Dolce far niente, Ingo Baumgartner, Colin Channer, Jeet Thayil, Herman Franke, Richard Howard

Dolce far niente


Golden Autumn door Alfred East, 1904


Goldener Vorhang

Ein Vorhang zaudert sich zu heben,
er selbst ist Bühne schönster Art.
Der Birke goldner Hängebart
will sich mit Buchenlaub verweben.
Die Feuertulpenbäume geben
ein Schauspiel vor, das  Augen narrt.

Das Blattwerk fällt im Rieselregen,
der Blick zum Szenenbrett wird frei.
Der Landschaft wahres Konterfei
erscheint, blickt überrascht verlegen
dem Wandrerpublikum entgegen.
Die Matinee schließt knapp nach drei.


Ingo Baumgartner (Oberndorf an der Salzach, 24 december 1944)
Oberndorf an der Salzach, de geboorteplaats van Ingo Baumgartner


De Jamaicaanse schrijver Colin Channer werd geboren op 13 oktober 1963 in Kingston. Zie ook alle tags voor Colin Channer op dit blog.


Later, as I pinch out
contact lenses, my own voice comes blah-blah-ing
from behind the mirror mounted
to the bathroom wall.

I smile at Mr. Silly’s talents,
how he switches accents
from Liberian to mine,
hacking vowels,
pitching consonants
precisely in the mouth,
beginning now another improv,

Phone calls from police headquarters
in Gbarnga, begging Kingston
for assistance, tips for getting info
out of infants who
despite receiving torture
still refuse to talk.

In my bed, on light cotton,
ceiling fan on slow,
I miscue the iPod in the dock.
Callas, not Lee Perry, comes on.
In my head I talk to Maki
and myself.

The confessors are clan
to killers on an island
I know. Same nose,
same eyes, same trail of razor
bumping on the shine-
clean cheeks.’ he nicknames
from the news and movies.
Rambo, bin Laden.
The loafers, designer jeans
and polo shirts worn loose.
How they discuss a slaughter
with ease, by rote,
never as something spectacular,
absurd. And I belong to them,
on two sides, for generations,
by blood.

My kinsmen aren’t poets.
They’re cops.

Colin Channer (Kingston, 13 oktober 1963)


De Indiase dichter, schrijver, librettist en muzikant Jeet Thayil werd geboren op 13 oktober 1959 in Kerala. Zie ook alle tags voor Jeet Thavil op dit blog.


At 48, the youngest
director in the history of the Civil
Center for Falconry,
Universal Understanding & Aesthetic
he published The Spiritual Uses of Oneiric
Travel. It was wartime,
but there’s little trace of conflict
in this odd and beautiful collection
of travel jottings, doodles, and rhyme.
“Everywhere in the old city
there was dread,
a sense of ancient
of inebriated spirits taking the dead,
imperial government
to task, while its citizenry
and civil
servants slept.”
In subsequent decades, he refined his view
of history as the art of the impassable.
He wrote that his goal had been
to be wholly adept
at transference, “a bridge between
thought and its correct
When the government fell he lost his new
stipend, a palpable
loss, and he went home to die.
It was his last
act of secular defiance.
Varanasi, inauspicious
in the new theology, was a dry
tiered place of souls
whose chance on earth had passed,
who concerned themselves
with “a wider world, a suspicious
a secure context for the cosmic dance,
a swift descent, a dangerous old age.”

Jeet Thayil (Kerala, 13 oktober 1959)


De Nederlandse schrijver Herman Franke werd geboren op 13 oktober 1948 in Groningen. Zie ook alle tags voor Herman Franke op dit blog.

Uit: De verbeelding

“Ze was nog maar net teruggekeerd uit Napels of ze zocht hem op in zijn nieuwe atelier in Hampstead. Daar stond ze na negen jaar afwezigheid, zijn divine lady, de vrouw met het expressiefste gezicht dat hij ooit had gezien. Hij dacht dat ze een kokette grap maakte toen ze met haar liefste stem vroeg of hij haar wilde portretteren ‘zoals de natuur me gemaakt heeft’. Honderden keren had hij haar geschetst en geschilderd voor haar vertrek naar Italië, maar naakt poseren wilde ze nooit. ‘Mijn beste Romney, dat bewaar ik voor het oog van de liefde,’ was haar vaste antwoord als hij haar op een warme lentedag, of juist midden in een koude winter, toch weer probeerde over te halen, omdat kunst niet van verboden houdt. Maar nu, getrouwd en wel met de Britse oud-ambassadeur in het koninkrijk Napels, lachte ze hem ontwapenend toe en hield haar hoofd smekend schuin toen hij weigerde op haar verzoek in te gaan omdat hij zich te moe voelde en al maanden niets meer gedaan had. Bovendien verlangde ze van het origineel een miniatuur. Ook als hij de tempera-techniek die daarvoor nodig is goed beheerste, zou hij er met zijn onzeker wordende handen niet aan durven beginnen. Vroeger had hij ze wel eens gemaakt met jonge, rustige vingers. Vooral verliefden waren gek op die ovale miniaturen. Ze verwerkten ze in een armband of in een halsketting. Mannen droegen ze op hun hart.van mensen op ware grootte en zelfs daar deinsde hij nu voor terug.
‘Lieve Emma, kijk naar me. Grijs en gerimpeld ben ik. Heb ik het oog van de liefde?’ zei hij.
‘Ach kom, mijn beste vriend, in uw ogen zit meer liefde dan in die van uw jongste collega’s. En u weet het toch? Wijs nooit een mooie vrouw af, want ze zal u altijd haten,’ antwoordde ze en pakte liefdevol zijn arm vast. Hij moest zich beheersen en dat deed pijn, als vanouds. Bij andere vrouwen voelde hij die pijn nooit of hij bracht de beheersing gewoon niet op en omhelsde hen, waartegen ze niet durfden te protesteren. Van kunstenaars tolereerden vrouwen veel meer dan van andere mannen en meer dan ze tolereerden wilde hij niet van ze. Maar Emma had altijd het beest in hem losgemaakt; het beest dat gekooid moest blijven. En dat deed pijn.” Bij de details ging het om precisiewerk waarbij je een loep moest gebruiken. Hij was geen miniaturist, hij was een schilder

Herman Franke (13 oktober 1946 – 14 augustus 2010)


De Amerikaanse dichter, literair criticus, essayist en vertaler Richard Joseph Howard werd geboren op 13 oktober 1929 in Cleveland, Ohio. Zie ook alle tags voor Richard Howard op dit blog.

Elementary Principles at Seventy-Two

When we consider the stars
(what else can we do with them?) and even
recognize among them sidereal

father-figures (it was our
consideration that arranged them so),
they will always outshine us, for we change.

When we behold the water
(which cannot be held, for it keeps turning
into itself), that is how we would move—

but water overruns us.
And when we aspire to be clad in fire
(for who would not put on such apparel?)

the flames only pass us by—
it is a way they have of passing through.
But earth is another matter. Ask earth

to take us, the last mother—
one womb we may reassume. Yes indeed,
we can have the earth. Earth will have us.


Compulsive Qualifications
for Stewart Lindh

“Richard, May I Ask A Question? What Is An Episteme?”

A body of knowledge. As I know best now,
Regarding yours across the abyss between
That chair and this one,
My ignorance the kind of bliss unlikely
To bridge the furniture without a struggle,
A scene—mad or bad Or just gauche.
The known body is Greek to me,
Though I am said to have conspicuous gifts
As a translator.
More likely the Bible is the right version:
All knowledge was probably gained at first hand
And second nature;
To know the Lord was to be flesh of His flesh.
There was a God, but He has been dismembered;
We are the pieces.

Richard Howard (Cleveland, 13 oktober 1929)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 13e oktober ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.

Sebastian Fitzek, Migjeni, Arna Wendell Bontemps, Conrad Richter, Edwina Currie

De Duitse schrijver en journalist Sebastian David Fitzek werd geboren op 13 oktober 1971 in Berlijn. Zie ook alle tags voor Sebastian Fitzek op dit blog.

Uit: Die Therapie

“Das Hinweisschild an der weißen, lederverkleideten Tür zum Behandlungsraum des Allergologen verschwamm vor seinen Augen. Dr. Grohlke war ein Freund der Familie und Arzt Nummer zweiundzwanzig. Viktor Larenz hatte eine Strich-liste angelegt. Die einundzwanzig Ärzte zuvor hatten nichts finden können. Gar nichts. Der Erst; ein Notarzt, war am zweiten Weihnachtsfeiertag auf das Familienanwesen nach Schwanenwerder gekommen. Auf den Tag genau vor elf Monaten. Erst glaubten sie alle, Josephine hätte sich nur an dem Festtags-Fondue den Magen verdorben. Sie hatte sich in der Nacht mehrfach übergeben und dann Durchfall bekommen. Seine Frau Isabell verständigte den privatärztlichen Notdienst, und Viktor trug Josy in ihrem feinen Batistnachthemd nach unten ins Wohnzimmer. Noch heute spürte er ihre dünnen Ärmchen, wenn er daran dachte. Das eine Hilfe suchend um seinen Hals gelegt, mit dem anderen ihr Lieblingsstofftier, die blaue Katze Nepomuk, fest umklammernd. Unter den strengen Blicken der anwesenden Verwandten hatte der Arzt den schmalen Brustkorb des Mädchens abgehört, ihr eine Elektrolyt-Infusion gegeben und ein homöopathisches Mittel verschrieben. »Ein kleiner Magen-Darm-Infekt. So was grassiert gerade in der Stadt. Aber keine Sorge! Alles wird gut«, waren die Worte gewesen, mit denen sich der Notarzt verabschiedete. Alles wird gut. Der Mann hatte gelogen.
Viktor stand direkt vor Dr. Grohlkes Behandlungszimmer. Als er die schwere Tür öffnen wollte, konnte er noch nicht einmal die Klinke runterdrücken. Erst dachte er, die Anspannung der letzten Stunden hätte ihm selbst dafür die Kraft geraubt. Dann wurde ihm klar, dass die Tür verschlossen war. Jemand hatte von innen einen Riegel vorgelegt. Was geht hier vor? Er drehte sich abrupt um und hatte das Gefühl, seine Umgebung wie in einem Daumenkino zu betrachten. Alles, was er sah, erreichte zeitversetzt und in ruckartigen Bildern sein Gehirn: die irischen Landschaftsaufnahmen an den Praxiswänden, der verstaubte Gummibaum in der Fensternische, die Dame mit der Schuppenflechte auf dem Stuhl. Larenz rüttelte ein letztes Mal an der Tür und schleppte sich dann durchs Wartezimmer auf den Gang hinaus.”

Sebastian Fitzek (Berlijn, 13 oktober 1971)


De Albanese dichter Migjeni (eigen. Millosh Gjergj Nikolla) werd geboren op 13 oktober 1911 in Shkodra. Zie ook alle tags voor Migjeni op dit blog.

Poem Of Poverty (Fragment)

Poverty labours and toils by day and night,
Chest and forehead drenched in sweat,
Up to the knees in mud and slime,
And still the empty guts writhe in hunger.
Starvation wages! For such a daily ordeal,
A mere three or four leks and an ‘On your way.’

Poverty sometimes paints its face,
Swollen lips scarlet, hollow cheeks rouged,
And body a chattel in a filthy trade.
For service in bed for which it is paid
With a few lousy francs,
Stained sheets, stained face and stained conscience.

Poverty leaves a heritage as well,
Not cash in the bank or property you can sell,
But distorted bones and pains in the chest,
Perhaps leaves the memory of a bygone day
When the roof of the house, weakened by decay,
By age and the weather collapsed and fell,
And above all the din rose a terrible cry
Cursing and imploring, as from the depths of hell,
The voice of a man crushed by a beam.
Under the heel, says the priest, of a god irate
Ends thus the life of a dissolute ingrate.
And so the memory of such misfortunes
Fills the cup of bitterness passed to generations.


Vertaald door Robert Elsie

Migjeni (13 oktober 1911 – 26 augustus 1938)


De Amerikaanse dichter en schrijver Arna Wendell Bontemps werd geboren op 13 oktober 1902 in Alexandria in Louisiana. Zie ook alle tags voor Arna Wendell Bontemps op dit blog.

Uit: Arna Bontemps-Langston Hughes Letters, 1925-1967

“February 5, 1947
Dear Lang:
Billy Haygood is anxious to spend part of the coming summer at Yaddo working on the book which Doubleday, Doran and Company commissioned: a novel reflecting some aspects of his own experience. I cannot sponsor him very gracefully, since he has written a beautiful note in my behalf and it would almost look as if we were scratching each others back. However, he wondered if I would ask you to say a word in his behalf. I assured him that I would and that I thought you would be only too happy. If so, will you tell him that you have written.
I am still singing the praises of STREET SCENE. You are in clover for life. Now that you are rich, but of course not haughty, perhaps we can think a little more about the poor man’s profession of poetry. I mentioned the anthology to Buck Moon in New York, and he sprang at the idea. Of course, I did not commit us in any way, but unless Knopf comes through to our satisfaction, we can be sure that Doubleday is willing. Buck talked about a large volume, perhaps selling for $5 in the original edition and being reissued later in a more modest-priced reprint if that is desired. He is suppose4to write me further about his idea. I suggest that if he wants the item on the Doubleday list that he simply make us an offer out of the clear, unrelated to any conversations which he and I may have had.
How does it feel to be a Professor of English?

Arna Wendell Bontemps (13 oktober 1902 – 4 juni 1973)


De Amerikaanse schrijver Conrad Richter werd geboren op 13 oktober 1890 in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania. Zie ook alle tags voor Conrad Richter op dit blog.

Uit: The Light in the Forest

“I gave talking paper that I bring him,” he told the white guards. “Now he belong to you.”
It was all over then, the boy knew. He was as good as dead and lay among the other captives with his face down. He was sure that his father had stayed. He could feel his presence and smell the sweet inner bark of the red willow mixed with the dried sumach leaves of his pipe. When dusk fell, a white guard came up. The other soldiers called him Del, perhaps because he could talk Delaware, the strange name the whites gave the Lenni Lenape and their languages. True Son heard Del tell his father that all Indians must be out of the camp by nightfall. From the sounds the boy guessed his father was knocking out his pipe and putting it away. Then he knew he had risen and was standing over him.
“Now go like an Indian, True Son,” he said in a low, stern voice. “Give me no more shame.”
He left almost at once and the boy heard his footsteps in the leaves. The rustling sound grew farther and farther away. When he sat up, his father was gone. But never before or since was the place his father was going back to so clear and beautiful in the boy’s mind. He could see the great oaks and shiver-bark hickories standing over the village in the autumn dusk, the smoke rising from the double row of cabins with the street between, and the shining, white reflection of the sky in the Tuscarawas beyond. Fallen red, brown and golden leaves lay over roofs and bushes, street and forest floor. Tramping through them could be made out the friendly forms of those he knew, warriors and hunters, squaws, and the boys, dogs and girls he had played with. Through the open door of his father’s cabin shone the warm red fire with his mother and sisters over it, for this was the beginning of the Month of the First Snow, November. Near the fire heavy bark had been strewn on the ground, and on it lay his familiar bed and the old worn half-grown bearskin he pulled over himself at night. Homesickness overwhelmed him, and he sat there and wept.”


Conrad Richter (13 oktober 1890 – 30 oktober 1968) 


De Britse romanschrijfster en gewezen politica Edwina Currie werd geboren in Liverpool op 13 oktober 1946.Zie ook alle tags voor Edwina Currie op dit blog.

Uit: Diaries

“For a long time it made me stop loving Ray — or maybe the contrast was just too stark? Maybe my innate dissatisfaction was surfacing anyway, and if it hadn’t been B, it might have been someone else, someone more aggressive and less concerned at breaking up a marriage? Since the spring, when I decided the liaison with B was too dangerous, I’ve made a much bigger effort at home, and I think that helps. I suspect I did a lot of snapping at everyone before, and was resentful and rude. Certainly Ray seems more relaxed and has stopped job hunting and is more affectionate and friendly. We’ve also agreed to spend (borrow) rather a lot of money to improve Tower House, which will make it more comfortable and roomy and leave me more content. But oh, as I sit here in the flat, B is here too — in spirit! — and I wish I knew he would be knocking on the door in ten minutes, I would not have tears dripping gently off my nose right now. Debbie’s smoking ended up on the front page of The Sun. Unfortunately she appears to enjoy the notoriety and was seen on television waving and giggling at the cameras. I’m really very angry with the school. Then Today came around to Tower House and photographed the swimming pool, etc. — apart from worries about security, it makes us look like plutocrats, though I’m sure our little flat in Victoria is worth more. The Today man came back to the house this morning and wanted to know if Debbie was home. I shut the door in his face. I’m cross about the fact that every speech I make is crawled over by officials, then cleared by other ministers and sent to Number 10.”

Edwina Currie (Liverpool, 13 oktober 1946)