Tahar Ben Jelloun, Daniel Pennac, Billy Childish, Henry Williamson

De Marokkaanse romanschrijver, dichter en essayist Tahar Ben Jelloun werd geboren in Fez op 1 december 1944. Zie ook mijn blog van 1 december 2007 en ook mijn blog van 1 december 2008 en ook mijn blog van 1 december 2009 en ook mijn blog van 1 december 2010.


Uit: Leaving Tangier (Vertaald door Linda Coverdale)

In Tangier, in the winter, the Café Hafa becomes an observatory for dreams and their aftermath. Cats from the cemetery, the terraces, and the chief communal bread oven of the Marshan district gather round the café as if to watch the play unfolding there in silence, and fooling nobody. Long pipes of kif pass from table to table while glasses of mint tea grow cold, enticing bees that eventually tumble in, a matter of indifference to customers long since lost to the limbo of hashish and tinseled reverie. In the back of one room, two men meticulously prepare the key that opens the gates of departure, selecting leaves, then chopping them swiftly and efficiently. Neither man looks up. Leaning back against the wall, customers sit on mats and stare at the horizon as if seeking to read their fate. They look at the sea, at the clouds that blend into the mountains, and they wait for the twinkling lights of Spain to appear. They watch them without seeing them, and sometimes, even when the lights are lost in fog and bad weather, they see them anyway.

Everyone is silent. Everyone listens. Perhaps she will show up this evening. She’ll talk to them, sing them the song of the drowned man who became a sea star suspended over the straits. They have agreed never to speak her name: that would destroy her, and provoke a whole series of misfortunes as well. So the men watch one another and say nothing. Each one enters his dream and clenches his fists. Only the waiters and the tea master, who owns the café, remain outside the circle, preparing and serving their fare with discretion, coming and going from terrace to terrace without disturbing anyone’s dream. The customers know one another but do not converse. Most of them come from the same neighborhood and have just enough to pay for the tea and a few pipes of kif. Some have a slate on which they keep track of their debt. As if by agreement, they keep silent. Especially at this hour and at this delicate moment when their whole being is caught up in the distance, studying the slightest ripple of the waves or the sound of an old boat coming home to the harbor. Sometimes, hearing the echo of a cry for help, they look at one another without turning a hair.“


Tahar Ben Jelloun (Fez, 1 december 1944)


De Franse schrijver Daniel Pennac werd geboren in Casablanca op 1 december 1944. Zie ook mijn blog van 1 december 2007 en ook mijn blog van 1 december 2008 en ook mijn blog van 1 december 2009 en ook mijn blog van 1 december 2010.

La Petite Marchande de Prose

Et là, Saint-Hiver, le très sérieux, s’était accordé un sourire malicieux.
— Et parmi ces artistes, nous comptons même des architectes qui conçoivent en ce moment les plans d’élargissement de notre prison.
L’effet de stupeur fonctionna au quart de poil:
— Vous voulez dire que vos prisonniers sont en train de construire leurs propres cellules? s’est exclamée Julie.
— N’est-ce pas ce que nous faisons tous?


Parce qu’il me l’a fait visiter, sa sacrée taule! Et c’est vrai que j’en suis resté tout debout! Incroyable, quand j’y repense: on croit ouvrir des cellules, et on tombe sur des auditoriums dernier cri, des ateliers de peinture éclairés comme le ciel, des bibliothèques monacales où le type, penché sur son boulot, sa corbeille débordant de brouillons, se retourne à peine pour saluer les visiteurs. Rares, d’ailleurs, les visiteurs. Très tôt après leur incarcération, les prisonniers de Saint-Hiver renoncent aux visites. Saint-Hiver affirme n’y être pour rien.
(Mouvement de mèche.) Très vite, ces hommes sentent qu’ils ont acquis entre ces murs une liberté qu’il leur faut préserver des atteintes de l’extérieur. S’ils ont tué, dehors, c’est, selon eux, parce qu’on leur a refusé le droit d’affirmer cette liberté-là.
— Et leur refus des visites s’est étendu au rejet des médias sous toutes leurs formes, mademoiselle Corrençon, a précisé Saint-Hiver d’une voix appuyée. Ni journaux, ni radio, ni aucun autre vecteur de l’air du temps. Nous faisons nous-mêmes notre propre télévision.“


Daniel Pennac (Casablanca, 1 december 1944)


De Britse dichter, schrijver, schilder, zanger en producer Billy Childish (echte naam William Charlie Mand) werd geboren op 1 december 1959 in Chatham, Kent. Zie ook mijn blog van 1 december 2010.


and all their dreams came true

we were the last kids to still have
brillcreamed hair
wear shorts to skool
and be beaten with sticks
our parents dreamed of a
new world
of more

sweet wrappers
shopping centers
cut-price meals
cheep booze
and limitless

and whats worse
all their dreams came true


Billy Childish (Kent, 1 december 1959)


De Britse schrijver Henry Williamson werd geboren op 1 december 1895 in Londen. Zie ook mijn blog van 1 december 2010.


Uit: The Wet Flanders Plain

Near St. Julien, opposite Triangle Farm, at a place called Vancouver, stands the most beautiful thing in the Salient. People call it the Canadian Memorial, but for me it is the memorial for all the soliders in the War. It faces towards Ypres, not towards a vanquiched enemy, as do so many of the war memorials to be seen in France to-day, such as the Gallic cock crowing triumphantly on a broken cannon at Roclincourt, or the caribou roaring eastwards from Beaumont Hamel, or the defiant artisan-soldier standing firm and fierce at Lens.

Do the dead feel cock-crowing triumph over the dead? The crowing is for the industrial magnates, the Lens or the Ruhr mine-owners, not for the poor unknowing working-men who fell in the Great Horror, and became part of it.

No; the colossal head and shoulders of the soldier with reversed arms emerging from the tall stone column has the gravity and strength of grief coming from full knowledge of old wrongs done to men by men. It mourns; but it mourns for all mankind. We are silent before it, as we are before the stone figures of the Greeks. The thoughtless one-sided babble about national righteousness or wrongess, the cliches of jingo patriotism, the abstract virtues parasitic on the human spirit, fade before the colossal figure of the common soldier by the warside.

The genius of Man rises out of the stone, and our tears fall before it.“


Henry Williamson (1 december 1895 – 13 augustus 1977)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 1e december ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.