Tõnu Õnnepalu, Janusz Glowacki, Julian Tuwim, Nicolaas Beets, Roald Dahl, James Shirley
Uit: Border State (Vertaald door Madli Puhvel)
“WHAT WAS IT YOU SAID AGAIN? "YOU HAVE A STRANGE LOOK IN your eyes-like a bystander observing the world. You're not French, are you?"
Yes, I think that those were your first words, Angelo, as you emerged from that vacuously bright sunshine, like an image appearing on white photographic paper when it's immersed in developing solution. I have waited in the hellish glow of a darkroom and watched over a shoulder as a special pair of hands performed witchcraft above the murky liquid. The point at which the picture first emerged, that brink of development, fascinated me even more than the shoulder and the hands ... That, by the way, was so long ago, in another century, in a forgotten country. But they must have been familiar with Daguerre's discovery. I remember the developing tank quite clearly. I'll tell you about that century and country eventually, and about the hands that lost their seductiveness with time. Everything in sequence! There is so much to tell you. That is, to write you, because I promised to write you. I promised to put everything down gradually, from beginning to end, if I can find a beginning and an end.
You are a stranger I may never again meet. You have come from the other side of the world and know nothing of what I am about to tell you. I could lie, could fabricate whatever my heart desired!
It was at random you talked to me in that town. No, not quite at random: you chose me because you were sent to question me, and now you have no choice. I never tried telling anyone all this before because people always think they know everything. They prejudge. You won't prejudge, Angelo.
I don't know whether you even exist. Pardon my poor French, by the way. I only dare to write you because I know you too are not French. You're nobody special, no one in particular. That's the only reason I dare turn to you. You in turn must think it is I who appeared from nowhere, from the bottom of the ocean, or the other side of the moon, from Bosnia-Herzegovina, or from an apartment filled with the suffocating stench of an indoor privy, in a small town beside a river in Eastern Europe, from behind a stack of firewood."
Tõnu Õnnepalu (Tallin, 13 september 1962)
Uit: Good night, Jerzy (Vertaald door David Frick)
“Michael! That’s enough now, enough.” Raul attempted to throw the cat onto the stone floor, but it dug into his pants with its claws. “That’s enough, nigger.”
The cat finally gave up and jumped softly to the floor.
“Look, Roger, blood … I’m going to have claw tracks again,” Raul complained.
“But why, why?” said Roger, shrugging his shoulders. “My dear boy, go wipe it with hydrogen peroxide, and bring us another bottle.” He smiled at Raul and saw him off with an affectionate gaze. Raul came from San Jose, he was much younger than Roger, and he moved like a domesticated—but, nonetheless, predatory—animal. “Probably because the world lost the ability long ago to distinguish talent from lack of talent, and lies from the truth. Or perhaps for some other reason. Perhaps because America had never seen someone like Jerzy before. That’s why he screwed us. And now, as we hear, Janusz, you intend to shaft him posthumously.”
“Hold on,” I said. “Wait a minute, wait a minute …”
“Don’t get all offended. Do you remember, Raul, that he smelled funny.”
“Sort of like patchouli,” noted Raul.
“No, no, no. It wasn’t patchouli. Has it ever occurred to you, Janusz, that the soul has a scent? It might smell of goat, or it might smell of roses. It is written that when God created man he breathed His spirit into him through his mouth, but perhaps at that same time the Devil crawled up and breathed his spirit into his ass? I have only one request. Show some respect for our intelligence and don’t try to tell us you want to write the truth about him.”
“That’s just it,” Raul interjected. “Remember: the further from the truth, the closer to Jerzy.”
Janusz Glowacki (Poznań, 13 september 1938)
The duck was visited by the goose,
They gossiped ‘bout the hen’s caboose.
The hen and the turkey got together,
Gossiped ‘bout the duck’s wet feathers.
The fowl met with the duck last week,
And gossiped ‘bout the turkey’s beak.
The duck quacked to the duck,
‘bout what the goose had clucked.
To which the goose said, of the duck,
She’s a drunkard and a schmuck.
And about the turkey, the fowl declared,
She’s a no-good spinster—I swear.
Now in the yard there is a rumble,
Colourful feathers all in a jumble.
I Will Outlast
I will outlast... Years passed and years shall pass still,
In a thousand conquerings and a thousand capitulations,
I'll yearn—as hour after hour will spill,
In a dance of sorrows, hope, tears and expectations.
I will outlast... Though the day will come, when amongst the dust bowl
Something last will die under the heaviness of agony:
The Holy Flame shall cease in the tormented soul,
And your house will no longer be the House of God to me.
And then with a great quiet I will console my life,
And that quiet shall be your forgiveness.
And your terrible guilt and your sin I will absolve,
Praying for your soul with a immense silence.
Julian Tuwim (13 september 1894 – 27 december 1953)
Portret van Julian Tuwim I door César Morión
De Nederlandse dichter, predikant en hoogleraarr Nicolaas Beets werd geboren op 13 september 1814 in Haarlem. Zie ook mijn blog van 13 september 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Nicolaas Beets op dit blog.
“Maar laten wij elkander niets wijsmaken! Hierin staan steeman en buitenman gelijk, dat dit ogenblik het moeielijkste is van de gehele dag. Want het bed is warm, de kamer koud, en de mens lui; daarenboven kan het water in het lampet bevroren zijn, en de neiging om `zich nog eens om te keren' is ons geslacht aangeboren. Maar heeft men eenmaal gezegenvierd, dan heeft men buiten tenminste de zelfvoldoening de zon werkelijk te zien; terwijl gij, heren en dames in de stad! alweder het reusachtig `Manufacuren' bij uw overbuurman lezen moogt, of het beknopter, maar niet minder tergend `Schrijf- en Kantoorbehoeften'; op zijn hoogst, indien uw overbuurman een logementhouder is, hebt gij het voorrecht uw nuchtere blikken te slaan tot het vergulde beeld van het lieve hemellicht zelf, met stralen van een duim dik en schele ogen. Benijdbaar, zo gij op een gracht woont, en niets ziet dan het zwarte ijs, met hopen as en vuilnis, daar tot uw verkwikking op geworpen in het ogenblik dat gij uw legerstede verliet; benijdbaar, zo gij in een achterkamer huist, en over een smalle tuin tegen de donkere gestalten van hoge pakhuizen met gesloten blinden op moogt zien!
Maar kom nu eens voor het venster, dat op het Oosten ziet, en zie, over het weiland heen, grijs van vederachtig rijp, de koperkleurige kimme met die bloedrode schijf, half nog bedekt en half opgerezen, die als wij Kerstmis gehad hebben een rode wedergloed op de sneeuw zal werpen, duizendmaal mooier dan de beste bengaalse vlam over de zangerige helden van het vijfde bedrijf ener opera, of over de heuvelen van doek in een ballet; of kijk, door het andere raam, naar het Westen uit, en zie de groene sparren met een dun en tintelend weefsel behangen, en de statige menigte van eerwaardige dorre beuken (een kaal hoofd is eerwaardig) daar achter, met de toppen in de nevel, die als zachte droppels langs de stammen leekt; die krijgen ook na Kerstmis hun schitterend sneeuwkleed aan, willen wij hopen. - Dat is alles mooi, zegt gij, mijn waard lezer! maar men kan toch de gehele dag niet naar de zon en naar de bomen kijken; wat voert de buitenman uit? waarmede vermaakt hij zich?”
Nicolaas Beets (13 september 1814 – 13 maart 1903)
Uit: Going Solo
"There were sixteen of us altogether learning to fly in this Initial Training School in Nairobi, and I liked every one of my companions. They were all young men like me who had come out from England to work for some large commercial concern, and who had now volunteered for flying duties. It is a fact, and I verified it carefully later, that out of those sixteen, no fewer than thirteen were killed in the air within the next two years. In retrospect, one gasps at the waste of life.
At the aerodrome we had three instructors and three planes. The instructors were civil airline pilots borrowed by the RAF from a small domestic company called Wilson Airways. The planes were Tiger Moths. The Tiger Moth is a thing of great beauty. Everybody who has ever flown a Tiger Moth has fallen in love with it. You could throw one about all over the sky and nothing ever broke. You could spin her vertically downwards for thousands of feet and then all she needed was a touch on the rudder–bar, a bit of throttle and the stick pushed forward and out she came in a couple of flips. A Tiger Moth had no vices. She never dropped a wing if you lost flying speed coming in to land, and she would suffer innumerable heavy landings from incompetent beginners without turning a hair.
There was only one runway on the little Nairobi aerodrome and this gave everyone plenty of practice at crosswind landings and take–offs. And on most mornings, before flying began, we all had to run out on the airfield and chase the zebra away.”
Roald Dahl (13 september 1916 – 23 november 1990)
Death The Leveller
The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crookèd scythe and spade.
Some men with swords may reap the field,
And plant fresh laurels where they kill:
But their strong nerves at last must yield;
They tame but one another still:
Early or late
They stoop to fate,
And must give up their murmuring breath
When they, pale captives, creep to death.
The garlands wither on your brow,
Then boast no more your mighty deeds!
Upon Death's purple altar now
See where the victor-victim bleeds.
Your heads must come
To the cold tomb:
Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in their dust.
James Shirley (13 september 1596 – 29 oktober 1666)
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 13e september ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.