Volker Kaminski, Yukiko Motoya, Irving Stone, Natalia Ginzburg, Jacques de Lacretelle

De Duitse schrijver Volker Kaminski werd op 14 juli 1958 in Karlsruhe geboren. Zie ook alle tags voor Volker Kaminski op dit blog.

Uit: Rot wie Schnee

„Tom war sich sicher, dass der Junge nach ihm rief. Er glaubte seine helle Stimme zu hören, während er den Flur zwischen Küche und Atelier durchquerte. Er knips te das Neonlicht an und betrat das Atelier. Mach dich nicht verrückt, dachte er, es ist doch nur ein Bild. Die noch unfertige Leinwand, die an der Schmalseite des Raums lehnte, zeigte einen etwa siebzehnjährigen Jungen, der mit den Füßen im Schnee versank und sein bleiches Gesicht dem Betrachter zuwandte. Er hatte den Mund weit geöffnet und die Augen aufgerissen. In einer stark ausholenden Körperdrehung streckte er den rechten Arm nach hinten und deutete auf eine Stelle im Schnee, an der ein umgestürzter Wagen lag. Bettdecken, Körbe, große Kisten, verblichene Reisekoffer lagen im Schnee verstreut. Das Gestänge eines Vogelkäfigs ragte heraus, ein Fahrradlenker, eine alte Standuhr. Weiter hinten, halb verschüttet, aber gut sichtbar, lag eine junge Frau, die ihren gewölbten Bauch schützend mit den Armen bedeckte. Das Bild war 250 mal 180 Zentimeter groß, Toms bevor zugtes Standardmaß. Er hatte beschlossen, die Pferde weg zu lassen. Pferde würden das Elend zu sehr betonen, es wären Mitleid erregende Kreaturen, die aus offenen Wunden bluteten. Natürlich hätte er die Pferde an den Horizont stellen können, sie hätten still und ergeben dagestanden und damit angedeutet, um was für einen Wagen es sich handelte. Er musste jetzt wieder an die Pferde denken, obwohl er sich letzte Nacht gegen sie entschieden hatte. Es war ein Bild von der Flucht im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Der junge Mann im Vordergrund, der zerbrochene Wagen und der dichte Schnee gaben genügend Hinweise darauf. Tom nahm einen feinen Pinsel vom Tisch und machte sich wieder an die Arbeit. Keine Pferde, dachte er noch einmal. Der Schnee war das beherrschende, alles verschluckende Element. Er lag meterhoch, sodass man sich wildes, windgepeitschtes Schneetreiben vorstellen konnte. In der Szene selbst schneite es nicht. Es war keine einzige Schneeflocke zu sehen, nichts trat zwischen das Gesicht des Jungen und den Betrachter. So lebendig und aufgebracht sollte der Junge erscheinen, so plastisch und real, dass der Betrachter meinte, er steige zu ihm heraus. Dabei war Tom die Nähe zu dem Jungen beim Malen eher unangenehm; er fühlte sich beklommen, wenn er seinem Gesicht zu nahe kam. Als Vorlage diente ihm eine kleine Schwarz­Weiß­Fotografie, darauf war die Haltung, um die es ihm ging, nicht zu erkennen. Das Foto zeigte einen schmächtigen, freundlich lächelnden Schüler, keineswegs ein verzerrtes Gesicht. So angespannt und überdreht wie auf der Leinwand war er im Leben selten anzutreffen gewesen, aber Tom hatte sich dieser Ausdruck trotzdem tief eingeprägt. Er hatte manchmal von ihm als wild tanzendem Mann geträumt und sich für ihn im Traum geschämt. Im Zentrum seines Lebens hatte die Katastrophe gestanden, die mit dem Krieg über ihn hereingebrochen war. Und Tom hatte immer gewusst, dass er diese Katastrophe eines Tages auf die Leinwand bringen würde.“

Volker Kaminski (Karlsruhe, 14 juli 1958)

 

De Japanse schrijfster Yukiko Motoya werd geboren op 14 juli 1979 in Hakusan, Ishikawa. Zie ook alle tags voor Yukiko Motoya op dit blog.

Uit: The Reason I Carry Biscuits to Offer to Young Boys (Vertaald door Asa Yoneda)

“Try these—they’re really delicious.”
I was in the bus shelter opposite the train station, taking shelter from the rain while I waited for my mom, when the guy with the umbrella started talking to me. I hadn’t noticed him turn up but the old guy, who was dressed in rags, gave me a friendly smile and offered me a little packet of biscuits. “You look hungry,” he said. “Go ahead, they’re really delicious.” Even though we were in the middle of a huge typhoon and the ferocious wind was howling past my ears, I thought I caught a whiff of the old guy’s sour smell.
“Aw, biscuits!” I said, taking them like a good child. I was clutching the biscuits inside my palm and nervously pretending to eat them when then the guy pointed toward the junction where the wide station road met a smaller road and, out of nowhere, said, “Don’t ever underestimate people like them.” He was pointing at a man in a suit waiting for the lights to turn, desperately holding his umbrella open in the storm.
I didn’t react, but secretly I was pretty worried that he’d read my mind. I’d been watching people just like suit man passing by, laughing at them inside. Any time I saw typhoon coverage on TV, I just had to wonder: What on earth were these people thinking? Walking along looking totally focused on holding their barely open umbrellas in front of them when their clothes, their hair and most likely even their socks were wet through. I was like, Are you sure there isn’t something wrong with your head? Don’t tell me you kowtow to umbrellas, at your age? But I’d never mentioned these thoughts to anyone else.
“Just watch,” said the old guy. “Soon he’ll be down to bare bones.” I didn’t know what he meant, but his voice was strong like a sea captain’s, so I looked to where his gnarly finger was pointing, at the man in a suit holding on for dear life to the guardrail by the crossing. I’d nearly been blown out onto the road there too, earlier, as I battled the rain that blew horizontally into my face. Because it was a junction, the strong winds bore straight at you.
“Three! Two! One!” The old guy shouted, just as the man’s umbrella turned inside out like a rice bowl and its fabric disappeared as though an invisible man had ripped it off, instantly reducing the umbrella to just its skeleton. I was speechless. The old guy’s timing had been perfect.
*
Associating with people like him was a bad idea. I knew this, but his shabby appearance and offensive smell didn’t bother me that much any more. He handed me another packet of biscuits, and I pretended to nibble them again, apologizing to him in my head for deceiving him. Oblivious to that, the guy started telling a story about some boy from a tribe that lived deep in a forest. It was about what the young kid did to win an umbrella that a foreigner had brought to their village.
“They beat each other with sticks,” said the guy. The wind was whipping his long, tangled hair around, and it looked like the strands were trying to feed on his face.”

Yukiko Motoya (Hakusan, 14 juli 1979)

 

De Amerikaanse schrijver Irving Stone werd geboren op 14 juli 1903 in San Francisco. Zie ook alle tags voor Irving Stone op dit blog.

Uit: Depths of Glory

“The opening of the official Salon on April 30, 1863, was attended by several thousand Parisians interested in art exhi-bitions. The jury gave a prize to the picture called The Pearl and the Wave, a young woman voluptuously extended on the bank receiving the embraces of the caressing waves. Corot and Millet were described by the judges as “foremost”. Gustave Courbet was infuriated because he had been described as “fad-ing and passing away”. Portrait of the Emperor was judged “the most important work of the exhibit”. Le Figaro’s critic was disappointed with the Salon. He wrote: “It is an honest and prudent French school. The general effect is sleepy”. The two weeks preceding the “Salon des Refuses” dragged unmercifully. When, a couple of days prior to the opening, the Emperor announced that he and his Empress would attend the showing of the unwanted artists, a shock wave went through Paris. Everyone who had been at the opening of the official Salon would have to attend this second Salon to see and be seen by their Majesties. It was expected that there would be an enormous crowd. “We’ll have a great success,” cried Claude Monet. Camille Pissarro responded, “You see, to be rejected is not the same as being ignored.” On the day of the opening he and his colleagues assembled in the passageway between Palais de l’Industrie and the adjoining building shortly before the opening hour. They found the exhibit as luxuriously mounted as that of the official Salon. Antique tapestries hung in the doorways. The benches were made comfortable with red velvet cushions. The skylights were covered with white cotton screens to cut the glare. There was a long series of display rooms. All like the official Salon.., except for the pictures. The brightness of their color, the mood, the authenticity of the figures and the presence of fresh air. The feeling of youth, of gaiety. Of innovation. In the two areas termed “the place of dishonor” were Edouard Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass, two gentlemen fully clothed in vests, jackets and cravats, and two women entirely naked, sitting and gathering flowers, beside them the picnic basket and its luxurious contents overflowing into the foreground.“

Irving Stone (14 juli 1903 – 26 augustus 1989)
Cover

 

De Italiaanse schrijfster Natalia Ginzburg werd geboren op 14 juli 1916 in Palermo. Zie ook alle tags voor Natalia Ginzburg op dit blog.

Uit: Al onze gisterens (Vertaald door Henny Vlot)

“Ze bleef altijd heel lang in de badkamer en dan kwam iedereen aan de deur kloppen, terwijl zij begon te roepen dat ze er ge-noeg van had in een huis te wonen waar niemand respect voor haar had; ze wilde meteen haar koffers pakken en naar haar zuster in Genua vertrekken. Twee of drie keer had ze haar koffers onder de kast vandaan gehaald en was ze begonnen haar schoenen in stoffen zakjes te stoppen. Je moest gewoon doen of er niets aan de hand was en dan haalde ze even later haar schoenen weer tevoorschijn. Overigens wist iedereen dat die zuster in Genua haar helemaal niet in huis wilde hebben.Juffrouw Maria kwam geheel gekleed, met haar hoed op, de badkamer uit en rende meteen de straat op met een schepje om mest te verzamelen voor de rozen, vliegensvlug, terwijl ze goed oplette dat er niemand aan kwam. Daarna ging ze inkopen doen met het boodschappennet, ze speelde het klaar om in een halfuur de hele stad door te rennen op haar vlugge voetjes in schoenen met een strik. Iedere morgen speurde ze de hele stad af naar koopjes, en kwam doodmoe thuis. Ze had altijd een slecht humeur als ze boodschappen had gedaan en viel uit tegen Concettina, die nog in haar ochtendjas rond-liep: ze zei dat ze nooit had gedacht dat ze nog eens met een boodschappennet door de stad zou moeten sjouwen, toen ze vroeger in het rijtuig naast grootmoeder zat, met haar knieën lekker warm onder de deken en de mensen die haar groet-ten. Concettina borstelde langzaam haar haar voor de spiegel, bracht daarna haar gezicht tot vlak bij het glas en bekeek een voor een haar sproeten, bekeek haar tanden en haar tandvlees, stak haar tong uit en bekeek die ook. Ze kamde haar haar strak naar achteren in een wrong in haar nek, met een warrige pony op haar voorhoofd; met die pony leek ze precies op een cocot-te, zei juffrouw Maria. Daarna deed ze de kast wijd open en dacht na over welke kleren ze zou aantrekken. Intussen luchtte juffrouw Maria de bedden en klopte de kleden, met een doek om haar hoofd en haar mouwen opgerold over haar oude, ta-nige armen. Maar ze dook weg bij het raam als ze de mevrouw van het huis aan de overkant het balkon op zag komen, want ze hield er niet van gezien te worden met haar hoofddoek om terwijl ze de kleden aan het kloppen was, en dan dacht ze er-aan terug dat ze in dit huis was gekomen als gezelschapsdame, en kijk nu eens wat ze moest doen.De overbuurvrouw had ook een pony, maar een door de kapper gekrulde, stijlvol verwarde pony, en juffrouw Maria zei dat ze jonger leek dan Concettina wanneer ze ’s morgens naar buiten kwam in haar lichtgekleurde, frisse peignoir, en toch wist iedereen zeker dat ze vijfenveertig was.Er waren dagen dat Concettina er niet in slaagde iets te vinden om aan te trekken.”

Natalia Ginzburg (14 juli 1916 – 7 oktober 1991)

 

De Franse schrijver en letterkundige Jacques de Lacretelle werd geboren in Cormatin (Saône-et-Loire) op 14 juli 1888. Zie ook alle tags voor Jacques de Lacretelle op dit blog.

Uit: Silbermann


“Or, Célestine, notre cuisinière, n’aimait pas cet homme « venu on ne sait d’où », disait-elle, et lorsqu’elle avait eu affaire avec lui, on l’entendait maugréer en revenant :
— C’est malheureux de voir ces beaux fruits touchés par ces mains-là.
Silbermann, ignorant ce petit mouvement instinctif, poursuivit :
— Si les livres t’intéressent, tu viendras un jour chez moi, je te montrerai ma bibliothèque et je te prêterai tout ce que tu voudras.
Je le remerciai et acceptai.
— Alors quand veux-tu venir ? dit-il aussitôt. Cet après-midi, es-tu libre ?
Je ne l’étais point. Il insista.
— Viens goûter jeudi prochain.
Il y eut dans cet empressement quelque chose qui me déplut et me mit sur la défensive. Je répondis que nous conviendrions du jour plus tard ; et comme nous étions arrivés devant la maison de mes parents, je lui tendis la main.
Silbermann la prit, la retint, et me regardant avec une expression de gratitude, me dit d’une voix infiniment douce :
— Je suis content, bien content, que nous nous soyons rencontrés… je ne pensais pas que nous pourrions être camarades.
— Et pourquoi ? demandai-je avec une sincère surprise.
— Au lycée, je te voyais tout le temps avec Robin ; et comme lui, durant un mois, cet été, a refusé de m’adresser la parole, je croyais que toi aussi… Même en classe d’anglais où nous sommes voisins, je n’ai pas osé…
Il ne montrait plus guère d’assurance en disant ces mots. Sa voix était basse et entrecoupée ; elle semblait monter de régions secrètes et douloureuses. Sa main qui continuait d’étreindre la mienne comme s’il eût voulu s’attacher à moi, trembla un peu.
Ce ton et ce frémissement me bouleversèrent. J’entrevis chez cet être si différent des autres une détresse intime, persistante, inguérissable, analogue à celle d’un orphelin ou d’un infirme. Je balbutiai avec un sourire, affectant de n’avoir pas compris :
— Mais c’est absurde… pour quelle raison supposais-tu…
— Parce que je suis Juif, interrompit-il nettement et avec un accent si particulier que je ne pus distinguer si l’aveu lui coûtait ou s’il en était fier.”

Jacques de Lacretelle (14 juli 1888 – 2 januari 1985)

 

Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 14e juli ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.

Gavrila Derzjavin, Béatrix Beck, Arthur Laurents, Owen Wister, Willard Motley

De Russische dichter Gavrila Romanovitsj Derzjavin werd geboren in Kazan op 14 juli 1743. Zie ook alle tags voor Gavrila Derzjavin op dit blog.

On The Death Of Prince Meshchersky (Fragment)

O, Voice of time! O, metal’s clang!
Your dreadful call distresses me,
Your groan doth beckon, beckon me
It beckons, brings me closer to my grave.
This world I’d just begun to see
When death began to gnash her teeth,
Like lightening her scythe aglint,
She cuts my days like summer hay.

No creature thinks to run away,
From under her rapacious claws:
Prisoners, kings alike are worm meat,
Cruel elements the tomb devour,
Time gapes to swallow glory whole.
As rushing waters pour into the sea,
So days and ages pour into eternity
And death carnivorous all eats.

We slide along the edge of an abyss
And we will someday topple in.
With life, we take at one time death,
To die’s the purpose of our birth.
Death strikes all down without a thought.
It shatters e’en the stars,
Extinguishes the suns,
It threatens every world.

Gavrila Derzjavin (14 juli 1743 – 20 juli 1816)
Op een postzegel uit 1972


De Franse schrijfster van Belgische origine Béatrix Beck werd geboren in Villars-sur-Ollon op 14 juli 1914. Zie ook alle tags voor Béatrix Beck op dit blog.

Uit: La Petite Italie

“Au dernier étage, dans un placard à balais coquettement aménagé, tapissé d’échantillons de papier mural, vivotait la très vieille signora Cumini, trois fois veuve et plus de dents. Elle dormait recroquevillée pour pouvoir fermer sa porte. On la nourrissait gratis, les uns par solidarité sociale, les autres pour l’amour de la bienheureuse Maria Goretti, la grande Teresa ou, carrément, Dieu.
— Du pareil au même, chuintait Lucrezia Cumini.
Lait de poule, purées de toutes choses, même gâtées, elle n’y voit que du feu. Consommé où le chat mijote trois heures et demie, c’est pas la mort d’un pape. Avec les herbes, un vrai lapin. La nonagénaire Lulu larmoyait d’attendrissement en déglutissant.
Alida étreignit sa fille comme si elle venait d’échapper à un carnage, coiffa de sa belle grande main abîmée la tête ronde de son fils, rasée à cause des poux des riches :
— Mon cœur, qu’est ce que t’as fait à l’école aujourd’hui ?
— Rien.
— Oh, protesta Alia. Ils ont appris une chanson. Chante à maman.
— La pou-oule noire pond dans l’a-armoire.
— Et puis ?
— La poule blanche je sais pas.
La toute petite Sandra donna de la voix. Mère et fille se jetèrent sur elle, l’arrachèrent à son moïse, se l’arrachèrent. Alida dut lâcher prise pour touiller la sublime soupe des premiers jours du mois, une totalité, un absolu. Dans chaque assiette un filet d’or liquide. Mon huile c’est mon sang, disait Alida en rebouchant serré le bidon. Fête intérieure, recueillement. Seigneur, priait in petto Alida, mange avec nous cette bonté.
Quand le travail venait à manquer, on allait jusqu’à bouffer de l’herbe bien bouillie, bien tordue, bien hachée. Les macaronis vivent de l’air du temps, disaient les Français, les gaspilleurs, avec envie et mépris.
Après le repas, succulent ou misérable, les trois enfants baisaient la main de leur mère qui l’avait préparé, l’hommage de Nicola tenant plutôt du suçon. Alida accueillait le cérémonial avec naturel et dignité. Essayait de raconter à son mari : — La voisine… le boulanger… la pluie… — Les ragots j’en ai rien à foutre. Parle-moi de la dictature du prolétariat.”

Béatrix Beck (14 juli 1914 – 30 november 2008)

 

De Amerikaanse schrijver, scenarioschrijver en regisseur Arthur Laurents is geboren in New York op 14 Juli 1918.Zie ook alle tags voor Arthur Laurents op dit blog.

Uit: West Side Story

“By the time the mambo music starts the Jets and Sharks are each on their own side of the hall. At the climax of the dance, Tony and Bernardo’s sister, Maria, see one another :as a delicate cha-cha-cha, they slowly walk forward to meet each other.
MEETING SCENE
TONY
You’re not thinking I’m someone else?
MARIA
I know you are not.
TONY
Or that we have met before?
MARIA
I know we have not.
TONY
I felt I knew something-never-before was going to happen, had to happen. But this is …
MARIA
interrupting
My hands are so cold.
He takes them in his.
Yours too.
He moves her hands to his face.
So warm.
She moves his hands to herface.
TONY
Yours, too…
MARIA
But of course. They are the same.
TONY
It’s so much to believe. You’re not joking me?
MARIA
I have not yet learned how to joke that way.
I think how I never will.

[JUMP]
Bernardo is upon them in an icy rage. Chino, whom Bernardo has brought Maria from Puerto Rico to marry, takes her home. Riff wants Bernardo for”War Council”; they agree to meet in half an hour at Doc’s drugstore.”

Arthur Laurents (14 juli 1918 – 5 mei 2011)
Scene uit de film uit 1961 met Natalie Wood (Maria) and Richard Beymer (Tony)

 

De Amerikaanse schrijver Owen Wister werd geboren op 14 juli 1860 in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Zie ook alle tags voor Owen Wister op dit blog.

Uit: The Jimmyjohn Boss

“One day at Nampa, which is in Idaho, a ruddy old massive jovial man stood by the Silver City stage, patting his beard with his left hand, and with his right the shoulder of a boy who stood beside him. He had come with the boy on the branch train from Boise, because he was a careful German and liked to say everything twice–twice at least when it was a matter of business. This was a matter of very particular business, and the German had repeated himself for nineteen miles. Presently the east-bound on the main line would arrive from Portland; then the Silver City stage would take the boy south on his new mission, and the man would journey by the branch train back to Boise. From Boise no one could say where he might not go, west or east. He was a great and pervasive cattle man in Oregon, California, and other places. Vogel and Lex–even to-day you may hear the two ranch partners spoken of. So the veteran Vogel was now once more going over his notions and commands to his youthful deputy during the last precious minutes until the east-bound should arrive.
“Und if only you haf someding like dis,” said the old man, as he tapped his beard and patted the boy, “it would be five hoondert more dollars salary in your liddle pants.”
The boy winked up at his employer. He had a gray, humorous eye; he was slim and alert, like a sparrow-hawk–the sort of boy his father openly rejoices in and his mother is secretly in prayer over. Only, this boy had neither father nor mother. Since the age of twelve he had looked out for himself, never quite without bread, sometimes attaining champagne, getting along in his American way variously, on horse or afoot, across regions of wide plains and mountains, through towns where not a soul knew his name. He closed one of his gray eyes at his employer, and beyond this made no remark.
“Vat you mean by dat vink, anyhow?” demanded the elder.
“Say,” said the boy, confidentially–“honest now. How about you and me? Five hundred dollars if I had your beard. You’ve got a record and I’ve got a future. And my bloom’s on me rich, without a scratch. How many dollars you gif me for dat bloom?” The sparrow-hawk sailed into a freakish imitation of his master.
“You are a liddle rascal!” cried the master, shaking with entertainment. “Und if der peoples vas to hear you sass old Max Vogel in dis style they would say, ‘Poor old Max, he lose his gr-rip.’ But I don’t lose it.” His great hand closed suddenly on the boy’s shoulder, his voice cut clean and heavy as an axe, and then no more joking about him. “Haf you understand that?” he said.”

Owen Wister (14 juli 1860 – 21 juli 1938)
Cover


De Amerikaanse schrijver Willard Frances Motley werd geboren op 14 juli 1909 in Chicago. Zie ook alle tags voor Willard Motley op dit blog.

Uit: Alan M. Wald.American Night: The Literary Left in the Era of the Cold War (Hoofdstuk over Willard Motley)

“Like Oscar Wilde, Motley yearned for an escape from moralistic prohibi-tionism, but unlike Wilde he would not turn victimization into martyrdom. In personal notes he kept for a planned book-length novel about homosexual culture in the postwar era, he explained that he did not want to write the kind of book later known as the “Homosexual Problem Novel”; he hated the ones he read such as Gore Vidal’s The Pillar and the City (1946).107 He also refused to depict a homosexual as a redemptive figure, as in James Baldwin’s Another Country (1962). While Motley’s rejection of the available racial and gender definitions makes sense in a pre-Stonewall age, the absence of an alternative turned into a no-win predicament. Rather than producing fiction that replaced settled forms of identity with processes embedded in class, national, ethnic, and personal contexts, Motley could generate only a disconcerting sequence of enigmas and stereotypes. Hoist with his own petard of nondisclosure, Motley nonetheless partook, instinctively, of an “Adornian” dialectic through which his novels register a cognition of tension between concepts of race and gender and the non-conceptuality of the same. He merged with Petry and others in eroding prior categories, which in Petry’s case created a narrative that promoted a dissolu-tion of the 193os idea of the novel as reflective of the material configuration of experience. But anyone seeking in Motley a nimble and buoyant presenta-tion of such art will be disappointed. He aspired to panoramic volumes on a grand scale, and these are weighted with the deadly undertow of exhaustively researched sociological settings. Only a vigilant reader can discern how Mot-ley’s literary trajectory exhibits a process of paradoxical self-negation. Unlike Petry, there is no rematerializing logic to his texts through a vivid seizure of the imagination. In the eyes of his FBI watchers, Willard Motley was simply a “Negro writer with Leftist and homosexual tendencies who has lived in Mexico for a num-ber of years..”00 To understand more intricately what this redaction denoted, one needs to recover motives and meanings from Motley’s intimate life.”

Willard Motley (14 juli 1909 – 15 maart 1965)


The Good Samaritan (Henry Lawson)

Bij de vijfde zondag na Pinksteren

 

De barmhartige Samaritaan door Giovanni Battista Langetti, 1670

 

The Good Samaritan

HE comes from out the ages dim—
The good Samaritan;
I somehow never pictured him
A fat and jolly man;
But one who’d little joy to glean,
And little coin to give—
A sad-faced man, and lank and lean,
Who found it hard to live.

His eyes were haggard in the drought,
His hair was iron-grey—
His dusty gown was patched, no doubt,
Where we patch pants to-day.
His faded turban, too, was torn—
But darned and folded neat,
And leagues of desert sand had worn
The sandals on his feet.

He’s been a fool, perhaps, and would
Have prospered had he tried,
But he was one who never could
Pass by the other side.
An honest man whom men called soft,
While laughing in their sleeves—
No doubt in business ways he oft
Had fallen amongst thieves.

And, I suppose, by track and tent,
And other ancient ways,
He drank, and fought, and loved, and went
The pace in his young days.
And he had known the bitter year
When love and friendship fail—
I wouldn’t be surprised to hear
That he had been in jail.

A silent man, whose passions slept,
Who had no friends or foes—
A quiet man, who always kept
His hopes and sorrows close.
A man who very seldom smiled,
And one who could not weep
Be it for death of wife or child
Or sorrow still more deep.

But sometimes when a man would rave
Of wrong, as sinners do,
He’d say to cheer and make him brave
‘I’ve had my troubles too.’
(They might be twittered by the birds,
And breathed high Heaven through,
There’s beauty in those world-old words:
‘I’ve had my sorrows too.’)

And if he was a married man,
As many are that roam,
I guess that good Samaritan
Was rather glum at home,
Impatient when a child would fret,
And strict at times and grim—
A man whose kinsmen never yet
Appreciated him.

Howbeit—in a study brown—
He had for all we know,
His own thoughts as he journeyed down
The road to Jericho,
And pondered, as we puzzle yet,
On tragedies of life—
And maybe he was deep in debt
And parted from his wife.

(And so ‘by chance there came that way,’
It reads not like romance—
The truest friends on earth to-day,
They mostly come by chance.)
He saw a stranger left by thieves
Sore hurt and like to die—
He also saw (my heart believes)
The others pass him by.

(Perhaps that good Samaritan
Knew Levite well, and priest)
He lifted up the wounded man
And sat him on his beast,
And took him on towards the inn—
All Christ-like unawares—
Still pondering, perhaps, on sin
And virtue—and his cares.

He bore him in and fixed him right
(Helped by the local drunk),
And wined and oiled him well all night,
And thought beside his bunk.
And on the morrow ere he went
He left a quid and spoke
Unto the host in terms which meant—
‘Look after that poor bloke.’

He must have known them at the inn,
They must have known him too—
Perhaps on that same track he’d seen
Some other sick mate through;
For ‘Whatsoe’er thou spendest more’
(The parable is plain)
‘I will repay,’ he told the host,
‘When I return again.’

He seemed to be a good sort, too,
The boss of that old pub—
(As even now there are a few
At shanties in the scrub).
The good Samaritan jogged on
Through Canaan’s dust and heat,
And pondered over various schemes
And ways to make ends meet.

*****

He was no Christian, understand,
For Christ had not been born—
He journeyed later through the land
To hold the priests to scorn;
And tell the world of ‘certain men’
Like that Samaritan,
And preach the simple creed again—
Man’s duty! Man to man!

*****

‘Once on a time there lived a man,’
But he has lived alway,
And that gaunt, good Samaritan
Is with us here to-day;
He passes through the city streets
Unnoticed and unknown,
He helps the sinner that he meets—
His sorrows are his own.

He shares his tucker on the track
When things are at their worst
(And often shouts in bars outback
For souls that are athirst).
To-day I see him staggering down
The blazing water-course,
And making for the distant town
With a sick man on his horse.

He’ll live while nations find their graves
And mortals suffer pain—
When colour rules and whites are slaves
And savages again.
And, after all is past and done,
He’ll rise up, the Last Man,
From tending to the last but one—
The good Samaritan.

 

Henry Lawson (17 juni 1867 – 2 september 1922)
De Anglicaanse Holy Trinity Church in Grenfell, New South Wales, de geboorteplaats van Henry Lawson

 

Zie voor de schrijvers van de 14e juli ook mijn volgende twee blogs van vandaag.