St. Peter and the Angel (Denise Levertov)

Bij de tweede zondag van de Advent


De bevrijding van de Heilige Petrus door Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1665 – 1667


St. Peter and the Angel

Delivered out of raw continual pain,
smell of darkness, groans of those others
to whom he was chained—

unchained, and led
past the sleepers,
door after door silently opening—
And along a long street’s
majestic emptiness under the moon:

one hand on the angel’s shoulder, one
feeling the air before him,
eyes open but fixed . . .

And not till he saw the angel had left him,
alone and free to resume
the ecstatic, dangerous, wearisome roads of
what he had still to do,
not till then did he recognize
this was no dream. More frightening
than arrest, than being chained to his warders:
he could hear his own footsteps suddenly.
Had the angel’s feet
made any sound? He could not recall.
No one had missed him, no one was in pursuit.
He himself must be
the key, now, to the next door,
the next terrors of freedom and joy.


Denise Levertov (24 oktober 1923 – 20 december 1997)
Valentines Park in Ilford, Essex, de geboorteplaats van Denise Levertov


Zie voor de schrijvers van de 10e december ook mijn twee vorige blogs van vandaag.

Emily Dickinson, Karl Heinrich Waggerl, Reinhard Kaiser Mühlecker, Jorge Semprún, Gertrud Kolmarm, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Nelly Sachs, Cornelia Funke

De Amerikaanse dichteres Emily Dickinson werd geboren op 10 december 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Zie ook alle tags voor Emily Dickinson op dit blog.

On the Paradox of Advent

The Infinite a sudden Guest
Has been assumed to be —
But how can that stupendous come
Which never went away?


The Savior must have been

The Savior must have been
A docile Gentleman—
To come so far so cold a Day
For little Fellowmen—

The Road to Bethlehem
Since He and I were Boys
Was leveled, but for that ‘twould be
A rugged Billion Miles—


Heaven is so far of the Mind

Heaven is so far of the Mind
That were the Mind dissolved –
The Site – of it – by Architect
Could not again be proved –

‘Tis vast – as our Capacity –
As fair – as our idea –
To Him of adequate desire
No further ’tis, than Here –

Emily Dickinson (10 december 1830 – 15 mei 1886)
De UMASS-campus in Amherst

Continue reading “Emily Dickinson, Karl Heinrich Waggerl, Reinhard Kaiser Mühlecker, Jorge Semprún, Gertrud Kolmarm, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Nelly Sachs, Cornelia Funke”

Carolyn Kizer, Pierre Louÿs, Clarice Lispector, Thomas Lux, Ara Baliozian, Christine Brückner, Rumer Godden

De Amerikaanse dichteres Carolyn Ashley Kizer werd geboren op 10 december 1925 in Spokane, Washington. Zie ook alle tags voor Carolyn Kizer op dit blog.

Where I’ve Been All My Life

Move to my room beside the Golden Horn
Where minarets strike fire against the sky.
The architecture: breasts and phalluses.
Where are the words to say that words are lies?
Yeats lied. And here Byzantium lies dead.
Constantinople? Syllables in a text.
Istanbul. Real. Embalmed in dancing dust.

Everywhere the dark-brown past gives way
To the beige of progress, that wide vacant lot.
Turkey without coffee! Endlessly we sip tea
From bud vases, and I lust for the guide,
A sultry, serious, pedantic boy
In a tight brown suit, thirsting to get out
Of the triple city weighing on his mind.

Oh, he was doomed, doomed like the dogs
On Dog Island, in the sea,
Netted and dumped and exiled, left to die,
Then skinned. We heard imaginary canine howls,
Like the rustlings of a thousand gauzy girls,
Film-eyed cattle, perishing of ennui
In abandoned harems where he guided me.

Meanwhile the Faithful, prostrate and intoning,
Stare into the light as blind as death,
Knowing for sure their end is instant Heaven.
We Infidels concede them Paradise,
Having seen heaven-as-harem, a eunuch God
In charge: the virgin slowly fattening to blubber.
Love, become feminized, tickles like a feather.

The saints of Art? Sophia, that vast barn
Holds no small Savior waiting to get born.
The formal scribble on the assaulted walls—
Five hundred years of crossing out His name!
Some famous, glittering pebbles mark the place
As God’s most grandiose sarcophagus.
Decay, decay. And the mind, a fetus, dies.

Carolyn Kizer (10 december 1925 – 9 oktober 2014)

Continue reading “Carolyn Kizer, Pierre Louÿs, Clarice Lispector, Thomas Lux, Ara Baliozian, Christine Brückner, Rumer Godden”

George MacDonald

De Schotse dichter en schrijver George MacDonald werd geboren op 10 december 1824 in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, Schotland als zoon van George Macdonald en Helen MacKay. Hij bezocht er de plattelandsscholen en vervolgens ging hij in 1840-41 en 1844-45 naar de universiteit van Aberdeen, waar hij scheikunde en natuurfilosofie studeerde. Vervolgens werkte hij drie jaar als tutor in Londen. Daarna volgde hij een theologische opleiding aan hett Independent College, Highbury. Hij werd predikant in Arundel in 1850, maar na drie onbevredigende jaren vond hij het nodig om ontslag te nemen. Hij werd predikant in Manchester; maar hij moest omwille van zijn gezonheid ook daar zijn werk neerleggen en vertrok naar Algiers. Toen hij terugkeerde naar Engeland had hij besloten om ​​professioneel schrijver te worden. Zijn gedicht “Within and Without” verscheen in 1855; “Poems” in 1857; en “Phantastes” in 1858. Zijn eerste echte succes kwam echter met zijn romans over het Schotse landleven, “David Elginbrod” (1862), “Alec Forbes” (1865) en “Robert Falconer: (1868). Hij raakte bevriend met Lady Byron, die hem later een erfenis naliet, en ontmoette Ruskin, Arnold, Carlyle, Tennyson, Ruskin en anderen. Hoewel zijn Schotse romans en zijn kinderboeken zoals “At the Back van de North Wind”, “The Princess and the Goblin” en “The Princess and Curdie” succesvol waren, was Macdonalds financiële rendement uit zijn werken niet toereikend om te voorzien in de behoeften van zijn vrouw en familie, en in 1877 werd hem op verzoek van koningin Victoria een pensioen toegekend. Toen zijn dochter in 1877 voor haar gezondheid naar Italië ging – een reis die in haar dood eindigde – vond Macdonald het klimaat zo gunstig voor zichzelf dat hij het grootste deel van elk jaar van 1881 tot 1902 doorbracht in Bordighera, in het huis hij had gebouwd met de hulp van vrienden, Casa Coraggio. Zijn vrouw werd daar organist van de katholieke kerk. De Macdonalds hadden zes zonen en vijf dochters. Een van de zonen, Greville Macdonald, werd later een schrijver. Hij is de auteur van de biografie van zijn vader.

The Old Garden

I stood in an ancient garden
With high red walls around ;
Over them grey and green lichens
In shadowy arabesque wound.

The topmost climbing blossoms
On fields kine-haunted looked out ;
But within were shelter and shadow,
With daintiest odours about.

There were alleys and lurking arbours,
Deep glooms into which to dive.
The lawns were as soft as fleeces,
Of daisies I counted but five.

The sun-dial was so aged
It had gathered a thoughtful grace ;
‘Twas the round-about of the shadow
That so had furrowed its face.

The flowers were all of the oldest
That ever in garden sprung ;
Red, and blood-red, and dark purple
The rose-lamps flaming hung.

Along the borders fringed
With broad thick edges of box
Stood foxgloves and gorgeous poppies
And great-eyed hollyhocks.

There were junipers trimmed into castles,
And ash-trees bowed into tents
For the garden, though ancient and pensive,
Still wore quaint ornaments.

It was all so stately fantastic
Its old wind hardly would stir ;
Young Spring, when she merrily entered,
Scarce felt it a place for her.


Love Is Strength

Love alone is great in might,
Makes the heavy burden light,
Smooths rough ways to weary feet,
Makes the bitter morsel sweet:
Love alone is strength!

Might that is not born of Love
Is not Might born from above,
Has its birthplace down below
Where they neither reap nor sow:
Love alone is strength!

Love is stronger than all force,
Is its own eternal source;
Might is always in decay,
Love grows fresher every day:
Love alone is strength!

Little ones, no ill can chance;
Fear ye not, but sing and dance;
Though the high-heaved heaven should fall
God is plenty for us all:
God is Love and Strength!


George MacDonald (10 december 1824 – 18 september 1905)