Uit: Darkness Visible
“I felt a kind of numbness, an enervation, but more particularly an odd fragility—as if my body had actually become frail, hypersensitive and somehow disjointed and clumsy, lacking normal coordination. And soon I was in the throes of a pervasive hypochondria. Nothing felt quite right with my corporeal self there were twitches and pains, sometimes intermittent, often seemingly constant, that seemed to presage all sorts of dire infirmities. (Given these signs, one can understand how, as far back as the seventeenth century-in the notes of contemporary physicians, and in the perceptions of John Dryden and others—a connection is made between melancholia and hypochondria; the words are often interchangeable, and so were used until the nineteenth century by writers as various as Sir Walter Scott and the Brontes, who also linked melancholy to a preoccupation with bodily ills.) It is easy to see how this condition is part of the psyche’s apparatus of defense: unwilling to accept its own gathering deterioration, the mind announces to its indwelling consciousness that it is the body with its perhaps correctable defects—not the precious and irreplaceable mind—that is going haywire. In my case, the overall effect was immensely disturbing, augmenting the anxiety that was by now never quite absent from my waking hours and fueling still another strange behavior pattern—a fidgety recklessness that kept me on the move, somewhat to the perplexity of my family and friends.
…By now I had moved back to my house in Connecticut. It was October, and one of the unforgettable features of this stage of my disorder was the way in which my own farmhouse, my beloved home for thirty years, took on for me at that point when my spirits regularly sank to their nadir an almost palpable quality of ominousness. The fading evening light—akin to that famous “slant of light” of Emily Dickinson’s, which spoke to her of death, of chill extinction—had none of its familiar autumnal loveliness, but ensnared me in a suffocating gloom. I wondered how this friendly place, teeming with such memories of (again in her words) “Lads and Girls,” of “laughter and ability and Sighing,/ And frocks and Curls,” could almost perceptibly seem so hostile and forbidding. Physically, I was not alone. As always Rose was present and listened with unflagging patience to my complaints. But I felt an immense and aching solitude. I could no longer concentrate during those afternoon hours, which for years had been my working time, and the act of writing itself, becoming more and more difficult and exhausting, stalled, then finally ceased.”
William Styron (11 juni 1925 – 1 november 2006)
Uit: The Girl With Nine Wigs (Vertaald door Charlotte Caroline Jongejan)
« He calmly acknowledges me as I stand up. A teenager. I can practically see the thought forming in his mind as he looks at me. But to me he looks like a dream: handsome face, nice hands, fortysomething. Finally, my Grey’s Anatomy fantasy is becoming a reality. Who knew that a hospital would turn out to be a great place for a single girl like me? I abandon my mom in the waiting room and follow him, gingerly, down the hall.
As my details are taken down for what feels like the hundredth time — amid all these technologically advanced supermachines, they still can’t keep track of my records — I take advantage of this time and study Dr. McDreamy more closely. His nametag says DR. K, PULMONARY SPECIALIST. I’m guessing early forties. Charming, handsome, and smart: a playboy or happily married in the suburbs? Or maybe both? Better Google him later. A white coat can be misleading, but shoes never lie. Brogues, black leather. Hmm. … Not bad, not great either. Not much to go on, but given his age I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt.
He tells me to take a seat and asks me to lift up my top. I’m allowed to keep on my bra. He places a cold metal stethoscope against my chest, and then on my back.
He listens, I sigh.
I sigh, he listens.
I listen, he sighs.
“Something isn’t quite right,” he says. His words don’t scare me. In fact, I’m even a bit relieved. It’s been blatantly clear for a long time that something’s wrong; finally, someone else is catching on. Handsome and smart. Dr. K might be the answer to this Kafkaesque hospital. At last I’ll get a diagnosis, some pills in a jar, and back to normal life.”
Sophie van der Stap (Amsterdam, 11 juni 1983)
Ballade van die Nagtelike Ure
Ons liefde het uitgeblom
tussen elfuur en kwart oor twee –
hier sit ek onder die dagbreek
half-nugter en verlee
op koel stoeptreetjies êrens
waar ek ’n blink waterkraan sien
in die ure van die donker dors
tussen twaalfuur en smôrens om tien.
Om elfuur was jou liggaam
die honger en dors in my,
as jou skewe papier-kalot
ver deur die danssaal gly.
Om twaalfuur was jy ’n ligte brug,
’n hoë, gevaarlike gang
bo my klein verwildering
tussen pyn en sterwe gehang.
Om eenuur was jou hare
vir my vingers ’n bose strik,
en jou lyf soos swart still water
en jou asem soos ’n snik.
En nou het die môre my
oor die rand van sy glas gemors
op die stoep by die kraan wat blink
in die uur van die donker dors.
N. P. van Wyk Louw (11 juni 1906 – 18 juni 1970)
I have ruined my heart
I have ruined my heart, devastated my soul
And a beggar of love is what I am today:
The memories, like filthy vermin, take their toll,
Gnaw at me in the implacable face of day.
I have ruined my heart, devastated my soul
And of fate, I implore shamefully, without cease,
A reflection of your eyes: a divine caprice;
O fugitive form, perfumed pallor that hovers
So prodigal, so abundant among lovers!
I have looked endlessly for your gaze in strange eyes,
I have searched for your kiss on ephemeral lips;
Like a vine in the orchard, flushed by the sun’s rise,
Floating on Bacchic laughter which rises and dips,
I have looked endlessly for your gaze in strange eyes
Without freeing my heart from your harsh caresses.
And thus, like the sighing of plaintive mistresses
Who weep at night for a summer without return,
In laments I hear echos of love-words which yearn.
O form so fugitive, O pallor so perfumed,
Inconstant sweetness which destiny sought to cease,
Abundant and prodigal lover who once bloomed,
I have lost your sweet smile to the divine caprice;
O form so fugitive, O pallor so perfumed,
You have turned me to a beggar of love today
Exposed in the implacable face of the day
The stark grief of wretched misery takes its toll…
I have ruined my heart, devastated my soul.
Renée Vivien (11 juni 1877 – 10 november 1909)
“— Quel âge ça lui fera maintenant, à l’Ours-Lion ? Ils se carrent, prennent leur souffle, prennent leur distance. La buire de terre garde le café à portée de flammes, au fond de l’âtre. Le velours des pantalons roucoule. Un genou craque. Sous la table, Flambeau aboie trois fois, drôlement : jappe-ments plaintifs, courts, suivis, chacun, d’un grondement étouffé. Flambeau rêve, les hommes sourient. Le sanglier est suspendu par les pattes do derrière dans la casetta 1, avec deux charges de chevrotines dans le corps. La première, dans le museau, l’a retourné. La deuxième, dans le coeur, l’a roulé sur la pente du maquis, de bruyères en rochers, jusqu’au buisson de lentisques où il a fini la course de sa vie. Il était trop tard quand les chasseurs l’ont remonté du fleuve. Ce sera demain, à l’aube, la fête du dépeçage, de la charcuterie, et les enfants pourront jouer au ballon avec les poumons. Dolinda lave les assiettes sur la pierre du coin noir et, parfois, son coude fait tinter les seaux. Dom Petru sort. La lune flatte la casetta. En salut, Dom Petru s’étire puis bâille, avec des variations. Les montagnes sont en étain. A leur pied, deux collines forment hausse. On peut viser la mer, la mer, jour et nuit couleur de ciel, la mer, coup de faux dans les étoiles. Demain il fera clair. On verra là-bas l’île d’Elbe, l’île Pianosa, l’île de Monte Cristo, on devinera la côte italienne. Dom Petru ramasse un moignon d’olivier et il entre : — Demain, il fera beau. Avant qu’il ait refermé la porte,”
Jean-Pierre Chabrol (11 juni 1925 – 1 december 2001)
An Ode To Himself
Where dost thou careless lie,
Buried in ease and sloth?
Knowledge that sleeps doth die;
And this security,
It is the common moth
That eats on wits and arts, and oft destroys them both.
Are all th’ Aonian springs
Dried up? lies Thespia waste?
Doth Clarius’ harp want strings,
That not a nymph now sings?
Or droop they as disgrac’d,
To see their seats and bowers by chatt’ring pies defac’d?
If hence thy silence be,
As ‘tis too just a cause,
Let this thought quicken thee:
Minds that are great and free
Should not on fortune pause;
‘Tis crown enough to virtue still, her own applause.
What though the greedy fry
Be taken with false baites
Of worded balladry,
And think it poesy?
They die with their conceits,
And only piteous scorn upon their folly waits.
Then take in hand thy lyre,
Strike in thy proper strain,
With Japhet’s line aspire
Sol’s chariot for new fire,
To give the world again;
Who aided him will thee, the issue of Jove’s brain.
And since our dainty age
Cannot endure reproof,
Make not thyself a page
To that strumpet, the stage,
But sing high and aloof,
Safe from the wolf’s black jaw and the dull ass’s hoof.
Ben Jonson (ca. 11 juni 1572 – 6 augustus 1637)
Naar een portret van Abraham van Blijenberch, ca. 1617
Uit: Snow Country (Vertaald door Edward Seidensticker)
“In any case, he had revised his view of her, and he had found, surprisingly, that her being a geisha made it even more difficult for him to be free and open with her.
Dead-drunk that night, she had savagely bitten her half-paralyzed arm in a ɹt of irritation at its recalcitrance. “What’s the matter with you? Damn you, damn you. Lazy, worthless.
What’s the matter with you?”
And, unable to stand, she had rolled from side to side. “I’ll never have any regrets. But I’m not that sort of woman. I’m not that sort of woman.”
“The midnight for Tokyo.” The woman seemed to sense his hesitation, and she spoke as if to push iaway. At the sound of the train whistle she stood up. Roughly throwing open a paper-paneled door and the window behind it, she sat down on the sill with her body thrown back against the railing. The train moved oʃ into the distance, its echo fading into a sound as of the night wind. Cold air flooded the room.
“Have you lost your mind?” Shimamura too went over to the window. The air was still, without a suggestion of wind.
It was a stern night landscape. The sound of the freezing of snow over the land seemed to roar deep into the earth. There was no moon. The stars, almost too many of them to be true, came forward so brightly that it was as if they were falling with the swiftness of the void. As the stars came nearer, the sky retreated deeper and deeper into the night color. The layers of the Border Range, indistinguishable one from another, cast their heaviness at the skirt of the starry sky in a blackness grave and somber enough to communicate their mass. The whole of the night scene came together in a clear, tranquil harmony.
As she sensed Shimamura’s approach, the woman fell over with her breast against the railing. There was no hint of weakness in the pose. Rather, against the night, it was the strongest and most stubborn she could have taken. So we have to go through that again, thought Shimamura.
Black though the mountains were, they seemed at that moment brilliant with the color of the snow. They seemed to him somehow transparent, somehow lonely. The harmonybetween sky and mountains was lost.“
Yasunari Kawabata (11 juni 1899 — 16 april 1972)
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 11e juni ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.