Dolce far niente, James Whitcomb Riley, Charles Reznikoff, François Cheng, Jiří Orten, Libuše Moníková, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Dolce far niente


Streets in Late August door Daniel Robbins, 2013



A day of torpor in the sullen heat
Of Summer’s passion: In the sluggish stream
The panting cattle lave their lazy feet,
With drowsy eyes, and dream.

Long since the winds have died, and in the sky
There lives no cloud to hint of Nature’s grief;
The sun glares ever like an evil eye,
And withers flower and leaf.

Upon the gleaming harvest-field remote
The thresher lies deserted, like some old
Dismantled galleon that hangs afloat
Upon a sea of gold.

The yearning cry of some bewildered bird
Above an empty nest, and truant boys
Along the river’s shady margin heard–
A harmony of noise–

A melody of wrangling voices blent
With liquid laughter, and with rippling calls
Of piping lips and thrilling echoes sent
To mimic waterfalls.

And through the hazy veil the atmosphere
Has draped about the gleaming face of Day,
The sifted glances of the sun appear
In splinterings of spray.

The dusty highway, like a cloud of dawn,
Trails o’er the hillside, and the passer-by,
A tired ghost in misty shroud, toils on
His journey to the sky.

And down across the valley’s drooping sweep,
Withdrawn to farthest limit of the glade,
The forest stands in silence, drinking deep
Its purple wine of shade.

The gossamer floats up on phantom wing;
The sailor-vision voyages the skies
And carries into chaos everything
That freights the weary eyes:

Till, throbbing on and on, the pulse of heat
Increases–reaches–passes fever’s height,
And Day sinks into slumber, cool and sweet,
Within the arms of Night.


James Whitcomb Riley (7 oktober 1849 – 22 juli 1916)
Greenfield, Indiana, de geboorteplaats van James Whitcomb Riley


De Amerikaanse dichter Charles Reznikoff werd op 30 augustus 1894 in New York geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2010 en alle alle tags voor Charles Reznikoff op dit blog.

A Son with a Future

When he was four years old, he stood at the window during a
thunderstorm. His father, a tailor, sat on the table sewing.
He came up to his father and said, “I know what makes
thunder: two clouds knock together.”
When he was older, he recited well-known rants at parties.
They all said that he would be a lawyer.
At law school he won a prize for an essay. Afterwards, he
became the chum of an only son of rich people. They
were said to think the world of the young lawyer.
The Appellate Division considered the matter of his disbarment.
His relatives heard rumours of embezzlement.

When a boy, to keep himself at school, he had worked in a
drug store.
Now he turned to this half-forgotten work, among perfumes
and pungent drugs, quiet after the hubble-bubble of the
courts and the search in law books.
He had just enough money to buy a drug store in a side
Influenza broke out. The old tailor was still keeping his shop
and sitting cross-legged on the table sewing, but he was
He, too, was taken sick. As he lay in bed he thought, “What a
lot of money doctors and druggists must be making; now
is my son’s chance.”
They did not tell him that his son was dead of influenza.

Charles Reznikoff (30 augustus 1894 – 22 januari 1976)
Een zomers dakterras in New York


De Chinees-Franse dichter, schrijver en vertaler François Cheng werd geboren op 30 augustus 1929 in Nanchang in China. Zie ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2010 en eveens alle tags voor François Cheng op dit blog.

Ame soeur

Ame soeur
Entends-tu ce qui
Vient de l’heure, ce qui
Vient du coeur, à l’heure
De l’abandon, à l’heure
Du crève-coeur,
Ce battement depuis
La naissance, déchirant
Les entrailles maternelles,
Déchirant l’écorce
Terrestre, ce battement
Qui cherche à se dire,
Qui cherche à se faire
Entendre, entends-tu
Ame soeur
Ce cri d’avant-vie, plein
D’une étranger nostsalgie,
De ce qui avait été
Rêvé, et comme à jamais
Vécu, matin de brume
D’un fleuve, nuage
Se découvrant feuillage,
Midi de feu d’un pré, pierre
Se dévoilant pivoine, toute
La terre embrasée, tout
Le ciel incandescent
En une seule promesse,
En une seule invite
Ne rate pas le divin
Ne rate pas le destin,
Entends-tu ce qui
Vient de la flamme
Du cœur, à l’heure
Du crève cœur, ce cri
Surgi un jour, à ton
Insu, en toi-même,
Le transparent, le transportant,
Le transfigurant, seul cri
Fidèle à l’âme en attente,
Ame sœur.

François Cheng (Nanchang, 30 augustus 1929)


De Tsjechische dichter Jiří Orten (eig.Jiří Ohrenstein) werd geboren op 30 augustus 1919 bij Kutná Hora. Zie ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Jiří Orten op dit blog en eveneens de tags voor J. Orten.

And Throw Your Clothes Away…

Things would become full of life again
and all the songs, time’s arias
would follow as before to sustain
things hidden within us

If someone just shed that heaviness
which has imprinted our touch
and finishes sewing the coat’s stitches
knowing now it doesn’t hurt much

Just not to pull it on the body
as you are used to in the frost
wearing long sleeves when February
has brought love that tends to exhaust

Feel a touch where the cloth has left it
where there is the bare skin lying
where there is no place for a jacket
(it is too large for the living)

Jiří Orten (30 augustus 1919 – 1 september 1941)


De Duitstalige, Tsjechische schrijfster Libuše Moníková werd geboren op 30 augustus 1945 in Praag. Zie ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Libuše Moníková op dit blog.

Uit: Eine Schädigung und Pavane für eine verstorbene Infantin

„Ich habe heute die Katze ausgesetzt. Ich habe sie an einem Waldrain, zum Feld hin, verlassen, ich rannte davon, damit sie mich nicht einholt. Es war der liebste Kater, den ich je hatte, er heulte und miaute und lief mir nach, ich habe ihn abgehängt. Danach Seitenstechen, und die Hüfte. Ich habe Katzen nie kastrieren lassen, ich habe sie vertragen, wenn sie zu träge, zu anhänglich wurden, sie sollen verwildern, Wühlmäuse fangen, notfalls auch Sperlinge falls
sie sie kriegen, sich mit anderen Katzen anlegen, vielleicht auch mit Füchsen. Er soll sich verlaufen.
Ein Film über die holländischen Geiseln, die zwölf Tage von den Molukkern im Zug festgehalten wurden, in Frost, Hunger, Todesangst. Nach der Freilassung besuchten viele von ihnen die Molukker im Gefängnis und setzten sich für ihre Forderungen ein.
Ein Mann geht seitdem regelmäßig mit seiner Frau zu ihren Festen und versucht, mit ihnen zu feiern. Andere haben es bis heute nicht überwunden, sie sind für Augenblicke immer noch Geiseln.
Ein fünfzigjähriger Zeitungsredakteur aus Groningen schildert die Strapazen, dann sagt er zu seiner Frau, die bei dem Interview neben ihm sitzt, daß es auch schön war. »Ich habe zwölf Tage lang nichts getan, wofür ich mich hätte schämen müssen.
Ich bereite mich für das Seminar am nächsten Tag vor.
Ich werde eine Karte der Stadt an die Wand projizieren und die wichtigsten Orte zeigen, die mit Kafkas Biographie und mit seinen Texten zusammenhängen: die wechselnden Wohnsitze der Familie, Kafkas Anstellungsstätten, seine gescheiterten Versuche, allein zu wohnen, die Wege, die er unternahm, um sich in der weiteren, tschechischen Umgebung auszukennen.
Er blieb in dem kleinen Stadtquadranten gefangen. Über seine Grenzen, im eigentlichen Sinne aus der Stadt, ist er nicht hinausgekommen; nur der letzte Ausflug glückte und endete in
Ich werde diesen Bereich auf dem Stadtplan markieren; ich werde über Kafkas Zugehörigkeiten mutmaßen.“

Libuše Moníková (30 augustus 1945 – 12 januari 1998)


De Engelse schrijfster Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley werd geboren op 30 augustus 1797 in Somers Town, London. Zie ook alle tags voor Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley op dit blog en ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2010.

Uit: Frankenstein

“Well, these are useless complaints; I shall certainly find no friend on the wide ocean, nor even here in Archangel, among merchants and seamen. Yet some feelings, unallied to the dross of human nature, beat even in these rugged bosoms. My lieutenant, for instance, is a man of wonderful courage and enterprise; he is madly desirous of glory, or rather, to word my phrase more characteristically, of advancement in his profession. He is an Englishman, and in the midst of national and professional prejudices, unsoftened by cultivation, retains some of the noblest endowments of humanity. I first became acquainted with him on board a whale vessel; finding that he was unemployed in this city, I easily engaged him to assist in my enterprise.
The master is a person of an excellent disposition and is remarkable in the ship for his gentleness and the mildness of his discipline. This circumstance, added to his well-known integrity and dauntless courage, made me very desirous to engage him. A youth passed in solitude, my best years spent under your gentle and feminine fosterage, has so refined the groundwork of my character that I cannot overcome an intense distaste to the usual brutality exercised on board ship: I have never believed it to be necessary, and when I heard of a mariner equally noted for his kindliness of heart and the respect and obedience paid to him by his crew, I felt myself peculiarly fortunate in being able to secure his services. I heard of him first in rather a romantic manner, from a lady who owes to him the happiness of her life. This, briefly, is his story. Some years ago he loved a young Russian lady of moderate fortune, and having amassed a considerable sum in prize-money, the father of the girl consented to the match. He saw his mistress once before the destined ceremony; but she was bathed in tears, and throwing herself at his feet, entreated him to spare her, confessing at the same time that she loved another, but that he was poor, and that her father would never consent to the union. My generous friend reassured the suppliant, and on being informed of the name of her lover, instantly abandoned his pursuit. He had already bought a farm with his money, on which he had designed to pass the remainder of his life; but he bestowed the whole on his rival, together with the remains of his prize-money to purchase stock, and then himself solicited the young woman’s father to consent to her marriage with her lover. But the old man decidedly refused, thinking himself bound in honour to my friend, who, when he found the father inexorable, quitted his country, nor returned until he heard that his former mistress was married according to her inclinations. “What a noble fellow!” you will exclaim. He is so; but then he is wholly uneducated: he is as silent as a Turk, and a kind of ignorant carelessness attends him, which, while it renders his conduct the more astonishing, detracts from the interest and sympathy which otherwise he would command.”

Mary Shelley (30 augustus 1797 – 1 februari 1851)
Scene uit het ballet “Frankenstein” van choreograaf Liam Scarlett, Londen, 2016


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 30e augustus ook mijn blog van 30 augustus 2016.