Adventures in New Testament Greek: Nous
You could almost think the word synonymous
with mind, given our so far narrow
history, and the excessive esteem
in which we have been led to hold what is,
in this case, our rightly designated
nervous systems. Little wonder then
that some presume the mind itself both part
and parcel of the person, the very seat
of soul and, lately, crucible for a host
of chemical incentives—combinations
of which can pretty much answer for most
of our habits and for our affections.
When even the handy lexicon cannot
quite place the nous as anything beyond
one rustic ancestor of reason, you might
be satisfied to trouble the odd term
no further—and so would fail to find
your way to it, most fruitful faculty
untried. Dormant in its roaring cave,
the heart’s intellective aptitude grows dim,
unless you find a way to wake it. So,
let’s try something, even now. Even as
you tend these lines, attend for a moment
to your breath as you draw it in: regard
the breath’s cool descent, a stream from mouth
to throat to the furnace of the heart.
Observe that queer, cool confluence of breath
and blood, and do your thinking there.
For near is where you’ll meet what you have wandered
far to find. And near is where you’ll very likely see
how far the near obtains. In the dark katholikon
the lighted candles lent their gold to give the eye
a more than common sense of what lay flickering
just beyond the ken, and lent the mind a likely
swoon just shy of apprehension. It was then
that time’s neat artifice fell in and made for us
a figure for when time would slip free altogether.
I have no sense of what this means to you, so little
sense of what to make of it myself, save one lit glimpse
of how we live and move, a more expansive sense in Whom.
Scott Cairns (Tacoma, 19 november 1954)
The Daughter Goes To Camp
In the taxi alone, home from the airport,
I could not believe you were gone. My palm kept
creeping over the smooth plastic
to find your strong meaty little hand and
squeeze it, find your narrow thigh in the
noble ribbing of the corduroy,
straight and regular as anything in nature, to
find the slack cool cheek of a
child in the heat of a summer morning—
nothing, nothing, waves of bawling
hitting me in hot flashes like some
change of life, some boiling wave
rising in me toward your body, toward
where it should have been on the seat, your
brow curved like a cereal bowl, your
eyes dark with massed crystals like the
magnified scales of a butterfly’s wing, the
delicate feelers of your limp hair,
floods of blood rising in my face as I
tried to reassemble the hot
gritty molecules in the car, to
make you appear like a holograph
on the back seat, pull you out of nothing
as I once did—but you were really gone,
the cab glossy as a slit caul out of
which you had slipped, the air glittering
electric with escape as it does in the room at a birth.
A week after my father died,
suddenly I understood
his fondness for me was safe—nothing
could touch it. In that last year,
his face sometimes brightened when I entered the room,
and his wife said that once when he was half asleep
he smiled when she said my name. He respected
my spunk—when they had tied me to the chair, that time,
they were tying up someone he respected, and when
he did not speak for weeks I was one of the
beings to whom he was not speaking,
someone with a place in his life. The last
week he even said it, once,
by mistake. I walked into his room and said
“How are you,” and he said, “I love you
too.” From then on, I had
that word to lose. Right up to the last
day, I could make some mistake, offend him, and with
one of his old mouths of disgust he could
re-skew my life. I did not think of it much,
I was busy wiping his face and holding
his cup and touching his shoulder.
But then, a while after he died,
I suddenly thought, with amazement, he will always
love me now, and I laughed—he was dead, dead!
Sharon Olds (San Francisco, 19 november 1942)
Uit: Bang the Drum Slowly
“No doubt you have got a roomie for company,” said I. “Oh yes,” said she, “but she is on a flight to Mexico City,” and she yawned, and I started telling myself it was insane to go on in a snowstorm, besides which what could I do when I got there and how much more sense it would make to get there in the morning fresh as a daisy, and on and on. But then I said to myself, “Henry, what a louse you are with a wife 3 months pregnant that you kissed goodby not 7 hours ago!” “I have got to make a couple phone calls,” I said. I called Goose Williams. I could not of sold Goose anything, and I knew it, but if I didn’t at least try I wouldn’t of had the nerve to list the trip deductible. He used to hate me. His wife said he went out for a loaf of bread Sunday and was never seen since. “I do not know which is worse,” she said, “having Harold home or having him away.” “I wish to speak to him concerning insurance matters,” I said. “Harold already cashed in all his insurance,” she said. “He should not of done that,” said I. “Harold should not of done a lot of things,” she said, “and a lot more things he should of done he never quite tended to. Tell me, Henry,” she said, “is Harold at the end of the trail?” I could not get used to her calling him “Harold.” “Goose?” said I. “At the end of the trail? That is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of.” “Tell me the truth,” she said. “He is at the end of the trail. He has not got as much as one full season left in him. He has got only his wife and his debts and his children, and all of them a pain and a burden to him,” and I held the telephone away from my ear and looked out through the glass at the stewardess. She was twisted around on the stool, studying the seams of her stockings. “He will be 35 come August,” she said. The stewardess twisted her body first one way and then the other, and I said to myself, “It is true that you have got a wife back home, but it is also true that you only live once, and furthermore she practically as much as invited you up.” “I wish you was Harold,” she said, “and Harold was you. How old are you, Henry?” I do not even think I answered. She begun crying a little, and I easied the phone back on the hook and slid the door open and started out. But right away I got these further pictures of Holly back home worrying about me and probably following me on the clock and no doubt picturing me rushing in one plane and out the other, and I quick closed the door again and called Joe Jaros and spoke to his wife.”
Mark Harris (19 november 1922 – 30 mei 2007)
Scene uit een theateropvoering in Arlington, Virginia, 2014
De trein rolt op de zwarte bol der aarde
o, angst-versnelling van mijn hartstocht
in de afgrond naar God.
De gloeiende veeg van mijn vinger,
fosforisch op de blauwe glaswand van een nacht;
het grauw geraas van een levenslot
aan de duistere bocht
van een dennenbos waar God mij wacht.
O, gij daverend hart der machien,
en uw God-verloren vlucht,
O, gij kreunende jacht van wiel na wiel,
gij, gij, wroegende zucht
die uit de schoorsteen viel;
en de lange, angstige glijding der sporen
die achter de aarde reeds het gerucht
van de verre trein doen horen.
De nacht-trein die gilt en loeit.
Maar, de nacht-trein gloeit:
traan van Laurentius in augustus-nacht,
glimworm in een ver veld,
die onder de blauwe nacht-boog snelt.
De nacht-trein zit vol mensen
die dromen, waken, denken, wensen
en vooral met pijn iets verwachten:
zij rijden dagen, weken, nachten
op de brandzwarte bol der aarde.
– Is God nog ver? –
zo denkt een somber man
die uit het raampje staarde
naar maan en ster.
Karel van den Oever (19 november 1879 – 6 oktober 1926)
Uit: Logik der Wolken
„Mehlschwalben häckseln und schneiden die goldfädig blaue Morgenluft. Scharen von Pappelsamen steigen auf vom Fluss, ziehen über die Dächer und fahren dann durcheinander wie leichtes Schneegestöber bei Sonne. Der bewaldete Hügel mit Sonnenkorona, gelbsprühende Baumkronen.
In einem großartigen Gewitter auf dem Hügel angekommen; riesige bleiche Risse durch dunkle Fladen, und ein Brummen von himmelhohen Bären. Regen, ungestümer Regen, scharfer Regen, darin die Mauersegler im Kreis flatterten, von Donnern umgerührt.
Dicker sumpfiger Nebel, darin Regen fließt. Während der Nacht einer Nachtigall zugehört, ein ungeübter Gesang ohne die großen Triller, war ein Naturtalent ohne Ausbildung. Dieser schwellende Regen, kalt und hart, in den Rinnen röchelt es, Regenrinnen aus Aluminium
machen mehr Geräusche.
Noch immer Nebel, darin Regenkompositionen mit erregt rufender Goldammer auf dem Leitungsdraht. Seit zweieinhalb Tagen nun Nebel, fett und unlöslich; dass da draußen was lebt ist nur durch Vogelstimmen angedeutet.
Das Tal eingefettet, dick bestrichen, hier oben ist es nun hell mit schrundigen Wolken auf Laschblau“.
Christoph Wilhelm Aigner (Wels, 18 november 1954)
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 19e november ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.