned around. He looked down at the street, at the square. Trucks below the window. People walking dogs on the pathways of the square. A girl in jeans with two dogs. One a gloomy-looking bulldog. An over-aged detective. The other distinguished, long-haired. They never speak to each other. A black-haired boy with a black dog heaved into sight behind the girl. Thank God!
And he must be on this rickety balcony.
Yes, on the balcony with the shattered, blackened stone facing. A piece of its ledge is missing. As if a bite had been taken out of it. The whole thing is falling into decay, just like the building itself.
He splashed a little water on the deck. Then he just stood there holding the empty can.
This balcony could give way at any time. A girl actually said: "Listen, I wouldn't go out there if I was you."
Some day he will fly away with the balcony. Stones, stone fragments plopping around him. He'll fly over the trees. Across the square.
The night is a sweat-soaked shirt.
This appeared before him. This was on the slip on the writing desk inside. One single perplexing line.
The night is a sweat-soaked shirt.”
Iván Mándy (23 december 1918 – 26 oktober 1995)
Het roosje en het graf
Het Graf sprak eens het Roosje aan:
- Wat moet er met de dauw gedaan,
Waarvan uw blaadjes blinken? -
- En gij, hernam het Roosje toen,
Wat wilt gij met de doden doen,
Die in uw diepte zinken? -
Het Roosje zei: - Ik zal te nacht
De dauw, die mij de morgen bracht,
Tot honigdruppels menglen! -
- En ik, lief Roosje! zei het Graf,
De doden, die de Heer mij gaf,
Verander ik in Englen. —
Ik droomde – een droom vol tegenstrijdigheden,
Half licht, half duisternis, half waar, half waan,
Nu Profetie, dan Echo van ’t Verleden,
Vaak beide in eens, en immer – half verstaan.
‘k Greep schimmen, die mij door de vingren gleden;
Ik vloog, of kroop, maar niets werd afgedaan;
‘k Heb in één uur genoten en geleden,
Heel ’t bonte lot eens Levens ondergaan.
Daar blonk de dag – de onzichtbre banden braken:
‘k Rees op, nog met de tranen op de kaken,
En glimlachte om mijn dwaze hersenschim.
En ‘k juichte: ’O God, als aan de levenskim
De morgen uwer heerlijkheid zal blaken,
Wat glimlach zal dàt wezen bij ’t ontwaken.’
J.J.L. ten Kate (23 december 1819 - 24 december 1889)
Uit: Interview: Tim Fountain (IN The Scotsman, 2008)
"Transgression has for me always been a part of sex because when you're transgressing the blood is pumping round your body, the adrenaline's flowing and you feel more alive," he says.
"I think it's important for everyone, though. That's the problem with maintaining a good sex life in a relationship. You lie next to the same person, you're allowed to touch that person, you've seen them taking their clothes off a million times and so all the taboos are gone. And once that's happened it becomes hard for it to maintain its eroticism."
And in that, lies the other main thread of the book, which is every bit as interesting as the sex antics of swingers in Scarborough. Fountain is questioning why he's lived the way he has and whether he wants to keep doing it. "I probably do have some sort of fear of intimacy on some level, but we'll leave that to the psychologists," he says.
"I've always been completely conflicted. On one hand, there's the casual shagger and on the other the romantic. Suddenly a cup of tea and Coronation Street sitting on the sofa with someone I know seems exotic. And it has for a while.
"I have come out of the book a different person, I think. Not entirely, but that's the question really – can a leopard change its spots? Can a man change what's in his soul? I don't know."
Tim Fountain (Dewsbury, 23 december 1967)