Charles Reznikoff, François Cheng, Jiři Orten

De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Reznikoff werd op 30 augustus 1894 in New York geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2009 en ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2010.


Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays
Day of Atonement

The great Giver has ended His disposing;
the long day
is over and the gates are closing.
How badly all that has been read
was read by us,
how poorly all that should be said.

All wickedness shall go in smoke.
It must, it must!
The just shall see and be glad.
The sentence is sweet and sustaining;
for we, I suppose, are the just;
and we, the remaining.

If only I could write with four pens between five fingers
and with each pen a different sentence at the same time–
but the rabbis say it is a lost art, a lost art.
I well believe it. And at that of the first twenty sins that we confess,
five are by speech alone;
little wonder that I must ask the Lord to bless
the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart.

Now, as from the dead, I revisit the earth and delight
in the sky, and hear again
the noise of the city and see
earth’s marvelous creatures–men.
Out of nothing I became a being,
and from a being I shall be
nothing–but until then
I rejoice, a mote in Your world,
a spark in Your seeing.


Feast of Booths

This was a season of our fathers’ joy:
not only when they gathered grapes and the fruit of trees
in Israel, but when, locked in the dark and stony streets,
they held–symbols of a life from which they were banished
but to which they would surely return–
the branches of palm trees and of willows, the twigs of the myrtle,
and the bright odorous citrons.
This was the grove of palms with its deep well
in the stony ghetto in the blaze of noon;
this the living stream lined with willows;
and this the thick-leaved myrtles and trees heavy with fruit
in the barren ghetto–a garden
where the unjustly hated were justly safe at last.
In booths this week of holiday
as those who gathered grapes in Israel lived
and also to remember we were cared for
in the wilderness–
I remember how frail my present dwelling is
even if of stones and steel.
I know this is the season of our joy:
we have completed the readings of the Law
and we begin again;
but I remember how slowly I have learnt, how little,
how fast the year went by, the years–how few.

Charles Reznikoff (30 augustus 1894 – 22 januari 1976)


De Chinees-Franse dichter, schrijver en vertaler François Cheng werd geboren op 30 augustus 1929 in Nanchang in China. Zie ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2008 enook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2009 en ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2010.


Le long d’un amour (fragmenten)

L’infini n’est autre
Que le sans fin
Entre ce qui se cherche
Et ce qui se perd
Mille veines ouvertes
d’un cœur l’autre


D’une main l’autre
Le secret avoué
demeure secret
À l’instar
de l’ombre transparente
ou de l’opaque clarté
Qui s’attarde
La carafe remplie de vin
Et le bol
au cœur vide

à l’Inespéré
Que perpétuent
jour après jour
Deux mains jointes


À deux
Mourrons-nous à la lueur de la bougie
Où un papillon de nuit glorifie encore
l’instant dément

En un
Renaîtrons-nous aux ténèbres encerclantes
Où une fumée s’évanouit, sans fin retraçant
nos songes croisés

François Cheng (Nanchang, 30 augustus 1929)


De Tsjechische dichter Jiří Orten (eig. Jiří Ohrenstein) werd geboren op 30 augustus 1919 bij Kutná Hora. Zie ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2007 en ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2008 enookmijn blog van 30 augustus 2009 en ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2010.


Black Painting

The reins sway vainly,

the whip hits the air,

it won’t strike you, it hasn’t got you,

the reins sway vainly,

from whence departed God.

Where did He go? He alone knows that, where,

He went to fight for something,

to bring the sails of the windmills wind,

and He went and went, He alone knows where,

He went nailed to His love.

He is elsewhere, how not to put it,

one day He will return, perhaps.

See, moonstruck bailiffs

stride through godforsaken streets

snuffing out lives.



We have our names. We don our clothes,

wear Sunday-shoes,

we note the trinkets that our neighbours wear

but only rarely, after death,

to them, the dying, do we administer pills.

In lavish rags our age is dressed.

Thou supportest nothing, Thou art useless, roof-beam.

Has anyone been cured as yet?

A tatty Bible once read by

lucky old Job himself, after he got out of hospital,

lies somewhere on the floor.

And old God, Our Lord of Slums,

administers cold, sickness, hunger and suffering

in handfuls.

Vertaald door Toby Litt en Virginia Little


Jiří Orten (30 augustus 1919 – 1 september 1941)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 30e augustus ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.