Dolce far niente, Mies Bouhuys, Jonathan Coe, Li-Young Lee, Frederik Lucien De Laere, Louis Th. Lehmann, Ogden Nash, Frank McCourt


Dolce far niente


Rembrandtplein door Agatha Zethraeus, ca. 1911




De gids zegt: kijk! De gids zegt: look!
De gids zegt: regardez!
Hier schreef Spinoza aan een boek,
daar stroomt het IJ naar zee.
Maar daarom niet, maar daarom niet,
om wat een ander erin ziet,
blijf ik in Amsterdam.
Maar om de gekke geveltjes,
om al die groene grachten,
om al die lichte venstertjes,
blijf ik hier overnachten.

De gids zegt: Hier! De gids zegt: There!
De gids zegt: Eh voilà!
Hier woonde 't laatste huisje rechts
Rembrandt met Saskia.
Maar daarom niet, nee, daarom niet,
om wat een ander ervan ziet,
blijf ik in Amsterdam.
Maar om de scheve kamertjes
waar anderen niets om geven,
vol vrouwtjes en vol mannetjes,
blijf ik hier heel mijn leven.

De gids zegt: Dam! De gids zegt: Munt!
De gids zegt: Rembrandtplein.
Wij staan hier op een historisch punt,
waar u geweest moet zijn.
De gids zegt dit, de gids zegt dat.
Ik zeg alleen maar: gekke stad.
Alleen maar: Amsterdam.


Mies Bouhuys (10 januari 1927 – 30 juni 2008)
Weesp, de geboorteplaats van Mies Bouhuys

Lees meer...


Jonathan Coe, Li-Young Lee, Frederik Lucien De Laere, Louis Th. Lehmann, Ogden Nash, Frank McCourt, John Dryden


De Engelse schrijver Jonathan Coe werd geboren op 19 augustus 1961 in Birmingham. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Jonathan Coe op dit blog.

Uit:Number 11

“The round tower soared up, black and glistening, against the slate grey of a late-October sky. As Rachel and her brother walked towards it across the moor, from the east, it was framed by two leafless, skeletal ash trees. It was the hour before dusk on a windless afternoon. When they reached the trees, they would be able to rest on the bench that stood between them, and look back towards Beverley in the near distance, the neat clusters of houses and, rising up in the midst of them, the monumental, answering greyish-cream towers of the Minster.
Nicholas flopped down on the bench. Rachel – then only six years old, eight years his junior – did not join him: she was impatient to run up towards the black tower, to get close to it. She left her brother to his rest and scurried onwards, squelching her way through the cow-trodden mud that surrounded the foot of the tower until she was right up against it, and could lay her hands upon the gleaming black brickwork. The flat of both hands upon the tower, she looked upwards and could not comprehend the size and scale of it, the perfect, lucid curve as it arched itself, like a sway back, against a threatening sky through which a pair of rooks were now skimming, cawing and circling endlessly.
'What did it use to be?' she asked.
Nicholas had joined her now. He shrugged. 'Dunno. Some kind of windmill, maybe.'
'Do you think we could get inside?'
'It's all bricked up.'
There was a circular wooden bench running all around the base of the tower, and when Nicholas sat there, Rachel sat beside him and stared up into his pale, unresponsive blue eyes, which for all their coldness only made her feel how lucky she was, how blessed, to have an older brother like this, so handsome and confident. She hoped that one day her hair would be as blonde as his, her mouth as shapely, her skin as downy and clear. She nestled against his shoulder, as close as she dared. She didn't want to be a drag upon him, didn't want him to become too aware that, in this strange and unfamiliar town, he was the only thing that made her feel safe.
'You cold or something?' he asked, looking down at her.
'A bit.' She inched away slightly. 'Will it be warm where they are, d'you think?'
'Course it will. There'd be no point going on holiday somewhere where it's cold, would there?'
'I wish they'd taken us with them,' said Rachel feelingly.
'Well, they didn't. So that’s that.'


Jonathan Coe (Birmingham, 19 augustus 1961)


Lees meer...


Jonathan Coe, Li-Young Lee, Louis Th. Lehmann, Ogden Nash, Frank McCourt, Frederik Lucien De Laere, John Dryden


De Engelse schrijver Jonathan Coe werd geboren op 19 augustus 1961 in Birmingham. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Jonathan Coe op dit blog.

Uit: Rain Before It Falls

“Let me see, now. The caravan itself is half-obscured, in this picture, by overhanging trees. It had been placed, for some reason, in one of the most remote corners of the grounds, and left there for many years. This photograph captures it just as I remember it: eerie, neglected, the woodwork starting to rot and the metalwork corroding into rust. It was tiny, as this image confirms. The shape, I think, is referred to as “teardrop”: that is to say, the rear end is rounded, describing a small, elegant curve, while the front seems to have been chopped off, and is entirely flat. It’s a curious shape: in effect, the caravan looks as though it is only half there. The trees hanging over its roof and trailing fingers down the walls are some kind of birch, I believe. The caravan had been placed on the outskirts of a wood: in fact the dividing line between this wood–presumably common land–and the furthest reaches of Uncle Owen’s property was difficult to determine. A more modern caravan might have had a picture window at the front; this one, I see, had only two small windows, very high up, and a similar window at the side. No surprise, then, that it was always dark inside. The door was solid and dark, and made of wood, like the whole of the bottom half of the caravan–even the towbar. That’s an odd feature, isn’t it?–but I’m sure that I am right. It rested on four wooden legs, and always sat closer to the ground than it should have done, because both the tyres were flat. The windows were filthy, too, and the whole thing gave the appearance of having been abandoned and fallen into irreversible decay. But to a child, of course, that simply made it all the more attractive. I can only imagine that Ivy and Owen had bought it many years ago–in the 1920s, perhaps, when they were first married–and had stopped using it as soon as they had children. Inside there were only two bunks, so it would have been quite useless for family holidays.
How many weeks was it, I wonder, before Beatrix and I set up camp there together? Or was it only a matter of days? They say that split seconds and aeons become interchangeable when you experience intense emotion, and after my arrival at Warden Farm I was soon feeling a sense of loneliness and homesickness which I find it impossible to describe. I was beside myself with unhappiness.”


Jonathan Coe (Birmingham, 19 augustus 1961)

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Louis Th. Lehmann, Jonathan Coe, Li-Young Lee, Ogden Nash, Frank McCourt, Frederik Lucien De Laere, John Dryden


De Nederlandse schrijver, dichter en vertaler Louis Th. Lehmann werd geboren op 19 augustus 1920 in Rotterdam. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Louis Th. Lehmann op dit blog.



Zeevaarders wilden altijd vogels
Sumeriërs brachten naar de kaden
van Ur de pauwen van de Indus.

Zeevaarders willen altijd vogels;
dodo's groter dan pingewijnen,
de bonte vogels, pootloos vliegend,
die men nooit zien zal voor hun doodval,
en papegaaien, papegaaien,
het vlagvertoon van verre landen.

Al stelden vogels soms teleur;
de vogels van Virginia,
de whippoorwills en de kalkoenen,

liefst zou men thuisgevaren zijn
met rijen vogels op de raas,
geen alken, meeuwen, albatrossen;
de wachters van het eigen graf,
maar warme vogels van de wal.



Een gracht, waar eend en waterhoen

Een gracht, waar eend en waterhoen
voortdurend watertrappen
om voort te gaan, niet om te drijven
zoals de watervreemde mens.

Als zij vooruitgaan
maken zij een dubbelspoor
van kleine kolken,
en boegwater als de verticale
doorsnee van een pannendak,
negentig graden omgeklapt.



Louis Th. Lehmann (19 augustus 1920 – 23 december 2012)
Portret door Paul Citroen, 1949

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Louis Th. Lehmann, Jonathan Coe, Li-Young Lee, Ogden Nash, Frank McCourt, Frederik Lucien De Laere, John Dryden


De Nederlandse schrijver, dichter en vertaler Louis Th. Lehmann werd geboren op 19 augustus 1920 in Rotterdam. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Louis Th. Lehmann op dit blog.



De zin van het leven en zo


Als aan de minimum eis:
onsterfelijkheid, eeuwige jeugd
zonder lichamelijke of geestelijke ongemakken
voldaan is,
zouden we er eens over kunnen praten
of het de moeite waard is
je ergens voor in te spannen.




Small Talk


Als verzen nog geen verzen zijn,
maar woorden in mijn hoofd,
dan lijken ze heel even fijn,
net iets dat wat belooft.

Ik word, als soms met een roman,
nieuwsgierig en haast blij.
Maar als ze op papier staan, dan
is dat gevoel voorbij.

En dus vergeet ik ze ook gauw,
kijk ik er nog eens naar,
dan denk ik: Hé schreef ik dat nou?
Wat handig, en wat raar.





Louis Th. Lehmann (19 augustus 1920 – 23 december 2012)

Lees meer...


Louis Th. Lehmann, Jonathan Coe, Li-Young Lee, Ogden Nash


De Nederlandse schrijver, dichter en vertaler Louis Th. Lehmannwerd geboren op 19 augustus 1920 in Rotterdam. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Louis Th. Lehmann op dit blog.



Bij het bericht dat er weer een uit is


In een onderaards gewelf

in de tuin van Vestdijk zelf,

waar geen Doornaar hen kan zoeken,

zitten, schrijvend Vestdijks boeken,

negenhonderd negerslaven

(allen met bijzondere gaven).

En als Vestdijk soms eens niet

(wat sporadisch slechts geschiedt)

zelf ook nijver zit te schrijven,

loopt hij langs de noeste lijven,

in zijn listge ijzren greep

kwispelt stil de denkerszweep.




Ode aan de Middellandse Zee


Varend op de zee der zeeën

met dolfijnen om de boeg,


Aan mijn linkerhand Saguntum

en Carthago ergens rechts,


zie'k Majorca, paars en roze.


Hier alleen zijn wel de golven

glazen huizen voor de vissen,


en de mensen staan in boten,

boten klein als vruchtenschillen,


treffen vissen thuis en zaaien

's nachts de vonken op de zee.




Louis Th. Lehmann (Rotterdam, 19 augustus 1920)

Lees meer...


90 Jaar Louis Th. Lehmann, Jonathan Coe, Li-Young Lee, Ogden Nash, Frank McCourt, Frederik Lucien De Laere, Jerzy Andrzejewski, James Gould Cozzens, John Dryden, Samuel Richardson, Claude Gauvreau, Inigo de Mendoza


Zie voor de volgende schrijvers van de 19e augustus mijn blog bij seniorennet.be


90 Jaar Louis Th. Lehmann, Jonathan Coe, Li-Young Lee, Ogden Nash


Zie voor de volgende schrijvers van de 19e augustus ook bij seniorennet.be mijn vorige blog van vandaag  


Frank McCourt, Frederik Lucien De Laere, Jerzy Andrzejewski, James Gould Cozzens


Zie voor de volgende schrijvers van de 19e augustus ook bij seniorennet.be mijn eerste blog van vandaag. 


John Dryden, Samuel Richardson, Claude Gauvreau, Inigo de Mendoza



Jonathan Coe, Li-Young Lee, Ogden Nash, Frank McCourt, James Gould Cozzens

De Engelse schrijver Jonathan Coe werd geboren op 19 augustus 1961 in Birmingham.


Uit: The Closed Circle


Sister Dearest, The view from up here is amazing, but it's too cold to write very much. My fingers can barely hold the pen. But I promised myself I'd start this letter before returning to England, and this really is my last chance. Last thoughts, then, on leaving the European mainland? On coming home? I'm scouring the horizon and looking for omens. Calm sea, clear blue sky. Surely that has to count for something. People come up here to kill themselves, apparently. In fact there's a boy further down the path, standing dangerously close to the edge, who looks as though he may be planning to do exactly that. He's been standing there for as long as I've been on this bench and he's only wearing a T-shirt and jeans. Must be freezing. Well, at least I haven't got to that point yet; although there have been some bad moments, these last few weeks. Moments when it seemed like I'd lost my bearings completely, that it was all spinning out of control. You must have known that feeling, once. In fact I know you did. Anyway, it's over now. Onwards and upwards. Beneath me I can see Etretat, the wide curve of its beach, the pinnacled rooftops of the chateau where I stayed last night. I never did manage to explore the town. Funny how, when you have the freedom to do anything you want, you end up doing so little. Infinite choice seems to translate into no choice at all. I could have headed out for sole dieppoise and ended up being plied with free Calvados by a flirty waiter; instead I stayed inside and watched some old Gene Hackman movie dubbed into French.
I wonder how they manage to make a profit from this line, at this time of year? Apart from me and the man behind the counter--what should I call him, is he the steward or purser or something?--this place is deserted. It's dark outside now and there is rain flecking the windows. Perhaps it's just spray. Makes me want to shiver looking at it, even though it's warm inside, almost overheated. I'm writing this letter in the little A5 notebook I bought in Venice.”





Jonathan Coe (Birmingham, 19 augustus 1961)






De Amerikaanse dichter Li-Young Lee werd geboren op 19 augustus 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesië.



A Story 


Sad is the man who is asked for a story

and can't come up with one.


His five-year-old son waits in his lap.

Not the same story, Baba. A new one.

The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear.


In a room full of books in a world

of stories, he can recall

not one, and soon, he thinks, the boy

will give up on his father.


Already the man lives far ahead, he sees

the day this boy will go. Don't go!

Hear the alligator story! The angel story once more!

You love the spider story. You laugh at the spider.

Let me tell it!


But the boy is packing his shirts,

he is looking for his keys. Are you a god,

the man screams, that I sit mute before you?

Am I a god that I should never disappoint?


But the boy is here. Please, Baba, a story?

It is an emotional rather than logical equation,

an earthly rather than heavenly one,

which posits that a boy's supplications

and a father's love add up to silence,






From Blossoms 


From blossoms comes

this brown paper bag of peaches

we bought from the joy

at the bend in the road where we turned toward

signs painted Peaches.


From laden boughs, from hands,

from sweet fellowship in the bins,

comes nectar at the roadside, succulent

peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,

comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.


O, to take what we love inside,

to carry within us an orchard, to eat

not only the skin, but the shade,

not only the sugar, but the days, to hold

the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into

the round jubilance of peach.


There are days we live

as if death were nowhere

in the background; from joy

to joy to joy, from wing to wing,

from blossom to blossom to

impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.





Li-Young Lee (Jakarta, 19 augustus 1957)




De Amerikaanse dichter Frederic Ogden Nash werd geboren in Rye, New York, op 19 augustus 1902. 




No Doctor's Today, Thank You 


They tell me that euphoria is the feeling of feeling wonderful,

well, today I feel euphorian,

Today I have the agility of a Greek god and the appetitite of a


Yes, today I may even go forth without my galoshes,

Today I am a swashbuckler, would anybody like me to buckle

any swashes?

This is my euphorian day,

I will ring welkins and before anybody answers I will run away.

I will tame me a caribou

And bedeck it with marabou.

I will pen me my memoirs.

Ah youth, youth! What euphorian days them was!

I wasn't much of a hand for the boudoirs,

I was generally to be found where the food was.

Does anybody want any flotsam?

I've gotsam.

Does anybody want any jetsam?

I can getsam.

I can play chopsticks on the Wurlitzer,

I can speak Portuguese like a Berlitzer.

I can don or doff my shoes without tying or untying the laces because

I am wearing moccasins,

And I practically know the difference between serums and antitoccasins.

Kind people, don't think me purse-proud, don't set me down as


I'm just a little euphorious.





Ogden Nash (19 augustus 1902 – 19 mei 1971)






De Iers-Amerikaanse schrijver Frank McCourt werd geboren op 19 augustus 1930 in New York. Frank McCourt overleed op 19 juli van dit jaar. Zie ook mijn In Memoriam van 19 juli 2009.


Uit: Tis


When the MS Irish Oak sailed from Cork in October 1949, we expected tobe in New York City in a week. Instead, after two days at sea, we were told wewere going to Montreal in Canada. I told the first officer all I had was fortydollars and would Irish Shipping pay my train fare from Montreal to New York. Hesaid, No, the company wasn't responsible. He said freighters are the whores ofthe high seas, they'll do anything for anyone. You could say a freighter is likeMurphy's oul' dog, he'll go part of the road with any wanderer.Two days later Irish Shipping changed its mind and gave us the happy news,Sail for New York City, but two days after that the captain was told, Sail forAlbany.The first officer told me Albany was a city far up the Hudson River, capitalof New York State. He said Albany had all the charm of Limerick, ha ha ha, agreat place to die but not a place where you'd want to get married or rearchildren. He was from Dublin and knew I was from Limerick and when he sneered atLimerick I didn't know what to do. I'd like to destroy him with a smart remarkbut then I'd look at myself in the mirror, pimply face, sore eyes, and bad teethand know I could never stand up to anyone, especially a first officer with auniform and a promising future as master of his own ship. Then I'd say tomyself, Why should I care what anyone says about Limerick anyway? All I hadthere was misery.Then the peculiar thing would happen. I'd sit on a deck chair in the lovelyOctober sun with the gorgeous blue Atlantic all around me and try to imaginewhat New York would be like. I'd try to see Fifth Avenue or Central Park orGreenwich Village where everyone looked like movie stars, powerful tans,gleaming white teeth. But Limerick would push me into the past. Instead of mesauntering up Fifth Avenue with the tan, the teeth, I'd be back in the lanes ofLimerick, women standing at doors chatting away and pulling their shawls aroundtheir shoulders, children with faces dirty from bread and jam, playing andlaughing and crying to their mothers.“





McCourt (19 augustus 1930 – 19 juli 2009)





Zie voor de twee bovenstaande schrijvers ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 20006.



De Amerikaanse schrijver James Gould Cozzens werd geboren op 19 augustus 1903 in Chicago.


Uit: Guard of Honor


„What Woody did was compose and immediately fire off a TWX message to the Chief of Air Staff. Naturally, he had known and flown with this officer back in his comical bastard days. Woody now said that every AT-7 he had or could lay his hands on was absolutely indispensable to the Sellers Field program. Giving one to General Beal was quite out of the question. He made an oblique but unmistakable reference to those fancies of his about his superiors at Fort Worth. He made another, incoherent but no doubt intelligible enough, to the duplication of effort, waste, and working at cross-purposes bound to result when exempt organizations under the Chief of Air Staff, like AFORAD, supposed to do God Knows What, were given the inside track on everything.

At the Headquarters of the Army Air Forces the second summer of the war was a nervous time. They still put up those signs about doing the difficult at once and requiring only a little longer to do the impossible. Nearly every day they were forced to make momentous decisions. On their minds they had thousands of planes and hundreds of thousands of men and billions of dollars. Their gigantic machine, which, as they kept saying, had to run while it was being built, gave them frightening moments and bad thoughts to lie awake at night with.

Now, then, toward the end of the usual exhausting day, came a long and stupid message which, if it were going anywhere, should have gone to Fort Worth. It fretted them about one training plane. It lectured them on what was indispensable to Sellers Field (the AAF had so many fields that you could not find one man who knew all the names). It informed them that the Training Command was not run properly and that the project at Ocanara was a poort idea.“





James Gould Cozzens (19 augustus 1903 – 9 augustus 1978)





Zie voor alle bovenstaande schrijvers ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2008.



Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 19e augustus ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.


Jonathan Coe, Frederik Lucien De Laere, Ogden Nash, Li-Young Lee, Frank McCourt, James Gould Cozzens, Louis Th. Lehmann, Inigo de Mendoza

De Engelse schrijver Jonathan Coe werd geboren op 19 augustus 1961 in Birmingham. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.


Uit: The Rotters Club


Thursday, March 7th, 1974 was an important day, a memorable day. It was the day Philip made his first foray into journalism, and it was the day Benjamin found God. Two events which were to have far-reaching consequences.

It was also the day on which Benjamin's worst nightmare seemed about to come true.

For many days now, Philip had been hard at work on an article which he hoped to see published in the school newspaper. The Bill Board appeared once a week, on Thursday mornings, and he was one of its most avid readers. The title betrayed its humble origins as a loose collection of typewritten essays and notices which used to be posted on a bulletin board in one of the upper corridors; but this had proved an inconvenient format, in most respects, and the previous year an enterprising young English master called Mr. Serkis had overseen its transition into print. The paper now extended to eight stapled sheets of A4, put together on Tuesdays by a cartel of sixth-formers in the glamorous secrecy of an office tucked away in the rafters above The Carlton Club. It was rare, very rare, for someone as young as Philip to have anything accepted by this uncompromising crew; but today, somehow, he had managed it.

Shortly before nine o'clock that morning he was to be found sitting in the school library, reading his article for the twelfth time through eyes misty with pride and excitement. The front page of the paper contained a long editorial penned by Burrell, of the upper-sixth, lamenting the indecisive outcome of last week's general election, and the reappointment of Harold Wilson as Prime Minister. Philip couldn't possibly aspire to writing such a piece, at this stage; the front half of the paper would remain unreachable, beyond imagination. But at least his review came before the sports results, and Gilligan's cartoons. And how comfortably it nestled on the page, between Hilary Turner's magisterial discussion of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, which had just opened at the Birmingham Rep, and a few lines of appreciation—penned by Mr. Fletcher himself—about the poet Francis Piper, in advance of his keenly anticipated visit to King William's (a visit scheduled for that very morning, Philip almost-registered in his trancelike state). To see his own efforts slotted in between the work of these senior practitioners was more than he would have dared hope for.“






Jonathan Coe (Birmingham, 19 augustus 1961)



De Vlaamse dichter Frederik Lucien De Laere werd geboren in Brugge op 19 augustus 1971. Hij publiceerde de dichtbundels ‘Paniek in het circus’ en ‘De martelgang’ bij uitgeverij PoëzieCentrum. Werk van hem verscheen in verschillende literaire tijdschriften (o.a. De Brakke Hond, Deus ex Machina, Poëziekrant) en enkele bloemlezingen, waaronder Hotel New Flandres, de Dikke Komrij, en de Vette Breukers. De Laere staat met zijn poëzie regelmatig op het podium en is stichtend lid van de dichtersgroep Het Venijnig Gebroed. Hij was te gast op o.m. Versmacht in de Nacht, Theater aan Zee, Lowlands-festival, Dichter aan huis, Poetry International en Crossing Border. In 2007 en 2008 was hij stadsdichter van Damme. Momenteel is hij werkzaam als leraar geschiedenis en aardrijkskunde.



De ventilator 


Zij zit met haar snoer
in de muur van het onderaardse
en zet met haar staart
het vuur om
in wind
waardoor zij in mijn kamer
een koel heelal creëert. 


Zij is mijn verloofde.
Zij is de elektrische bloem
die haar schoonheid over mij waait
en mij toedekt met een nachtbries. 


Wanneer zij mij ’s anderendaags wekt
sta ik op, verfrist,
uit de kist
waarin toevallig ook mijn dood huist.






Frederik Lucien De Laere
(Brugge, 19 augustus 1971)





De Amerikaanse dichter Frederic Ogden Nash werd geboren in Rye, New York, op 19 augustus 1902. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 mei en mijn blog van 19 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.




A Lady Who Thinks She Is Thirty


Unwillingly Miranda wakes,
Feels the sun with terror,
One unwilling step she takes,
Shuddering to the mirror.

Miranda in Miranda's sight
Is old and gray and dirty;
Twenty-nine she was last night;
This morning she is thirty.

Shining like the morning star,
Like the twilight shining,
Haunted by a calendar,
Miranda is a-pining.

Silly girl, silver girl,
Draw the mirror toward you;
Time who makes the years to whirl
Adorned as he adored you.

Time is timelessness for you;
Calendars for the human;
What's a year, or thirty, to
Loveliness made woman?

Oh, Night will not see thirty again,
Yet soft her wing, Miranda;
Pick up your glass and tell me, then--
How old is Spring, Miranda?






A Word to Husbands


To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.







Ogden Nash (19 augustus 1902 – 19 mei 1971)






De Amerikaanse dichter Li-Young Lee werd geboren op 19 augustus 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesië. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.



Immigrant Blues


People have been trying to kill me since I was born,

a man tells his son, trying to explain

the wisdom of learning a second tongue.


It's the same old story from the previous century

about my father and me.


The same old story from yesterday morning

about me and my son.


It's called "Survival Strategies

and the Melancholy of Racial Assimilation."


It's called "Psychological Paradigms of Displaced Persons,"


called "The Child Who'd Rather Play than Study."


Practice until you feel

the language inside you, says the man.


But what does he know about inside and outside,

my father who was spared nothing

in spite of the languages he used?


And me, confused about the flesh and soul,

who asked once into a telephone,

Am I inside you?


You're always inside me, a woman answered,

at peace with the body's finitude,

at peace with the soul's disregard

of space and time.


Am I inside you? I asked once

lying between her legs, confused

about the body and the heart.


If you don't believe you're inside me, you're not,

she answered, at peace with the body's greed,

at peace with the heart's bewilderment.


It's an ancient story from yesterday evening


called "Patterns of Love in Peoples of Diaspora,"


called "Loss of the Homeplace

and the Defilement of the Beloved,"


called "I Want to Sing but I Don’t Know Any Songs."





The Hour and What Is Dead


Tonight my brother, in heavy boots, is walking

through bare rooms over my head,

opening and closing doors.

What could he be looking for in an empty house?

What could he possibly need there in heaven?

Does he remember his earth, his birthplace set to torches?

His love for me feels like spilled water

running back to its vessel.

At this hour, what is dead is restless

and what is living is burning.

Someone tell him he should sleep now.

My father keeps a light on by our bed

and readies for our journey.

He mends ten holes in the knees

of five pairs of boy's pants.

His love for me is like sewing:

various colors and too much thread,

the stitching uneven. But the needle pierces

clean through with each stroke of his hand.

At this hour, what is dead is worried

and what is living is fugitive.


Someone tell him he should sleep now.

God, that old furnace, keeps talking

with his mouth of teeth,

a beard stained at feasts, and his breath

of gasoline, airplane, human ash.

His love for me feels like fire,

feels like doves, feels like river-water.


At this hour, what is dead is helpless, kind

and helpless. While the Lord lives.

Someone tell the Lord to leave me alone.

I've had enough of his love

that feels like burning and flight and running away.






Li-Young Lee (Jakarta, 19 augustus 1957)






De Iers-Amerikaanse schrijver Frank McCourt werd geboren op 19 augustus 1930 in New York. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007  en ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2006 .


Uit: Teacher Man


If I knew anything about Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis I'd be able to trace all my troubles to my miserable childhood in Ireland. That miserable childhood deprived me of self-esteem, triggered spasms of self pity, paralyzed my emotions, made me cranky, envious and disrespectful of authority, retarded my development, crippled my doings with the opposite sex, kept me from rising in the world and made me unfit, almost, for human society. How I became a teacher at all and remained one is a miracle and I have to give myself full marks for surviving all those years in the classrooms of New York. There should be a medal for people who survive miserable childhoods and become teachers, and I should be first in line for the medal and whatever bars might be appended for ensuing miseries.

I could lay blame. The miserable childhood doesn't simply happen. It is brought about. There are dark forces. If I am to lay blame it is in a spirit of forgiveness. Therefore, I forgive the following: Pope Pius XII; the English in general and King George VI in particular; Cardinal MacRory, who ruled Ireland when I was a child; the bishop of Limerick, who seemed to think everything was sinful; Eamonn De Valera, former prime minister (Taoiseach) and president of Ireland. Mr. De Valera was a half-Spanish Gaelic fanatic (Spanish onion in an Irish stew) who directed teachers all over Ireland to beat the native tongue into us and natural curiosity out of us. He caused us hours of misery. He was aloof and indifferent to the black and blue welts raised by schoolmaster sticks on various parts of our young bodies. I forgive, also, the priest who drove me from the confessional when I admitted to sins of self-abuse and self-pollution and penny thieveries from my mother's purse. He said I did not show a proper spirit of repentance, especially in the matter of the flesh. And even though he had hit that nail right on the head, his refusal to grant me absolution put my soul in such peril that if I had been flattened by a truck outside the church he would have been responsible for my eternal damnation. I forgive various bullying schoolmasters for pulling me out of my seat by the sideburns, for walloping me regularly with stick, strap and cane when I stumbled over answers in the catechism or when in my head I couldn't divide 937 by 739. I was told by my parents and other adults it was all for my own good. I forgive them for those whopping hypocrisies and wonder where they are at this moment. Heaven? Hell? Purgatory (if it still exists)?”






McCourt (New York, 19 augustus 1930)






De Amerikaanse schrijver James Gould Cozzens werd geboren op 19 augustus 1903 in Chicago. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.


Uit: Guard of Honor


Colonel Ross did not have the facts on whatever other troubles Colonel Woodman had or thought he had; but he knew all about this episode of the AT-7–perhaps more than Woody thought. It was really all you needed to know. A routine order had gone from Washington to Fort Worth and from Fort Worth to Sellers Field; give an AT-7 to General Beal. Understandably, Colonel Woodman didn’t like giving away planes; but anyone not obsessed with a persecution complex need only look at a map to figure it out. The finger was put on Sellers Field because it was the point nearest Ocanara to which AT-7’s were then being delivered. Moreover, Sellers Field, as Woody so loudly protested, was not scheduled to be, and was not, ready to use all its planes. Still, standard operating procedure would be to query the order. Fort Worth grasped, at least as well as Colonel Woodman did, that basic principle of military management: always have on hand more of everything than you can ever conceivably need. If Colonel Woodman in the normal way queried Fort Worth, Fort Worth could be counted on to query Washington.”





James Gould Cozzens (19 augustus 1903 – 9 augustus 1978)






De Nederlandse schrijver, dichter en vertaler Louis Th. Lehmann, werd geboren op 19 augustus 1920 in Rotterdam. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.



Denford Mill House


The next lock will not see the writing

the waterhen, tripping in flight

imprints upon the rushing river's schoulders.

A water mill is not a home,

the stream passes through

like time through me.





De kleine bomen, helder in de heggen

sturen hun takken doelbewust

en sierlijker dan armen of ook vingers

door het misleidend spel der bladeren.

Zij dwingen ons met redelijke tekentaal

het wijde land rondom hen te vergeten.





In deze stad is het alleen de wind die leeft

want er zijn teveel dingen zonder vorm,

en zelfs wanneer jij bij me bent,

voelen wij nog het huis dat voor

de slagen van de wind

wankelt als een moede bokser.






Louis Th. Lehmann (Rotterdam, 19 augustus 1920)







Zie voor onderstaande schrijver ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.

De Spaanse dichter Iñigo López de Mendoza werd geboren op 19 augustus 1398 in Carrión de los Condes, Palencia.





Jonathan Coe, Ogden Nash, Li-Young Lee, Frank McCourt, James Gould Cozzens, Louis Th. Lehmann, Inigo de Mendoza

Voor meer schrijfsters en schrijvers kunt u nog steeds terecht op mijn alternatieve blog adres en hiernaast bij Romenu II. 


De Engelse schrijver Jonathan Coe werd geboren op 19 augustus 1961 in Birmingham. Coe studeerde aan de King Edward's School en aan Trinity College, Cambridge. Zijn romans, waarin hij vaak sociale en politike thema’s aansnijdt,  kenmerken zich door humor en satire. Zijn roman The Rotter´s Club uit 2001 is autobiografisch getint. Het boek werd zowel voor de radio als voor de televisie bewerkt.


Werk o.a: The Accidental Woman (1987), A Touch of Love (1989), What a Carve Up! (1994), The Closed Circle (2004)


Uit: The House of Sleep (1997)


“It was their final quarrel, that much was clear. But although he had been anticipating it for days, perhaps even for weeks, nothing could quell the tide of anger and resentment which now rose up inside him. She had been in the wrong, and had refused to admit it. Every argument he had attempted to put forward, every attempt to be conciliatory and sensible, had been distorted, twisted around and turned back against him. How dare she bring up that perfectly innocent evening he had spent in The Half Moon with Jennifer? How dare she call his gift 'pathetic', and claim that he was looking 'shifty' when he gave it to her? And how dare she bring up his mother--his mother, of all people--and accuse him of seeing her too often? As if that were some sort of comment on his maturity; on his masculinity, even...

He stared blindly ahead, unconscious of his surroundings or of his fellow pedestrians. 'Bitch,' he thought to himself, as her words came back to him. And then out loud, through clenched teeth, he shouted, 'BITCH!'

After that, he felt slightly better.

Huge, grey and imposing, Ashdown stood on a headland, some twenty yards from the sheer face of the cliff, where it had stood for more than a hundred years. All day, the gulls wheeled around its spires and tourelles, keening themselves hoarse. All day and all night, the waves threw themselves dementedly against their rocky barricade, sending an endless roar like heavy traffic through the glacial rooms and mazy, echoing corridors of the old house. Even the emptiest parts of Ashdown--and most of it was now empty--were never silent. The most habitable rooms huddled together on the first and second floors, overlooking the sea, and during the day were flooded with chill sunlight. The kitchen, on the ground floor, was long and L-shaped, with a low ceiling; it had only three tiny windows, and was swathed in permanent shadow. Ashdown's bleak, element-defying beauty masked the fact that it was, essentially, unfit for human occupation. Its oldest and nearest neighbours could remember, but scarcely believe, that it had once been a private residence, home to a family of only eight or nine. But two decades ago it had been acquired by the new university, and it now housed about two dozen students: a shifting population, as changeful as the ocean which lay at its feet, stretched towards the horizon, sickly green and heaving with endless disquiet.”




Jonathan Coe (Birmingham, 19 augustus 1961)


De Amerikaanse dichter Frederic Ogden Nash werd geboren in Rye, New York, op 19 augustus 1902. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 mei en mijn blog van 19 augustus 2006.



Goody for Our Side and Your Side Too


Foreigners are people somewhere else,
Natives are people at home;
If the place you’re at
Is your habitat,
You’re a foreigner, say in Rome.
But the scales of Justice balance true,
And tit leads into tat,
So the man who’s at home
When he stays in Rome
Is abroad when he’s where you’re at.

When we leave the limits of the land in which
Our birth certificates sat us,
It does not mean
Just a change of scene,
But also a change of status.
The Frenchman with his fetching beard,
The Scot with his kilt and sporran,
One moment he
May a native be,
And the next may find him foreign.

There’s many a difference quickly found
Between the different races,
But the only essential
Is living different places.
Yet such is the pride of prideful man,
From Austrians to Australians,
That wherever he is,
He regards as his,
And the natives there, as aliens.

Oh, I’ll be friends if you’ll be friends,
The foreigner tells the native,
And we’ll work together for our common ends
Like a preposition and a dative.
If our common ends seem mostly mine,
Why not, you ignorant foreigner?
And the native replies
And hence, my dears, the coroner.

So mind your manners when a native, please,
And doubly when you visit
And between us all
A rapport may fall
Ecstatically exquisite.
One simple thought, if you have it pat,
Will eliminate the coroner:
You may be a native in your habitat,
But to foreigners you’re just a foreigner.






Ogden Nash (19 augustus 1902 – 19 mei 1971)


De Amerikaanse dichter Li-Young Lee werd geboren op 19 augustus 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesië. Hij stamt uit een Chinese familie. In 1959 ontvluchtte zijn familie het land vanwege de anti Chinese stemming en kwam via Hongkong, Macau en Japan uiteindelijk in 1964 in de VS terecht. Lee bezocht o.a. de universiteit van Oittsburgh, waar hij zijn liefde voor het schrijven ontwikkelde. Daarna doceerde hij zelf aan verschillende universiteiten, waaronder Northwestern en de University of Iowa. Terukerende thema’s in zijn poëzie zijn ballingschap en de moed om te rebelleren.


The Gift


To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he'd removed
the iron sliver I thought I'd die from.


I can't remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,
two measures of tenderness
he laid against my face,
the flames of discipline
he raised above my head.


Had you entered that afternoon
you would have thought you saw a man
planting something in a boy's palm,
a silver tear, a tiny flame.
Had you followed that boy
you would have arrived here,
where I bend over my wife's right hand.


Look how I shave her thumbnail down
so carefully she feels no pain.
Watch as I lift the splinter out.
I was seven when my father
took my hand like this,
and I did not hold that shard
between my fingers and think,
Metal that will bury me,
christen it Little Assassin,
Ore Going Deep for My Heart.
And I did not lift up my wound and cry,
Death visited here!
I did what a child does
when he's given something to keep.
I kissed my father.




Li-Young Lee (Jakarta, 19 augustus 1957)


De Iers-Amerikaanse schrijver Frank McCourt werd geboren op 19 augustus 1930 in New York als zoon van een immigrantenfamilie. Toen hij vier jaar was keerde zijn familie naar Ierland terug. Daar groeide hij in armoedige omstandigheden op in het katholieke Limerick. Zijn vader was werkloos en gaf het meeste van zijn uitkering aan drank uit. In 1949 had McCourt genoeg geld om een ticket naar New York te kunnen betalen. Daar werkte hij in hotels en ging hij in het leger. Na zijn diensttijd verdiende hij het geld om een studie te betalen in pakhuizen en op doks. Hij werd leraar en doceerde tenslotte op de gerenommeerde Stuyvesant High School in New York. Na zijn oensionering verwerkte McCourt zijn moeilijke jeugd in de autobiografische roman Angela's Ashes. Het werd met zes miljoen verkochte exemplaren een internationale bestseller en leverde hem in 1997 de Pulitzer prijs op. Ook werd het boek in 1999 door Alan Parker verfilmd. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2006.


Uit: Angela's Ashes


“First Communion day is the happiest day of your life because of The Collection and James Cagney at the Lyric Cinema. The night before I was so excited I couldn't sleep till dawn. I'd still be sleeping if my grandmother hadn't come banging at the door.

Get up! Get up! Get that child outa the bed. Happiest day of his life an' him snorin' above in the bed.

I ran to the kitchen. Take off that shirt, she said. I took off the shirt and she pushed me into a tin tub of icy cold water. My mother scrubbed me, my grandmother scrubbed me. I was raw, I was red.

They dried me. They dressed me in my black velvet First Communion suit with the white frilly shirt, the short pants, the white stockings, the black patent leather shoes. Around my arm they tied a white satin bow and on my lapel they pinned the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a picture with blood dripping from it, flames erupting all around it and on top a nasty-looking crown of thorns.

Come here till I comb your hair, said Grandma. Look at that mop, it won't lie down. You didn't get that hair from my side of the family. That's that North of Ireland hair you got from your father. That's the kind of hair you see on Presbyterians. If your mother had married a proper decent Limerick man you wouldn't have this standing up, North of Ireland, Presbyterian hair.”





McCourt (New York, 19 augustus 1930)


De Amerikaanse schrijver James Gould Cozzens werd geboren op 19 augustus 1903 in Chicago. Hij studeerde twee jaar aan de universiteit van Harvard, waar hij in 1924 zijn eerste roman Confusion publiceerde. Een paar maanden later, ziek en geplaagd door schulden, verliet hij Harvard, ging naar New Brunswick in Canada en schreef zijn tweede roman Michael Scarlett. Geen van de boeken verkocht goed. Cozzens vertrok naar Cuba om les te geven aan kinderen van Amerikanen. Hij begon korte verhalen te schrijven en verzamelde materiaal voor Cock Pit (1928) en The Son of Perdition (1929). Tijdens WO II diende hij bij de Amerikaanse luchtmacht. Zijn ervaringen daar vormden de basis voor Guard of Honor, zijn romaqn uit 1948 die hem in 1949 de Pulitzer prijs opleverde. Verrassenderwijs werd By Love Possessed in 1957 een enorm succes. Het boek stond vierendertig weken op de The New York Times Best Seller list.


Uit: Snow Falling on Cedars


At the intersection of Center Valley Road and South Beach Drive Ishmael spied, ahead of him in the bend, a car that had failed to negotiate the grade as it coiled around a grove of snow-hung cedars. Ishmael recognized it as the Willys station wagon that belonged to Fujiko and Hisao Imada; in fact, Hisao was working with a shovel at its rear right wheel, which had dropped into the roadside drainage ditch.
Hisao Imada was small enough most of the time, but he looked even smaller bundled up in his winter clothes, his hat pulled low and his scarf across his chin so that only his mouth, nose, and eyes showed. Ishmael knew he would not ask for help, in part because San Piedro people never did, in part because such was his character. Ishmael decided to park at the bottom of the grade beside Gordon Ostrom's mailbox and walk the fifty yards up South Beach Drive, keeping his DeSoto well out of the road while he convinced Hisao Imada to accept a ride from him.
Ishmael had known Hisao a long time. When he was eight years old he'd seen the Japanese man trudging along behind his swaybacked white plow horse: a Japanese man who carried a machete at his belt in order to cut down vine maples. His family lived in two canvas tents while they cleared their newly purchased property. They drew water from a feeder creek and warmed themselves at a slash pile kept burning by his children--girls in rubber boots, including Hatsue--who dragged branches and brought armfuls of brush to it.”




James Gould Cozzens (19 augustus 1903 – 9 augustus 1978)


De Nederlandse schrijver, dichter en vertaler Louis Th. Lehmann, werd geboren op 19 augustus 1920 in Rotterdam. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2006.



Als 'k dood ben


Als 'k dood ben zijn mijn kleren rare dingen.
De overhemden, nieuw of dragensbroos,
de pakken hangend waar ze altijd hingen,
steeds wijzend naar omlaag, besluiteloos.

Ik was ze, ik alleen droeg hen altoos.
En omdat ze mij vaak vervingen,
of omdat ik hen uit hun winkel koos;
zij tonen iets van mijn herinneringen.

Oh, vrienden, enigszins van mijn formaat,
ik roep U als de dood te wachten staat,
(maak ik het sterven bij bewustzijn mee)
'k Geef U of leen, 't zou niet de eerste keer zijn
mijn pakken, vormt met hen die mij niet meer zijn
dan langs mijn kist een onzwart defilé.





Louis Th. Lehmann (Rotterdam, 19 augustus 1920)


De Spaanse dichter Iñigo López de Mendoza werd geboren op 19 augustus 1398 in Carrión de los Condes, Palencia. Mendoza was van adelijke afkomst en diende aan het hof van Johan II van Kastilië en onderscheidde zich in militaire dienst. In zijn laatste levensjaren wijdde hij zich aan de literatuur. Zijn gedichten ontstonden onder invloed van de Italiaanse Renaissance.





From Calatrava as I took my way

At holy Mary's shrine to kneel and pray,

And sleep upon my eyelids heavy lay,

There where the ground was very rough and wild,

I lost my path and met a peasant child:

From Finojosa, with the herds around her,

There in the fields I found her.


Upon a meadow green with tender grass,

With other rustic cowherds, lad and lass,

So sweet a thing to see I watched her pass:

My eyes could scarce believe her what they found her,

There with the herds around her.


I do not think that roses in the Spring

Are half so lovely in their fashioning:

My heart must needs avow this secret thing,

That had I known her first as then I found her,

From Finojosa, with the herds around her,

I had not strayed so far her face to see

That it might rob me of my liberty.


I questioned her, to know what she might say:

"Has she of Finojosa passed this way?"

She smiled and answered me: "In vain you sue,

Full well my heart discerns the hope in you:

But she of whom you speak, and have not found her.

Her heart is free, no thought of love has bound her,

Here with the herds around her."



Vertaald door  John Pierrepont Rice




Iñigo López de Mendoza (19 augustus 1398 – 25 maart 1458)