Robert Bly, Norman Maclean, Sara Coleridge, Donna Tartt, Tim Fountain, Marcelin Pleynet, Iván Mándy, J.J.L. ten Kate
A Dream On The Night Of First Snow
I woke flour a first-day-of-snow dream.
I dreamt I met a girl in an attic,
who talked of operas, intensely.
Snow has bent the poplar over nearly to the ground,
new snowfall widens the plowing.
Outside maple leaves floated on rainwater,
yellow, matted, luminous.
I found a salamander! and held him.
When I put him down again,
he strode over a log
with such confidence, like a chessmaster,
the front leg first, then the hind
leg, he rose up like a tractor climbing
over a hump in the field
and disappeared toward winter, a caravan going deeper into
dogs pulling travois,
feathers fluttering on the lance: of the arrogant men.
Poems in Three Parts
Oh on an early morning I think I shall live forever!
I am wrapped in my joyful flesh
As the grass is wrapped in its clouds of green.
Rising from a bed where I dreamt
Of long rides past castles and hot coals
The sun lies happily on my knees;
I have suffered and survived the night
Bathed in dark water like any blade of grass.
The strong leaves of the box-elder tree
Plunging in the wind call us to disappear
Into the wilds of the universe
Where we shall sit at the foot of a plant
And live forever like the dust.
Gratitude To Old Teachers
When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake,
We place our feet where they have never been.
We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.
Who is down there but our old teachers?
Water that once could take no human weight-
We were students then- holds up our feet,
And goes on ahead of us for a mile.
Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.
Robert Bly (Madison, 23 december 1926)
Uit: A River Runs Through It
“It was sometimes funny and sometimes not so funny, to see a boy always wanting to bet on himself and almost sure to win. Although I was three years older, I did not yet feel old enough to bet. Betting, I assumed, was for men who wore straw hats on the backs of their heads. So I was confused and embarrassed the first couple of times he asked me if I didn't want "a small bet on the side just to make things interesting." The third time he asked me must have made me angry because he never again spoke to me about money, not even about borrowing a few dollars when he was having real money problems.
Scene uit de film van Robert Redford uit 1992 met Craig Sheffer (Norman) en Brad Pitt (Paul)
We had to be very careful in dealing with each other. I often thought of him as a boy, but I never could treat him that way. He was never "my kid brother." He was a master of an art. He did not want any big brother advice or money or help, and, in the end, I could not help him.
Since one of the earliest things brothers try to find out is how they differ from each other, one of the things I remember longest about Paul is this business about his liking to bet. He would go to county fairs to pretend that he was betting on the horses, like the men, except that no betting booths would take his bets because they were too small and he was too young. When his bets were refused, he would say, as he said of Izaak Walton and any other he took as a rival, “I’d like to get that bastard on the Blackfoot for a day, with a bet on the side.”
Norman Maclean (23 december 1902 – 2 augustus 1990)
O Sleep, My Babe
O sleep, my babe, hear not the rippling wave,
Nor feel the breeze that round thee ling'ring strays
To drink thy balmy breath,
And sigh one long farewell.
Soon shall it mourn above thy wat'ry bed,
And whisper to me, on the wave-beat shore,
Deep murm'ring in reproach,
Thy sad untimely fate.
Ere those dear eyes had open'd on the light,
In vain to plead, thy coming life was sold,
O waken'd but to sleep,
Whence it can wake no more!
A thousand and a thousand silken leaves
The tufted beech unfolds in early spring,
All clad in tenderest green,
All of the self-same shape:
A thousand infant faces, soft and sweet,
Each year sends forth, yet every mother views
Her last not least beloved
Like its dear self alone.
No musing mind hath ever yet foreshaped
The face to-morrow's sun shall first reveal,
No heart hath e'er conceived
What love that face will bring.
O sleep, my babe, nor heed how mourns the gale
To part with thy soft locks and fragrant breath,
As when it deeply sighs
O'er autumn's latest bloom.
Sara Coleridge (23 december 1802 - 3 mei 1852)
Uit: The Goldfinch
„She was beautiful, too. That’s almost secondary; but still, she was. When she came to New York fresh from Kansas, she worked part-time as a model though she was too uneasy in front of the camera to be very good at it; whatever she had, it didn’t translate to film.
And yet she was wholly herself: a rarity. I cannot recall ever seeing another person who really resembled her. She had black hair, fair skin that freckled in summer, china-blue eyes with a lot of light in them; and in the slant of her cheekbones there was such an eccentric mixture of the tribal and the Celtic Twilight that sometimes people guessed she was Icelandic. In fact, she was half Irish, half Cherokee, from a town in Kansas near the Oklahoma border; and she liked to make me laugh by calling herself an Okie even though she was as glossy and nervy and stylish as a racehorse. That exotic character unfortunately comes out a little too stark and unforgiving in photographs – her freckles covered with makeup, her hair pulled back in a ponytail at the nape of her neck like some nobleman in The Tale of Genji – and what doesn’t come across at all is her warmth, her merry, unpredictable quality, which is what I loved about her most. It’s clear, from the stillness she emanates in pictures, how much she mistrusted the camera; she gives off a watchful, tigerish air of steeling herself against attack. But in life she wasn’t like that. She moved with a thrilling quickness, gestures sudden and light, always perched on the edge of her chair like some long elegant marsh-bird about to startle and fly away. I loved the sandalwood perfume she wore, rough and unexpected, and I loved the rustle of her starched shirt when she swooped down to kiss me on the forehead. And her laugh was enough to make you want to kick over what you were doing and follow her down the street. Wherever she went, men looked at her out of the corner of their eyes, and sometimes they used to look at her in a way that bothered me a little.“
Donna Tartt (Greenwood, 23 december 1963)
Uit: So you want to be a playwright?
“What is the difference between a writer with a play on stage and a writer who never sees their work produced? Is it talent?
Well. perhaps; although I’m sure you have seen plays in which the writer displays no discernible talent whatsoever. Is it luck? Maybe; though I still prefer to believe the theory that you make your own luck. No, the biggest difference between the writer who is produced and goes on to be successful. and the one who isn't, is that they actually got to the end. However many hours you devote to the understanding of dramatic structure. however many seminars you attend by story gurus. however accomplished as a playwright you become and however many plays of your own you actually get to see on the stage, the hardest part of writing is actually getting to the end.
Throughout most of my career I have only finished plays be- cause I have been frightened by deadlines: seeing the posters being displayed or the production dates listed in theatre brochures. being pressurised by directors. or investing my own money and needing it back. I‘ve always had huge difficulty in writing plays in the abstract sense. without a support network or a clear destination for the end product in my mind. It’s no coincidence that many of our most successful and prolific playwrights ran or run their own companies. Or have produced and invested in their own work (Shakespeare, Noel Coward. Alan Ayckbourn. lohn Godber to name just a few).”
Tim Fountain (Dewsbury, 23 december 1967)
Une route en Italie (Fragment)
Où, celui qui traverse la route, vingt ans après, reprend-il le même chemin ?
Sans mensonge, sans élever la voix je peux me souvenir de ce qui vient ici même encore une fois
soyons calme !
La France au loin… Quel pays ! ?
Suis-je désormais sa seule mémoire ?
En tout cas le livre s’achève
ou quelques mots
Il fallait le dire
sur la route
parfois des peuples entiers cèdent au désir de mourir
qui ne veut rien savoir
et ne restent que la maladie et la vie en ruine
les autres errant dans leur propre destructions.
Si j’ai retrouvé la route
ce n’est que la route
qui conduit pourtant comme une pensée
comme si j’étais là depuis toujours
venant de là (dans le français)
… et plus loin encore.
Marcelin Pleynet (Lyon, 23 december 1933)
Uit: On The Balcony
“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.
What is he getting at? What kind of story is he getting entangled in? Come now! He isn't getting entangled in anything. There is no story. Moreover, his stories! Just that night from the years of the Fifties. From the depth of the Fifties.
I couldn't sleep. It would have been very important to get some sleep. At least for a couple of hours. But it was hopeless! I tossed and turned in the tangled covers. I adjusted the pillow time and time again. Maybe I had a fever. I didn't dare take my temperature. My throat was scratchy, it twinged and burned. I went to the window, stared out into the darkness. The yellowish light of a window across the way. The only light. They are sitting up with a sick person. He will never die and never get up. Those keeping vigil take turns. The light is always on. The house of sickness.
I watched this for a time.
Back to bed.
I lay motionless. My eyes closed, my hands clasped on my chest. I sleep. Actually, I am already asleep. I sat up. I hurled the little pillow into the darkness."
Iván Mándy (23 december 1918 – 26 oktober 1995)
Zie zo, mijn kleine sneeuwman,
Nu ben je kant en klaar;
Maar 'k heb nog wat vergeten,
Een kuifje op je haar,
En dan dit korte pijpje....
Kom, open nu je mond,
Kijk, Piet, hij staat er heuzig
Of hij er jaren stond.
Nieuwerwetse manier van dichten
Een klinkdicht, ja! dat wil ik eens proberen…
Het is een sjouw, zo viermaal ’t zelfde rijm!
En dat nog wel op dat ellendige IJM;
Maar ‘k heb de tijd, en ‘k wil en zal het leren.
Dat is één couplet ! Het zal wel reüsseren.
Maar kieze ik nu, eer ik soms verder lijm,
Een onderwerp…Tsa Muzen! ik bezwijm,
En weet niet waar ik ’t eerste mij zal keren!
Een rijkdom van gedachten lacht mij aan.
Wie voegt het meest de hulde mijner noten:
De ROOS? de HERFST? MARIA of de MAAN?
Een min begaafde had al lang besloten.
’t Wordt toch hoog tijd, zo ’t ergens wil op slaan…
Neen, ’t hoeft niet meer: ’t ding staat al op zijn poten!
J.J.L. ten Kate (23 december 1819 - 24 december 1889)
In Amsterdam, Oud West