I wheel my bike under
the cathedral’s dark overhang.
Seized by a rictus of the wind,
the trees shed rain.
Rain slides down
Wale Street’s sleek, steep fall:
air is an ocean booming round
high bare walls.
My hands freeze on
the bike’s crossbar,
seek the sodden saddle, toy
with the ice-cold bell:
I am suddenly fugitive,
homeless and cornered in
a of pressure and cloud. caprice
Then they cough and I know
I am not alone:
far back, against the great, nailed doors,
they huddle: troglodytes
of night’s alcoves,
parking lots, sparse green lawns,
municipal benches where
lunchtime’s city workers, stripping down
their food-packs, sit
in sober rows.
I fear to turn around,
stiffen in expectation
of the inevitable tugging at my sleeve,
wonder of I have any coins
wonder why they do not bicker,
as they always do,
cursing their mother’s wombs
in tired robots’ tones,
why only this
curious, chuckling, liquid sound
drawing me around.
She has the usual wrappings on
stick-thin, brittle shins,
patchy-purple, quietly rotting
methylated spirits skin:
doekie of incongruous elegance crowns
the scabrous, half-bald skull
Her man, grotesque
as a gargoyle roused from stone,
cradles an infant on his lap,
feeds it from a bottle with a teat,
makes the chuckling, crooning sounds
that turned me round,
that hold me now spellbound.
‘Good morning, sir,’ he says,
and his voice is grave
as a paterfamilias in his lounge.
Only the odd man out,
leaning against the harsh green walls,
looks at me with carefully indifferent eyes,
finding me , alien on his home ground
wishing the clouds would break and I be gone,
ringing my bike’s absurd, small bell.
Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)
Uit: Theaterg’schichten durch Liebe, Ingtrigue, Geld und Dummheit
„Stössl (aufgebracht). Das is der dritte Fall in Einer Wochen! ’s Pintscherl von der Baronin hat er umbracht; statt Rosenhonig Cremor tartari – !
Philippine. Ein Pintscherl auf oder ab –
Stössl. Da liegt freylich nix dran, aber die einzige Baronin, meine beste Kundschaft, is aus Rache und Verzweiflung homöopatisch word’n. Der hectischen Tabakkramerin hat er statt ein Eibischtaig a Diachilum-Pflaster geb’n; ganze 24 Stund hat sie ’s Maul nit aufbracht –!
Philippine. D’rum war s’ auch ’s Tag’s drauf viel besser auf der Brust.
Stössl. Der Erfolg entscheidet nicht. Dem will ich jetzt a Wetter machen –! (will durch den Bogen Mitte rechts nach der Apotheke hinab.)
Philippine (ihn zurückhaltend). Er is mein Bräutigam –!
Stössl. Ich bin sein Vormund.
Philippine. Ist denn Liebe ein Verbrechen?
Stössl. Alles jenachdem. Es is nit aus Lieb’ zu Dir, daß er Opodeldok mit Rhebarbarbara verwechselt, es is Theaterwuth, Comödi-Wahnsinn, was ihm das Bisserl Hirn verbrennt –
Philippine. Liebe zur Kunst verzeih ich ihm gern.
Stössl. ’s Komödispiel’n is aber keine Kunst, es is eine reine Comödispielerey. Das hab’ ich All’s mein’m saubern Sohn zu verdancken.
Philippine. Heut’ kommt er z’ruck nach Dreyjähriger Abwesenheit, Sie werd’n ihn doch nicht etwan hart –
Stössl. Hab’ ich ihm’s g’schafft, daß er damahls durchgangen is, und bey einer Comödianten-Trupp’ –
Johann Nestroy (7 december 1801 – 25 mei 1862)
Borstbeeld in in Bad Ischl
Uit: The Horse’s Mouth
“B-but, Mr Jimson, I w-want to be an artist.’
‘Of course you do,’ I said, ‘everybody does once. But they get over it, thank God, like the measles and the chickenpox. Go home and go to bed and take some hot lemonade and put on three blankets and sweat it out.’
‘But Mr J-Jimson, there must be artists.’
‘Yes, and lunatics and lepers, but why go and live in an asylum before you’re sent for? If you find life a bit dull at home,’ I said, ‘and want to amuse yourself, put a stick of dynamite in the kitchen fire, or shoot a policeman. Volunteer for a test pilot, or dive off Tower Bridge with five bob’s worth of roman candles in each pocket. You’d get twice the fun at about one-tenth of the risk.”
“They can’t give you all that, Mr Jimson,’ said Walter, who was upset. ‘It wouldn’t be right. What would they give you seven years for?’
‘Being Gulley Jimson,’ I said, ‘and getting away with it.”
Joyce Cary (7 december 1888 – 29 maart 1957)
Uit:The Creative Vow as the Essence of Fatherhood (Vertaald door Emma Craufurd)
“The father, as we have seen, is almost irresistibly inclined to treat his child as a being for him, as a being obliged to fill the place which he is reserving for him in a scheme of which one can easily say he is still the centre, since it is he who claims to establish its principles. A mortifying experience teaches him, however, in so far as he is capable of learning the lesson, that this scheme is as precarious as his own existence, if only because his son has the advantage of being likely, in the normal course of things, to outlive him and to have the power one day to upset the plan which he himself has worked out. Under these conditions, the father can reach such an excessive degree of humility that he treats himself as the mere means to an end, which he persuades himself lies beyond him and is incarnated in the autonomous will of the heir. Better thinking, however, leads him to transcend this double relationship, and to discern an organic unity where the imperfect and deceptive sequence which takes shape in the succession of generations is no more than the phenomenal and misleading expression of a substantial union which itself can only be consummated in eternity. In the last analysis it is in relation to this constitution of an organism, spiritual no doubt, but carnally rooted in the eternity of God, and in relation to this alone, that the voeu créateur can be defined, in so far as thereby a fidelity which is itself creative, the fidelity to a hope which transcends all ambition and all personal claims, takes a body.”
Gabriel Marcel (7 december 1889 – 8 oktober 1973)
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 7e december ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.