Chaim Potok, Mo Yan, Frederik Hetmann, Emmy Hennings, Mori Ōgai
Uit: The Chosen
“On a Sunday afternoon in early June, the fifteen members of my team met with our gym instructor in the play yard of our school. It was a warm day, and the sun was bright on the asphalt floor of the yard. The gym instructor was a short, chunky man in his early thirties who taught in the mornings in a nearby public high school and supplemented his income by teaching in our yeshiva during the afternoons. He wore a white polo shirt, white pants, and white sweater, and from the awkward way the little black skullcap sat perched on his round, balding head, it was clearly apparent that he was not accustomed to wearing it with any sort of regularity. When he talked he frequently thumped his right fist into his left palm to emphasize a point. He walked on the balls of his feet, almost in imitation of a boxer’s ring stance, and he was fanatically addicted to professional baseball. He had nursed our softball team along for two years, and by a mixture of patience, luck, shrewd manipulations during some tight ball games, and hard, fist-thumping harangues calculated to shove us into a patriotic awareness of the importance of athletics and physical fitness for the war effort, he was able to mold our original team of fifteen awkward fumblers into the top team of our league. His name was Mr. Galanter, and all of us wondered why he was not off somewhere fighting in the war.
During my two years with the team, I had become quite adept at second base and had also developed a swift underhand pitch that would tempt a batter into a swing but would drop into a curve at the last moment and slide just below the flaying bat for a strike. Mr. Galanter always began a ball game by putting me at second base and would use me as a pitcher only in very tight moments, because, as he put it once, “My baseball philosophy is grounded on the defensive solidarity of the infield.”
That afternoon we were scheduled to play the winning team of another neighborhood league, a team with a reputation for wild, offensive slugging and poor fielding. Mr. Galanter said he was counting upon our infield to act as a solid defensive front. Throughout the warm-up period, with only our team in the yard, he kept thumping his right fist into his left palm and shouting at us to be a solid defensive front."
Chaim Potok (17 februari 1929 – 23 juli 2002)
Uit: Shifu, You'll Do Anything for a Laugh (Vertaald door Howard Goldbaltt)
« A pair of police cars stormed up to the compound, sirens blaring. This threw such a scare into Ding Shikou, whose heart was racing, that all he could think of was getting the hell out of there; too bad he couldn't get his legs to follow orders. Finding it impossible to drive through the gate, the police parked their cars outside the compound and poured out of the cars; there were seven of them in all — four fat ones and three skinny ones. Armed with batons, handcuffs, walkie-talkies, pistols, bullets, tear gas, and a battery-powered bullhorn, the seven cops took a few unhurried steps, then stopped just outside the gate to form a cordon, as if to seal off the factory gate as an escape route. A closer look showed that they probably weren't going to seal off the factory, after all. One of the cops, who was getting along in years, raised the bullhorn to his mouth and ordered the workers to disperse, which they did. Like a wolf exposed in the field when sorghum stalks are cut down, the assistant manager for supply and marketing popped into view. He was sprawled on the ground, facedown, protecting his head with his hands, his rear end sticking up in the air, looking like a frightened ostrich. The cop handed his bullhorn to the man beside him and walked up to the cowering assistant manager; he reached down and took hold of the man's collar with his thumb and two fingers, as if to lift him to his feet, but the assistant manager looked as though he was trying to dig a hole for himself. His suit coat separated itself from him, forming a little tent. Now Ding could hear what he was shouting:
“Don't blame me, good people. I've just returned from Hainan Island, and I don't know a thing. You can't blame me for this… .”
Without letting go of the man's coat, the policeman nudged his leg with the tip of his shoe. “Get up,” he said, “right now!”
Mo Yan (Gaomi, 17 februari 1955)
„Nein“, antwortete Izaak überrascht, „das wusste ich nicht.“
Die Berührung der Hand war angenehm. Außer dem wehte eine kleine Brise eines Parfüms zu ihm herüber, das er gern roch.
„Was meinen Sie“, sagte die Stimme neben ihm weiter, „gibt es menschliches Leben auf einem anderen Stern?“
„Die Frage ist mir auch schon öfter gekommen,während ich hier saß“, gab Izaak zu.“
Heaven’s sake, endlich einmal ein Mann mit Fantasie“, sagte die Stimme lebhaft.
„Aber Sie haben meine Frage noch nicht beantwortet.“
Jemand in der Reihe hinter ihnen zischte: „Wenn Sie sich hier unterhalten wollen, verschwinden Sie doch nach draußen.“
„Wird gemacht“, sagte die weibliche Stimme resolut, und zu Izaak: „Kommen Sie!“
Die Frau neben ihm stand auf und bahnte sich an den Sitzenden vorbei den Weg zum Mittelgang. Izaak war erstaunt, aber er folgte ihr.
„Also, wie ist nun Ihre Meinung?“ insistierte sie, als sie draußen im Vorraum nebeneinander her gingen. Er betrachtete jetzt, da es heller war, die Frau sorgfältig von Kopf bis Fuß. Bis auf die Brille, die sie trug, fand er nichts an ihr auszusetzen. Er schätzte sie auf Ende zwanzig, Anfang dreißig. Sie trug kein Make-up. Sie war groß, eher schlank, hatte sehr lange gerade Beine. Das Gesicht war oval. Ihr Haar war kupferrot. Ein redhead!“
Frederik Hetmann (17 februari 1934 – 1 juni 2006)
for Hugo Ball
Octaves reel, and through the grey years -- echoes
as heaps of days collapse upon themselves.
I want only to be yours.
Within my tomb my blond hair grows;
in elderberry bushes live strange folk.
A pale curtain whispers “homicide.”
Two eyes range restless through the room,
inside our cupboards spirits hide.
Little fir trees are the children’s souls
and ancient oaks the souls of aged men
that whisper of miscarried lives.
The cliff-king sings an old, old tune.
I had no guard against the evil eye,
Though black men creep out of the water pail,
The picture book’s Red Riding Hood
Has me in thrall for once and for all time.
Pardon! I must jump off this ball;
in Paris a beautiful festival reigns.
Crowds collect in the Gare de l'Est
where bright silk banners wave as well.
You won’t find me among them, though.
I’ve run off to this vast big room.
I mix myself in every dream,
a thousand looks and each I know.
A sick man lies in misery.
His last look hypnotizes me.
We long to go back to some lost summer day.
A black cross fills the room.
Vertaald door William Seaton
Emmy Hennings (17 februari 1885 – 10 augustus 1948)
Uit: The Wild Geese (Vertaald door Kingo Ochiai en Sanford Goldstein)
“There was another route. He occasionally entered the university campus by the exit used by the patients of the hospital attached to the medical school because the Iron Gate was closed early. Going through the Red Gate, he would proceed along Hongo-dori until he came to a shop where people were standing and watching the antics of some men pounding millet. Then he would continue his walk by turning into the compound of Kanda Shrine. After crossing the Megane-bashi, which was still a novelty in those days, he would wander for a short while through a street with houses on only one side along the river. And on his way back he went into one of the narrow side streets on the western side of Onarimichi and then came up to the front of the Karatachi Temple. This was an alternate route. Okada seldom took any other.
On these trips Okada did little more than browse now and then in the second-hand bookstores. Today only two or three out of many still remain. On Onarimichi, the same shops, little changed from what they formerly were, continue to run their businesses. Yet almost all the stores on Hongo-dori have changed their locations and their proprietors.
On these walks Okada hardly ever turned right after leaving the Red Gate because most of the streets narrowed so much that it was annoying. Besides, only one second-hand bookshop could then be found along that way.
Okada stopped in such shops because, to use a term now in vogue, he had literary tastes. In those days the novels and plays of the new school had not yet been published; as for the lyric, neither the haiku of Shiki nor the waka of Tekkan had been created. So everyone read such magazines as the Kagetsu Shinshi , which printed the first translation of a Western novel. In his student days Okada read with interest the happenings of the new era written in the style of classical Chinese literature. This was the extent of his literary tastes.”
Mori Ōgai (17 februari 1862 – 9 juli 1922)