20-03-18

David Malouf, Katharina Hartwell, Ricus van de Coevering, Roman Libbertz, Jens Petersen, Benoît Duteurtre, Friedrich Hölderlin, Ralph Giordano, Henrik Johan Ibsen

 

De Australische schrijver David Malouf werd geboren op 20 maart 1934 in Brisbane. Zie alle tags voor David Malouf op dit blog.

Uit: Ransom

„He was five then, six. She was his secret. He floated in the long soft swirlings of her hair.
But she had warned him from the beginning that she would not always be with him. She had given him up. That was the hard condition of his being and of all commerce between them. One day when he put his foot down on the earth he knew at once that something was different. A gift he had taken as natural to him, the play of a dual self that had allowed him, in a moment, to slip out of his hard boyish nature and become eel-like, fluid, weightless, without substance in his mother's arms, had been withdrawn. From now on she would be no more than a faint far-off echo to his senses, an underwater humming.
He had grieved. But silently, never permitting himself to betray to others what he felt.
Somewhere in the depths of sleep his spirit had made a crossing and not come back, or it had been snatched up and transformed. When he bent and chose a stone for his slingshot it had a new weight in his hand, and the sling had a different tension. He was his father's son and mortal. He had entered the rough world of men, where a man's acts follow him wherever he goes in the form of story. A world of pain, loss, dependency, bursts of violence and elation; of fatality and fatal contradictions, breathless leaps into the unknown; at last of death-a hero's death out there in full sunlight under the gaze of gods and men, for which the hardened self, the hardened body, had daily to be exercised and prepared.
A breeze touches his brow. Far out where the gulf deepens, small waves kick up, gather, then collapse, and new ones replace them; and this, even as he watches, repeats itself, and will do endlessly whether he is here or not to observe it: that is what he sees. In the long vista of time he might already be gone. It is time, not space, he is staring into.
For nine years winter and summer they have been cooped up here on the beach, all the vast horde of them, Greeks of every clan and kingdom, from Argos and Sparta and Boeotia, from Euboea, Crete, Ithaca, Cos and the other islands, or like himself and his men, his Myrmidons, from Phthia. Days, years, season after season; an endless interim of keeping your weapons in good trim and your keener self taut as a bowstring through long stretches of idleness, of restless, patient waiting, and shameful quarrels and unmanly bragging and talk.”

 

 
David Malouf (Brisbane, 20 maart 1934)

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20-03-17

David Malouf, Friedrich Hölderlin, Katharina Hartwell, Ralph Giordano, Ricus van de Coevering, Jens Petersen, Benoît Duteurtre, Gerard Malanga, Henrik Johan Ibsen

 

De Australische schrijver David Malouf werd geboren op 20 maart 1934 in Brisbane. Zie alle tags voor David Malouf op dit blog.

 

From a Plague Year

A sign first in the sky, then other tokens,
but plainer, on the flesh. June’s thirty suns
flared and we were tinder. Flies appeared
and bubbled in pools, their green gaze multiplied
the dead. But we, the elected, all that term
kept house, kept shop, kept silence, knowing no harm
would come to us. We paid our taxes, served
on juries, saw men punished or reprieved
from death under the law. God’s eye
was on us. Like a red-hot cautery
it pricked and burned. Who keep His just commandments
shall live. No terror can afflict the saints.

But still each week the numbers swell, the needle
glows. In a devil’s covenant, through all
the colours of the rainbow, pale flesh bruises
black, then stinks and softens. We stop our noses,
the death-cloud blooms. We find its dark seeds scattered
like sunshine, everywhere.
And so we board
our houses up, burn pitch, read in the Book
and choke. By day no footfall, no wheel’s creak
in the cobbled square. At night the town’s aswarm
with cries, a fearful traffic. Dung-carts climb
to where, in moonlit fields, whole families meet
at the real it’s edge, new nameless suburbs greet
new citizens; they seethe like privy holes.

Some say the plague’s a rat, soft-bellied squeals
in the rushes underfoot, a red-eyed fever
that glares. Or blame the Jews. Or claim the air
itself turns poisonous; where warm breath clouds
a glass invisible armies spawn, one word’s
enough to quell a city. It is death
we suck on now. The plague in our mouth.

No help!
Gender of spiders on the tongue
that preaches, curses, pleads, God’s judgment wrung
in black sweat from our limbs. Are we in Bedlam
or is it Hell that rocks us with its flame?
The sickness in this month is grown so general
no man can judge. It comes to this: we kill
our neighbours with the very prayers we sigh
to Heaven. O my Lord, spare me, spare me.

 

 
David Malouf (Brisbane, 20 maart 1934)

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