Uit: Through Black Spruce
“I hit hard ice this time, and it knocked the little breath left out of me. My jeans and jacket were already frozen worse than a straitjacket, and the shivers came so bad my teeth felt like they were about to shatter. I knew my Zippo was in my coat pocket but probably wet to uselessness. Push bad thoughts away. One thing at a time. First things first. I crawled quick as I could, trying to stand and walk, and I frankensteined my way to the trees and began snapping dry twigs from a dead spruce.
After I made a pile, I reached into my chest pocket, breaking the ice from the material that felt hard as iron now. My fingers had lost all feel. I reached for my cigarettes, struggled to pull one from my pack, and clinked open the lighter. I’d decided that if the lighter worked, I‘d enjoy a cigarette as I started a fire. It the lighter didn’t work, I’d freeze to death and searchers would find me with an unlit smoke in my mouth, looking cool as the Marlboro Man. On the fifteenth thumb roll I got the lighter going. I was saved for the first time. I reached for my flask in my ass pocket and struggled to open it. Within five minutes I had a fire going. Within fifteen I’d siphoned fuel from my tank and had one of the greatest fires of my life burning, so hot I had to stand away from it, slowly rotating my body like a sausage.
The darkness of a James Bay night in January is something you two girls know well. Annie, you’re old enough to remember your grandfather. Suzanne, I don’t know. I hope so.Your moshum, he liked nothing more than taking you girls out, bundled up like mummies, to look at the stars and especially the northern lights that flickered over the bay. He’d tell you two that they danced just for you, showed you how to rub your fists together to make them burn brighter. Do you remember?
My first crash ended good. My old friend Chief Joe flew out to me the next morning. found me by the smoky fire I’d kept burning all night. We got my plane unstuck and had a couple of good drinks and he gave me a spare pair of boots. Then Joe went to find those trappers and I got my gas lines unfrozen and flew home to Helen.
Joe quit flying soon after that. He was ready for something else. Me, I kept going. I had no other choice. A wife who wanted children, the idea of a family to feed coming to us like a good sunrise on the horizon. I made my choices. I was young still, young enough to believe you can put out your gill net and pull in options like fish.
The snow’s deep here, nieces. I’m tired, but I have to keep walking. I’m so tired, but I‘ve got to get up or I’ll freeze to death. Talking to you, it keeps me warm.”
Joseph Boyden (Willowdale, 31 oktober 1966)
De Amerikaanse dichter, schrijver en literatuurcriticus Bruce Bawer werd geboren op 31 oktober 1956 in New York. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Bruce Bawer op dit blog.
Uit: While Europe Slept
“Then came 9/11. Most Americans were quick to understand that they were at war and recognized the need for a firm response (though there was, and continues to be, much disagreement as to whether the response decided upon was the right one). Yet while most Western European countries participated in the invasion of Afghanistan and several helped topple Saddam, America’s forceful approach alienated opinion makers across the continent and opened up a philosophical gulf that sometimes seemed as wide as the Atlantic itself. Why was there such a striking difference in perspectives between the two halves of the democratic West? One reason was that the Western European establishment–the political, media, and academic elite that articulates what we think of as “European opinion”–tended to regard all international disputes as susceptible to peaceful resolution. It was therefore ill equipped to respond usefully to sustained violence by a fierce, uncompromising adversary. Another reason was Western Europe’s large immigrant communities, many of them led by fundamentalist Muslims who looked forward to the establishment in Europe of a caliphate governed according to sharia law–the law of the Koran–and who viewed Islamist terrorists as allies in a global jihad, or holy war, dedicated to that goal. A fear of inflaming minorities who took their lead from such extremists was one more reason to tread gently. Few European politicians had challenged this passivity. The Dutchman Pim Fortuyn had done so, and been murdered for it. Not even the March 2004 bombings in Madrid–“Europe’s 9/11”–had fully awakened Europe’s sleeping elite. True, not all European Muslims shared the terrorists’ goals and loyalties. Many, one gathered, were grateful to be living in democracies. Yet even they seemed hamstrung by the belief that loyalty to the umma (the worldwide Islamic community) overrode any civic obligations to their kaffir (infidel) neighbors. Hence most European Muslims responded passively to van Gogh’s murder. Few spoke up against the extremists in their midst. The pressure–rom without and within–to stick by their own was, it appeared, simply too overwhelming. And the potential price for betrayal was an end not unlike that dealt out to Theo van Gogh. “
Bruce Bawer (New York, 31 oktober 1956)
When I Have Fears
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;–then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
Sonnet V. To A Friend Who Sent Me Some Roses
As late I rambled in the happy fields,
What time the skylark shakes the tremulous dew
From his lush clover covert;—when anew
Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields;
I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
A fresh-blown musk-rose; ‘twas the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer: graceful it grew
As is the wand that Queen Titania wields.
And, as I feasted on its fragrancy,
I thought the garden-rose it far excelled;
But when, O Wells! thy roses came to me,
My sense with their deliciousness was spelled:
Soft voices had they, that with tender plea
Whispered of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquelled.
To A Cat
Cat! who has pass’d thy grand climacteric,
How many mice and rats hast in thy days
Destroy’d? How many tit-bits stolen? Gaze
With those bright languid segments green, and prick
Those velvet ears – but prythee do not stick
Thy latent talons in me – and tell me all thy frays,
Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick;
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists, –
For all the wheezy asthma – and for all
Thy tail’s tip is nick’d off – and though the fists
Of many a maid have given thee many a maul,
Still is thy fur as when the lists
In youth thou enter’dst on glass-bottled wall.
John Keats (31 oktober 1795 – 23 februari 1821)
Portrety door William Hilton, vóór 1839
De Braziliaanse dichter Carlos Drummond de Andrade werd geboren op 31 oktober 1902 in Itabira, een klein dorpje in de staat Minas Gerais. Zie ook alle tags voor Carlos Drummond de Andrade op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 31 oktober 2010
Souvenir Of The Ancient World
Clara strolled in the garden with the children.
The sky was green over the grass,
the water was golden under the bridges,
other elements were blue and rose and orange,
a policeman smiled, bicycles passed,
a girl stepped onto the lawn to catch a bird,
the whole world–Germany, China–
all was quiet around Clara.
The children looked at the sky: it was not forbidden.
Mouth, nose, eyes were open. There was no danger.
What Clara feared were the flu, the heat, the insects.
Clara feared missing the eleven o’clock trolley:
She waited for letters slow to arrive,
She couldn’t always wear a new dress. But she strolled in the garden,
in the morning!
They had gardens, they had mornings in those days!
Boy Crying In The Night
In the warm, humid night, noiseless and dead, a boy cries.
His crying behind the wall, the light behind the window
are lost in the shadow of muffled footsteps, of tired voices.
Yet the sound of medicine poured into a spoon can be heard.
A boy cries in the night, behind the wall, across the street,
far away a boy cries, in another city,
in another world, perhaps.
And I see the hand that lifts the spoon while the other holds the head,
and I see the slick thread run down the boy’s chin,
and slip into the street, only a thread, and slip through the city.
And nobody else in the world exists but that boy crying.
Quadrilha (Square Dance)
João loved Teresa who loved Raimundo
who loved Maria who loved Joaquim
who loved Lili
who loved nobody.
João left to the United States,
Teresa to a convent,
Raimundo died in a crash,
Maria became an old maid,
Joaquim killed himself and Lili married J. Fernandes Pinto
who hadn’t been in the story.
Carlos Drummond de Andrade (31 oktober 1902 – 17 augustus 1987)
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 31e oktober ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.