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)
verdirbt den sex,
zerstört den verstand
und bleicht die farbe der haut aus.
sie macht aus den augen ein möbel
und aus dem bett ein weiteres möbel
– jetzt ein mal nach dem anderen –.
die liebe tötet das flirten,
tötet die masern ab
und tötet den zerstreuten blick
und richtet die moral wieder
auf unbekannte neigungen aus.
macht die stimme heiser,
vereitelt die pläne und die panorama-aussichten
und macht den kaffee mit klumpen voll
und mit durchgegangenen nerven die adern.
die liebe besänftigt die see und die zahmsten landschaften,
lässt die plattfüße platt
und plättet die wildeste rute.
sie bedeckt dir die augen,
und zwischen gardinen und rollläden
vergesse ich mich selbst,
die flüsse sind weiterhin die flüsse
und ich weiß nicht mehr, was tun.
Eduard Escoffet (Barcelona, 29 mei 1979)
St George he was for England,
And before he killed the dragon
He drank a pint of English ale
Out of an English flagon.
For though he fast right readily
In hair-shirt or in mail,
It isn’t safe to give him cakes
Unless you give him ale.
St George he was for England,
And right gallantly set free
The lady left for dragon’s meat
And tied up to a tree;
But since he stood for England
And knew what England means,
Unless you give him bacon
You mustn’t give him beans.
St George he is for England,
And shall wear the shield he wore
When we go out in armour
With battle-cross before.
But though he is jolly company
And very pleased to dine,
It isn’t safe to give him nuts
Unless you give him wine.
After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white,
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead.
The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.
G. K. Chesterton (29 mei 1874 – 14 juli 1936)
Portret door Bryan Bustard