Walt Whitman, Frank Goosen, Gabriel Barylli, Konstantin Paustovski

De Amerikaanse dichter Walt Whitman werd geboren op 31 mei 1819 in Westhills, Long Island, New York. Zie ook alle tags voor Whalt Whitman op dit blog.


Facing west from California’s shores


FACING west from California’s shores,

Inquiring, tireless, seeking what is yet unfound,

I, a child, very old, over waves, towards the house of maternity, the land of migrations, look afar,

Look off the shores of my Western sea, the circle almost circled;

For starting westward from Hindustan, from the vales of Kashmere,

From Asia, from the north, from the God, the sage, and the hero,

From the south, from the flowery peninsulas and the spice islands,

Long having wander’d since, round the earth having wander’d,

Now I face home again, very pleas’d and joyous,

(But where is what I started for so long ago? And why is it yet unfound?)



Uit: Calamus Poems (Fragment)



Scented herbage of my breast,
Leaves from you I yield, I write, to be perused best afterwards,
Tomb-leaves, body leaves, growing up above me, above death,
Perennial roots, tall leaves — O the winter shall not freeze you, delicate leaves,
Every year shall you bloom again — Out from where you retired, you shall emerge again;
O I do not know whether many, passing by, will discover you, or inhale your faint odor — but I believe a few will;
O slender leaves! O blossoms of my blood! I permit you to tell, in your own way, of the heart that is under you,
O burning and throbbing — surely all will one day be accomplished;
O I do not know what mean, there underneath yourselves — you are not happiness,
You are often more bitter than I can bear — you burn and sting me,






Whoever you are holding me now in hand,
Without one thing all will be useless,
I give you fair warning, before you attempt me further,
I am not what you supposed, but far different.



Who is he that would become my follower?
Who would sign himself a candidate for my affections? Are you he?



The way is suspicious — the result slow, uncertain, may-be destructive;
You would have to give up all else — I alone would expect to be your God, sole and exclusive,
Your novitiate would even then be long and exhausting,
The whole past theory of your life, and all conformity to the lives around you, would have to be abandoned;
Therefore release me now, before troubling yourself any further — Let go your hand from my shoulders,
Put me down, and depart on your way.



Or else, only by stealth, in some wood, for trial,
Or back of a rock, in open air,
(for in any roofed room of a house I emerge not — nor in company,
And in the libraries I lie as one dumb, a gawk, or unborn, or dead,)
But just possibly with you on a high hill — first watching lest any person, for miles around, approach unawares,
Or possibly with you sailing at sea, or on the beach of the sea, or some quiet island,
Here to put your lips upon mine I permit you,
With the comrade’s long-dwelling kiss, or the new husband’s kiss,
For I am the new husband, and I am the comrade


Walt Whitman (31 mei 1819 – 26 maart 1893)

Hier met vriend Bill Duckett, rond 1886


Doorgaan met het lezen van “Walt Whitman, Frank Goosen, Gabriel Barylli, Konstantin Paustovski”

Elizabeth Alexander, Countee Cullen, Emmanuel Hiel, Jan Geerts

De Amerikaanse dichteres en schrijfster Elizabeth Alexander werd geboren op 30 mei 1962 in New York. Zie ook alle tags voor Elizabeth Alexander op dit blog.


Autumn Passage


On suffering, which is real.
On the mouth that never closes,
the air that dries the mouth.


On the miraculous dying body,
its greens and purples.
On the beauty of hair itself.


On the dazzling toddler:
“Like eggplant,” he says,
when you say “Vegetable,”


“Chrysanthemum” to “Flower.”
On his grandmother’s suffering, larger
than vanished skyscrapers,


September zucchini,
other things too big. For her glory
that goes along with it,


glory of grown children’s vigil,
communal fealty, glory
of the body that operates


even as it falls apart, the body
that can no longer even make fever
but nonetheless burns


florid and bright and magnificent
as it dims, as it shrinks,
as it turns to something else.



Islands Number Four




Agnes Martin, Islands Number Four,

Repeated ovals on a grid, what appears

To be perfect is handmade, disturbed.

Tobacco brown saturates canvas to burlap,

Clean form from a distance, up close, her hand.

All wrack and bramble to oval and grid.

Hollows in the body, containers for grief.

What looks to be perfect is not perfect.


Odd oval portholes that flood with light.




Description of a Slave Ship, 1789:

Same imperfect ovals, calligraphic hand.

At a distance, pattern. Up close, bodies

Doubled and doubled, serried and stacked

In the manner of galleries in a church,

In full ships on their sides or on each other.

Isle of woe, two-by-two, spoon-fashion,

Not unfrequently found dead in the morning.

Slave ships, the not pure, imperfect ovals,

Portholes through which they would never see home,

The flesh rubbed off their shoulders, elbows, hips.

Barracoon, sarcophagus, indestructible grief

Nesting in the hollows of the abdomen.

The slave ship empty, its cargo landed

And sold for twelve ounces of gold apiece


Or gone overboard. Islands. Aftermath.


Elizabeth Alexander (New York, 30 mei 1962)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Elizabeth Alexander, Countee Cullen, Emmanuel Hiel, Jan Geerts”

Martin Jankowski

De Duitse dichter en schrijver Martin Jankowski werd op 29 mei 1965 in Greifswald geboren. Zie ook alle tags voor Martin Jankowski op dit blog.

anflug auf yogya

rechts das meer und links die grünen hügel
wir lachen und legen uns elegant in die kurve
eine kette rauchender vulkane taucht auf
eine armlänge vom flugzeugfenster entfernt
steck ich die hand in den dampf und lege
eine handvoll funkelnder rubine in deinen schoß

zwischen vulkankegeln wimmelt häuserschaum
wir zielen in seine schattige mitte

alles scheint fruchtbarer hier
der boden das lächeln die luft
und wenn ein erdbeben käme
oder die vulkane alle zugleich
in wildem übermut das flimmern
der stadt und das land auslöschten
hätten wir mühsam wie alle gelebt
doch näher am glück

sieh nur der mond
wird zornig rot spielt
schattenspiele mit den wolken

Martin Jankowski (Greifswald, 29 mei 1965)

André Brink, Eduard Escoffet, G. K. Chesterton

De Zuid-Afrikaanse schrijver André Brink werd geboren op 29 mei 1935 in Vrede. Zie ook alle tags voor André Brink op dit blog.


Uit: Surprise Visit


He never really learnt to cope with that. The only constant in those years was Mum. His father was always more of an absence than a presence. But Mum, yes, she made the difference. Which was why he finally had to make the effort to come all this way to see her. For the last time? Before he went to the States he had already paid her a number of visits, of which each could have been the last. But she held on. Not without some perversity, he sometimes thought. Always a contrary old bird.

He walks down the passage, his rubber soles squeaking on the green linoleum. Down to the end, Jolene has said, then sharp left. Into a small, undefined kind of space which may once have been a storeroom, when the old red-brick building was still a girls’ school. He had actually come here two or three times during his university years, when the girls put on the plays indefatigably penned and produced by the Welshman who taught English and with whom he’d struck up some kind of easy-going friendship. It was mainly cricket that had brought the two of them together. But for some time, at least a year or so, the prof’s daughter had provided an additional attraction. She was still at this school then and acted in a couple of her father’s plays. A fiery little thing, provocatively pretty. And the plays, invariably crackling with Gaelic magic, heightened her attraction. What was the last one? Of course: The Isles of the Blest, when after the show he and she slipped along some corridor into a secluded lobby at the end, which might have been this very space, and briefly wrought their own magic until they were interrupted, at the critical moment, by the avenging fury of a principal.

Three doors lead from here. The middle one must be the one he is looking for, if Jolene is to be believed. Opening into what resembles the waiting room of a railway station. Even smelling like one. Except that this one, large and lugubrious, has darker undertones. What must undoubtedly be the smell of death. When one ends up here there are no further shifts or moves to be expected. It is the ultimate Waiting Room. From here there are only the few steps to the hearse at the door. Abandon all hope, ye who enter. Or something to that effect.”


André Brink (Vrede, 29 mei 1935)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “André Brink, Eduard Escoffet, G. K. Chesterton”

Derek Walcott, Adriaan Bontebal, Leo Pleysier, Frank Schätzing, Maeve Binchy

Prettige Pinksterdagen!


De Nederdaling van de Heilige Geest

Ikoon uit de Noordrussische School





Better a jungle in the head
than rootless concrete.
Better to stand bewildered
by the fireflies’ crooked street;

winter lamps do not show
where the sidewalk is lost,
nor can these tongues of snow
speak for the Holy Ghost;

the self-increasing silence
of words dropped from a roof
points along iron railings,
direction, in not proof.

But best is this night surf
with slow scriptures of sand,
that sends, not quite a seraph,
but a late cormorant,

whose fading cry propels
through phosphorescent shoal
what, in my childhood gospels,
used to be called the Soul.



Derek Walcott (St. Lucia, 23 januari 1930)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Derek Walcott, Adriaan Bontebal, Leo Pleysier, Frank Schätzing, Maeve Binchy”

Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Jan Blokker, Niels ’t Hooft

Prettige Pinksterdagen!



The Descent of the Holy Spirit, Anthony van Dyck. 1618-1620


Am Pfingstsonntage

Still war der Tag, die Sonne stand
So klar an unbefleckten Domeshallen;
Die Luft in Orientes Brand
Wie ausgedorrt, ließ matt die Flügel fallen.
Ein Häuflein sieh, so Mann als Greis,
Auch Frauen knieend, keine Worte hallen,
Sie beten leis.
Wo bleibt der Tröster, treuer Hort,
Den scheidend doch verheißen du den Deinen?
Nicht zagen sie; fest steht dein Wort,
Doch bang und trübe muß die Zeit wohl scheinen.
Die Stunde schleicht; schon vierzig Tag’
Und Nächte harrten sie in stillem Weinen,
Und sahn dir nach.
Wo bleibt er? wo nur? Stund’ an Stund’,
Minute will sich reihen an Minuten.
Wo bleibt er denn? – und schweigt der Mund:
Die Seele spricht es unter leisem Bluten.
Der Wirbel stäubt, der Tiger ächzt
Und wälzt sich keuchend durch die sand’gen Fluten,
Die Schlange lechzt.
Da horch! ein Säuseln hebt sich leicht!
Es schwillt und schwillt und steigt zu Sturmes Rauschen.
Die Gräser stehen ungebeugt;
Die Palme starr und staunend scheint zu lauschen.
Was zittert durch die fromme Schar,
Was läßt sie bang’ und glühe Blicke tauschen?
Schaut auf! nehmt wahr!
Er ist’s, er ist’s; die Flamme zuckt
Ob jedem Haupt; welch wunderbares Kreisen,
Was durch die Adern quillt und ruckt!
Die Zukunft bricht, es öffnen sich die Schleusen,
Und unaufhaltsam strömt das Wort
Bald Heroldsruf und bald im flehend leisen
Geflüster fort.
O Licht, o Tröster, bist du, ach!
Nur jener Zeit, nur jener Schar verkündet?
Nicht uns, nicht überall, wo wach
Und trostesbar sich eine Seele findet?
Ich schmachte in der schwülen Nacht,
O leuchte, eh das Auge ganz erblindet;
Es weint und wacht!

Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (10 januari 1797 – 24 mei 1848)

Het kabinet ‚Annette von Droste-Hülshoff’ in het Stadtmuseum, Münster

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Jan Blokker, Niels ’t Hooft”

Alan Hollinghurst, Radwa Ashour, Hugo Raes, Maxwell Bodenheim


De Britse schrijver Alan Hollinghurst werd geboren op 26 mei 1954 in Stoud, Gloucestershire. Zie ook alle tags voor Alan Hollinghurst op dit blog.


Uit: The Stranger’s Child


„She’d been lying in the hammock reading poetry for over an hour. It wasn’t easy: she was thinking all the while about George coming back with Cecil, and she kept sliding down, in small half-willing surrenders, till she was in a heap, with the book held tiringly above her face. Now the light was going, and the words began to hide among themselves on the page. She wanted to get a look at Cecil, to drink him in for a minute before he saw her, and was introduced, and asked her what she was reading. But he must have missed his train, or at least his connection: she saw him pacing the long platform at Harrow and Wealdstone, and rather regretting he’d come. Five minutes later, as the sunset sky turned pink above the rockery, it began to seem possible that something worse had happened. With sudden grave excitement she pictured the arrival of a telegram, and the news being passed round; imagined weeping pretty wildly; then saw herself describing the occasion to someone, many years later, though still without quite deciding what the news had been.
In the sitting-room the lamps were being lit, and through the open window she could hear her mother talking to Mrs. Kalbeck, who had come to tea, and who tended to stay, having no one to get back for. The glow across the path made the garden suddenly lonelier. Daphne slipped out of the hammock, put on her shoes, and forgot about her books. She started towards the house, but something in the time of day held her, with its hint of a mystery she had so far overlooked: it drew her down the lawn, past the rockery, where the pond that reflected the trees in silhouette had grown as deep as the white sky. It was the long still moment when the hedges and borders turned dusky and vague, but anything she looked at closely, a rose, a begonia, a glossy laurel leaf, seemed to give itself back to the day with a secret throb of colour.“


Alan Hollinghurst (Stoud, 26 mei 1954)


Doorgaan met het lezen van “Alan Hollinghurst, Radwa Ashour, Hugo Raes, Maxwell Bodenheim”

Eve Ensler, Friedrich Dieckmann, Egyd Gstättner, Claire Castillon, Raymond Carver

De Amerikaanse schrijfster en feminste Eve Ensler werd op 25 mei 1953 in New York geboren. Zie ook alle tags voor Eve Ensler op dit blog.


Uit: Insecure at Last

„All this striving for security has in fact made you much more insecure. Because now you have to watch out all the time. There are people not like you, people you now call enemies. You have places you cannot go, thoughts you cannot think, worlds you can no longer inhabit. So you spend your days fighting things off, defending your territory, and becoming more entrenched in your narrow thinking. Your days become devoted to protecting yourself. This becomes your mission. This is all you do. You collect canned goods or bottles of water. You ?nd ways to get as much money as you can, and food and oil, in spite of how much you have to take from other people or the methods you have to devise in order to take it. You submit to security systems to check your pockets and IDs and bags. Every object becomes a potential weapon. One week it’s tweezers, the next week it’s rubber bands.

Of course you can no longer feel what another person feels because that might shatter your heart, contradict your stereotype, destroy the whole structure. Ideas get shorter—they become sound bites. There are evildoers and saviors. Criminals and victims. There are those who, if they are not with us, are against us.

It gets easier to hurt people because you do not feel what’s inside them. It gets easier to lock them up, force them to be naked, humiliate them, occupy them, invade them, kill them—because they do not exist. They are merely obstacles to your security.

How did we, as Americans, come to be completely obsessed with our individual security and comfort above all else? What do we think we mean when we talk about security, and what do we really mean? Whose security are we talking about? Is it possible to live surrendering to the reality of insecurity, embracing it, allowing it to open us and transform us and be our teacher? What would we need in order to stop panicking, clinging, consuming, and start opening, giving— becoming more ourselves the less secure we realize we actually are? How has the so-called war on terrorism given rise to this mad national obsession for homeland security, which has actually made us much more insecure at home and in the world?“


Eve Ensler (New York, 25 mei 1953)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Eve Ensler, Friedrich Dieckmann, Egyd Gstättner, Claire Castillon, Raymond Carver”

Dolce far niente 10, Anton van Wilderode, Simon Vestdijk, Ida Gerhardt

Dolce far niente (bij een bijzondere verjaardag)


Terugkeer van de verloren zoon,
Pompeo Batoni
(25 januari 1708 – 4 februari 1787)


De akker

Ik zal die zondagmiddag met mijn vader
op wandel door het land niet licht vergeten
al is het vijftig jaar en méér geleden,
zo dicht bij hem als bijna nooit meer later.

Wij kwamen bij een akkerstuk, door bossen
die aan vier kanten stonden, ingesloten, –
door varens een verwoestend spoor gestoten
dan verend verder over vedermossen.

Wij vonden er een hof. Het hoge koren
met ritselingen rijpgestookt van boven
stond in de palle juli onbewogen
tegen mijn open ogen en mijn oren.

Ik zág niets anders, hóórde niets dan droge
verdorde zoemgeluiden van insecten
onzichtbaar kevertjes en rode plekken
papavers door veel bijen aangevlogen.

Een wereld die bestond en aan den lijve
ervaarbaar vaderlijk, een nieuwe aarde
met ademing en aanvangen van klaarte
waarin ik wilde blijven en verblijven.


Anton van Wilderode (28 juni 1918 – 15 juni 1998)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dolce far niente 10, Anton van Wilderode, Simon Vestdijk, Ida Gerhardt”

Adriaan Roland Holst, Maarten Biesheuvel, Susan Cooper

De Nederlandse dichter Adriaan Roland Holst werd geboren op 23 mei 1888 in Amsterdam. Zie ook alle tags voor Adriaan Roland Holst op dit blog.


‘k Was met den levenmoeden Dag gegaan
Door ’t najaarswoud – de boomen om mij stonden
Zoo droef te wachten, nevelen omwonden,
En staarden roerloos ons bewegen aan.

Moede gestalten langs verlaten laan
Schenen zij mij, en ‘k heb geen licht gevonden
Dan stille bleekheid, die uit wolkenwonden
Haar kilte om ons beide had gedaan.

De Dag was zwijgend en bedroefd geweest –
Soms heb ik even naar hem opgekeken,
Hij scheen te luist’ren naar het stil-bedeesd
Geruisch van blaren die voor ’t laatst nog spreken,
En bij de boschrand zag ik hem verbleeken
Voor ’t wachten van de donk’re hei bevreesd.


Voor later

‘k Geef nu aan jou mijn vreugd’, mijn leed en
Mijn schemergouden droomenschat,
Want later zal je dan nog weten
Hoe ik je eens heb liefgehad.

Later als al dit schoon voorbij is,
Want tijd neemt liefde, vreugde, smart –
Als elk van ons weer droef en blij is
Dicht aan een nieuwgevonden hart,

Dan zal ineens alles vervagen
Bij ’t zien van dit vergeten blad –
Je zal weer droomen van de dagen
Toen we in elkanders oogen zagen,
Toen ik je zoo heb liefgehad.


De sterren
Voor P.N. van Eyck.

Is dan de wereld een vergeefsche wôon –
Vergeefsch, maar onvermijdelijk en wreed
Voor wie de˘eigen verheffing sterflijk weet
Als al der dagen ijdel wendend schoon?

O, laat hij die van zijner wanen troon
Zich op de gloed eigener smart vermeet,
Zijn starende˘oogen opslaan – hij vergeet
Der goddelijke sterren eeuw’ge hoon.

Doch hij die weet en wetend niet wil deinzen
Maar met een luid en tergend lachen veinzen
Dat hij ’t onmeetlijke˘als zichzelf veracht,

Laat hij zijn uit verbittering gebaarde
Verachtlijke verachting heffen naar de
Zwijgende smaad dier koepelende pracht.

Adriaan Roland Holst (23 mei 1888 – 5 augustus 1976)

Portret door Matthieu Wiegman,1934

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Adriaan Roland Holst, Maarten Biesheuvel, Susan Cooper”