Edward Hirsch, Stefan Popa, Nazim Hikmet, Guy Helminger, Batya Gur, Qurratulain Hyder, Robert Olen Butler Jr.
Edward Hopper and the House by the Railroad (1925)
Out here in the exact middle of the day,
This strange, gawky house has the expression
Of someone being stared at, someone holding
His breath underwater, hushed and expectant;
This house is ashamed of itself, ashamed
Of its fantastic mansard rooftop
And its pseudo-Gothic porch, ashamed
of its shoulders and large, awkward hands.
But the man behind the easel is relentless.
He is as brutal as sunlight, and believes
The house must have done something horrible
To the people who once lived here
Because now it is so desperately empty,
It must have done something to the sky
Because the sky, too, is utterly vacant
And devoid of meaning. There are no
Trees or shrubs anywhere--the house
Must have done something against the earth.
All that is present is a single pair of tracks
Straightening into the distance. No trains pass.
Now the stranger returns to this place daily
Until the house begins to suspect
That the man, too, is desolate, desolate
And even ashamed. Soon the house starts
To stare frankly at the man. And somehow
The empty white canvas slowly takes on
The expression of someone who is unnerved,
Someone holding his breath underwater.
And then one day the man simply disappears.
He is a last afternoon shadow moving
Across the tracks, making its way
Through the vast, darkening fields.
This man will paint other abandoned mansions,
And faded cafeteria windows, and poorly lettered
Storefronts on the edges of small towns.
Always they will have this same expression,
The utterly naked look of someone
Being stared at, someone American and gawky.
Someone who is about to be left alone
Again, and can no longer stand it.
Edward Hirsch (Chicago, 20 januari 1950)
Edward Hopper, The House by the Railroad
Uit: De liefdadigheidsbieb (Blog)
“Via social media werd ik op het bestaan gewezen van een thuisbibliotheek in Venlo-Oost. Een lidmaatschap bij de reguliere bibliotheek kost ongeveer evenveel als een gebonden boek van enig formaat. Dat betekent dat je bijna alle boeken tot je beschikking hebt voor de prijs van één meesterwerk. Een koopje, maar voor sommigen is dat alsnog te duur. In de wijken van Venlo-Oost leven veel mensen die daardoor niet kunnen lezen. Initiatiefneemster Belinda Augustinus heeft haar huis veranderd in een bibliotheek. Voor haar thuisbibliotheek heb je geen abonnement, dus geld nodig. Alleen liefde voor het lezen.
Dat doet mij denken aan mijn jeugdige initiatief om zelf een bibliotheek te starten. Ik was negen jaar oud en de zomervakantie duurde lang. De blauwijzeren stellage die mijn spullen droeg werd eigenhandig leeggehaald. Ik verzamelde al mijn boeken en zette ze op alfabetische volgorde op de planken. De Griezelbussen, wat werk van Paul Biegel, de klassiekers van Roald Dahl, een magnifiek rijtje van Guus Kuier (Tin Toeval was mijn held), de stapel Asterix en Obelixen van mijn moeder, Robinson Crusoe, wat reeksen Lijsters die mij werden aangesmeerd via school, een Carry Slee, een paar keer Thea Beckman en wat al niet meer.
Ik knipte en verfraaide mijn eigen uitleenpasjes. Op streepjespapier zou ik bijhouden wie van mijn vriendjes welke boeken leenden en wanneer ik ze kon terugverwachten – en wat de boete zou worden als ze de afgesproken datum lieten passeren zonder het boek terug te brengen. Uiteindelijk leende alleen mijn zusje af en toe een boek.”
Stefan Popa (Vleuten, 20 januari 1989)
as a child he never plucked the wings off flies
he didn't tie tin cans to cats' tails
or lock beetles in matchboxes
or stomp anthills
he grew up
and all those things were done to him
I was at his bedside when he died
he said read me a poem
about the sun and the sea
about nuclear reactors and satellites
about the greatness of humanity
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.
Vertaald door Randy Blasing en Mutlu Konuk Blasing
Nazim Hikmet (20 januari 1902 – 3 juni 1963)
An diesem Nachmittag in Köln
hing der Wind in den Seilen vorm
Supermarkt das Fruchtfleisch an den
Scheiben beim Verladen des Lichts
Die Dichter manchmal auch Bachstelzen
genannt stehen an solch sonnigen
Tagen an Schreibtischen in Flußnähe
geschlossenes Gelände Rahmenprogramm
und kokettieren mit dem Tod
Eine Gong-Landschaft Schilfzittern
die Seelen auf den T-Shirts während die
Sprache im Rinnstein trocknet umknickt
Schlaglöcher auf dem Boulevard der Verse
wo jedes Wort um seinen Leser bettelt
Der in den wolkenlosen Shorts zum Beispiel
hatte sich Lavendel auf die Schultern
tätowiert roch nach Eisen dem Rost alter
Schrauben vorm Regenguß
Freunde sagen, du trägst die Stadt in deiner
Stimme und ich weiß nicht was sie meinen
Morgens wenn ich aufstehe liegen auf
meinem Sofa Gedichte heben den Arm zeigen
die rasierte Achsel
Rheinlandziegel Blumenrohr der Verkehr auf
der Nord-Süd-Fahrt Gezeiten meines Blutes
Die Stadt ist säuerlich vom Gras die
Imbißbuden mit an den Rändern feuchten
Schatten Ferse mit Nickelveredlung und ein
Gesicht wie eine grobe Currymischung
Ich kaufe den Nudeldunst von deinen
Knochen die Sprachpommes der Nation
Bars Bäche Traubenstuck und dann ist es
Ein Flugzeug bingt mich nach oben aus
Guy Helminger (Esch-sur-Alzette, 20 januari 1963)
Uit: Murder Duet: A Musical Case (Vertaald door Dalya Bilu)
“So complete was the calm before the music spread through the room, so absolute the stillness, that it was as if someone bad taken a deep breath before that first note, held up a baton, and imposed silence on the world. Instantly the nervous, darting, driven looks of the people in the long lines at the ringing supermarket cash registers vanished from his mind. He forgot the anxious expressions on the faces of the harried people hurrying across Jaffa Road with plastic bags and carefully clasping gift basket. They had to make their way between rows of cars with engines running, whose drivers stuck their heads out the windows to see what was holding up traffic this time. All this was now silenced and effaced.
At about four o'clock the car horns and the roar of the engines fell silent. The world grew calm and tranquil, reminding Michael of his childhood, of his mother's house and of the Friday evenings when he came home from boarding school.
When the stillness descended on holiday eves, he again saw before him his mother's shining face. He saw her biting her lower lip to disguise her agitation as she stood at the window waiting for her youngest child. She had allowed him, despite her husband's death and although he was last of her children still with her, to leave home. He returned only every other week for a short weekend, and for holidays. On Friday evenings and holiday eves, he made his way by foot along the path at the back of the hill from the last stop of the last bus to the street at the edge of the village. People, bathed and dressed in clean clothes, relaxed in their houses secure in anticipation of the holiday. The stillness of the hour would hold out its gentle arms to him as he climbed the narrow street toward the gray house on the fringe of the little neighborhood.”
Batya Gur (20 januari 1947 – 19 mei 2005)
Uit: River of Fire
“Two fair damsels and their dark dasi were getting ready for their early morning dip. One of them was doe-eyed and was in the process of taking off her gold tiara. These were no wanton females tempting a stranger with floral greetings, they were high-born ladies who had merely discarded their stale flowers before bathing.
One of them had a golden complexion and oblong eyes. A poet would have called her Meenakshi, fish-eyed. She was removing magnolia blossoms from her braided hair and throwing them in the water. The low-caste woman carried a fancy parasol and a basketful of fresh flowers. She had bovine eyes and could be called Ellakshi-the cow-eyed one. She was earthy, like a roughly-moulded terra cotta figurine.
The fair women wore beerbahuti-red sash bodices and knee-length sarongs. Brides of Indra, surrounded by heavy, rainladen clouds! Their bare arms and legs were loaded with gold bangles and anklets. Gautam realised that he had trespassed into the bathing enclosure of the royal family. The Raja's palace must be in the vicinity.
He felt greatly attracted to the Fish-Eyed One. She was voluptuous and magnetic, yet there was something ethereal about her. He even went into a momentary trance, just looking at her. He came to with a jolt when he remembered that he was a brahmachari and was not supposed to look at women till he graduated. Afterwards, he would be at liberty to choose his way of life. He could become a hermit or a householder. I am not cut out for permanent bachelorhood, he told himself grimly. Still, right now, lingering behind this reed screen was dangerous. He could be caught ogling royal ladies and bring disgrace to his gurukul.”
Qurratulain Hyder (20 januari 1927 – 21 augustus 2007)
Uit:The Hot Country
“When I got back to Bunky at our table in the portales, he had a mezcal before him and I wondered how many times he’d tapped his saucer already.
But he seemed perfectly clear-headed. “Sniper?” he asked.
“Yeah. Plugged a priest.”
“Nope. Knocked on his ass and stigmatized.”
Bunky nodded as if this were all clear to him, which it couldn’t be. He waited to see if I wanted to say more, and I knew he wouldn’t ask if I didn’t. He was a good man. Maybe he was picking up on my mood about this. I really just wanted to have a drink. I didn’t want to think about a female sniper in Vera Cruz, even if she wasn’t the girl who put a gun to my head a few nights ago.
But I said, “Bullet in the palm and one in the center of his crucifix that did nothing but topple him over.”
“Quaint little story.”
“Quaint little no-story.”
Bunky nodded again. “Surprising lot of folks down here got a beef with the church.”
“It’s about money.”
There was a commotion off to our left. We looked.”
Robert Olen Butler Jr. (Granite City, 20 januari 1945)