Uit: The Hot Zone
„The doctors thought he should go to Nairobi Hospital, which is the best private hospital in East Africa. The telephone system hardly worked, and it did not seem worth the effort to call any doctors to tell them that he was coming. He could still walk, and he seemed able to travel by himself. He had money; he understood he had to get to Nairobi. They put him in a taxi to the airport, and he boarded a Kenya Airways flight.
A hot virus from the rain forest lives within a twenty-four hour plane flight from every city on earth. All of the earth’s cities are connected by a web of airline routes. The web is a network. Once a virus hits the net, it can shoot anywhere in a day æParis, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, wherever planes fly. Charles Monet and the life form inside him had entered the net.
The plane was a Fokker Friendship with propellers, a commuter aircraft that seats thirty-five people. It started its engines and took off over Lake Victoria, blue and sparkling, dotted with the dugout canoes of fishermen. The Friendship turned and banked eastward, climbing over green hills quilted with tea plantations and small farms. The commuter flights that drone across Africa are often jammed with people, and this flight was probably full. The plane climbed over belts of forest and clusters of round huts and villages with tin roofs. The land suddenly dropped away, going down in shelves and ravines, and changed in color from green to brown. The plane was crossing the Eastern rift valley. The passengers looked out the windows at the place where the human species was born. They say specks of huts clustered inside circles of thornbush, with cattle trails radiating from the huts. The propellers moaned, and the friendship passed through cloud streets, lines of puffy rift clouds, and began to bounce and sway. Monet became airsick.“
Richard Preston (Cambridge, 5 augustus 1954)
De Nicaraguaanse schrijver en politicus Sergio Ramírez Mercado werd geboren in Masatepe op 5 augustus 1942. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Sergio Ramirez op dit blog.
Uit: A Thousand Deaths Plus One (Vertaald door Leland H. Chambers)
„The naked body, which in the contrast of the dimly illuminated snapshot looks as white as if it were a leper’s cadaver, barely fits on the work bench where it lies exposed, just as in that other one, fully dressed, it scarcely fits on the bed. And the feet jut out in the foreground of this one too, freed of those seven-league-boots and looking as though they belong to the old Slavic king placidly asleep after a wild night of feverish love, his beard and hair in disarray, his legs still firm, his broad chest covered with a light snow-colored down, the two dark nipples like eyes still alert, and the abdomen flat without a hint of that senile obscenity that is a flaccid belly, swollen with fat. The Slavic monarch seems to be enjoying the majesty of his repose, unaware of his nakedness, and Pauline could be taken for the servant girl who doesn’t dare to wake him, her protuberant eyes fixed on his sex that rises from the furry mat of his pubic region like the pestle belonging to a pharmacist’s mortar.
But all this serene harmony is shattered by the clumsy seam that is marked by long stitches from sternum to stomach. After performing a radical evisceration, necessary because a long journey by train all the way to St. Petersburg awaits the body, the embalmer has injected two liters of formol into his veins and has filled with tow the cavities that used to hold his soft organs before concluding by sewing up the lengthy incision with horse hair.
Flaubert’s hypocritical rule asserts that one should not become involved, Du Camp says again after Primoli separates himself from Castellón, raising his arms as if asking for peace. Thirsty for new experiences, you can go off to Upper Egypt to observe the hunting expeditions for blacks and elephants, but only as an observer whose emotions cannot deflect you from your mission to see. The blacks, the elephants are simply motifs, pretexts of a nature that is rich in varieties of cruelty and the marvelous, destined for the eye.“
Sergio Ramírez (Masatepe, 5 augustus 1942)
De Amerikaanse schrijver en dichter Conrad Potter Aiken werd geboren in Savannah, Georgia op 5 augustus 1889. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Conrad Aitken op dit blog.
VERMILIONED mouth, tired with many kisses,
Eyes, that have lighted for so many eyes,–
Are you not weary yet with countless lovers,
Desirous now to take even me for prize?
Draw not my glance, nor set my sick heart beating,–
Body so stripped, for all your silks and lace.
Do not reach out pale hands to me, seductive,
Nor slant sly eyes, O subtly smiling face.
For I am drawn to you, like wind I follow,
Like a warm amorous wind … though I desire
Even in dream to keep one face before me,
One face like fire, and holier than fire.
* * *
I walk beneath these trees, and in this darkness
Muse beyond seas of her from whom I came,
While you, with catlike step, steal close beside me,
Spreading your perfume round me like soft flame.
Ah! should I once stoop face and forehead to you,
Into and through your sweetness, a night like this,
In the lime-blossomed darkness feel your bosom,
Warm and so soft, and find your lips to kiss.
And tear at your strange flesh with crazy fingers,
And drink with mouth gone mad your eyes’ wild wine,
And cleave to you, body with breathless body,
Till bestial were exalted to divine,–
Would I again, O lamia silked and scented,
Out of the slumberous magic of your eyes,
And your narcotic perfume, soft and febrile,
Have the romantic hardihood to rise,
And set my heart across great seas of distance
With love unsullied for her from whom I came?–
With catlike step you steal beside me, past me,
Leaving your perfume round me like soft flame.
Conrad Aiken (5 augustus 1889 – 17 augustus 1973)
De Amerikaanse dichter, schrijver, essayist en criticus Wendell Berry werd geboren op 5 augustus 1934 in Henry County, Kentucky. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Wendell Berry op dit blog.
A Warning To My Readers
Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world. I am
a man crude as any,
gross of speech, intolerant,
stubborn, angry, full
of fits and furies. That I
may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.
The Hidden Singer
The gods are less for their love of praise.
Above and below them all is a spirit that needs nothing
but its own wholeness, its health and ours.
It has made all things by dividing itself.
It will be whole again.
To its joy we come together —
the seer and the seen, the eater and the eaten,
the lover and the loved.
In our joining it knows itself. It is with us then,
not as the gods whose names crest in unearthly fire,
but as a little bird hidden in the leaves
who sings quietly and waits, and sings.
Wendell Berry (Henry County, 5 augustus 1934)
Uit: Madame Parisse (Vertaald door Albert M. C. McMaster, A. E. Henderson en Mme. Quesada)
„I was sitting on the pier of the small port of Obernon, near the village of Salis, looking at Antibes, bathed in the setting sun. I had never before seen anything so wonderful and so beautiful.
The small town, enclosed by its massive ramparts, built by Monsieur de Vauban, extended into the open sea, in the middle of the immense Gulf of Nice. The great waves, coming in from the ocean, broke at its feet, surrounding it with a wreath of foam; and beyond the ramparts the houses climbed up the hill, one after the other, as far as the two towers, which rose up into the sky, like the peaks of an ancient helmet. And these two towers were outlined against the milky whiteness of the Alps, that enormous distant wall of snow which enclosed the entire horizon.
Between the white foam at the foot of the walls and the white snow on the sky-line the little city, dazzling against the bluish background of the nearest mountain ranges, presented to the rays of the setting sun a pyramid of red-roofed houses, whose facades were also white, but so different one from another that they seemed to be of all tints.
And the sky above the Alps was itself of a blue that was almost white, as if the snow had tinted it; some silvery clouds were floating just over the pale summits, and on the other side of the gulf Nice, lying close to the water, stretched like a white thread between the sea and the mountain. Two great sails, driven by a strong breeze, seemed to skim over the waves. I looked upon all this, astounded.
This view was one of those sweet, rare, delightful things that seem to permeate you and are unforgettable, like the memory of a great happiness. One sees, thinks, suffers, is moved and loves with the eyes. He who can feel with the eye experiences the same keen, exquisite and deep pleasure in looking at men and things as the man with the delicate and sensitive ear, whose soul music overwhelms.“
Guy de Maupassant (5 augustus 1850 – 6 juli 1893)