Fay Weldon, Rosamunde Pilcher, György Faludy, Hans Leip, Uri Zvi Greenberg, Barthold Heinrich Brockes

De Britse schrijfster Fay Weldon werd geboren op 22 september 1931 in Alvechurch, Engeland. Zie ook alle tags voor Fay Weldon op dit blog.

Uit: Big Girls Don’t Cry

“Stephanie doesn’t get the joke. This is her life problem. Her life asset is her beauty. In 1971 she is twenty-five; she has perfect features, a lanky body, abundant blonde straight hair, and rather large hands and feet. Layla is twenty-six, shorter, plumper, funnier; she has curly dark hair. One side of Layla’s face does not line up with the other, so she is called sexy and attractive, but seldom beautiful. Layla does not regard this as a life problem. She has too much to think about.
The posters declare over and over, A Woman Needs a Man like a Fish Needs a Bicycle. People stare a moment and pass on. The message makes no sense. Obviously women need men. Everyone needs men. Masculinity is all. Armies need men, and government and business and technology and high finance. And teaching and medicine and adventuring and fashion. And all the serious arts. Offices, except for the typing pool, which is female, need men. It’s homes which need women, except for the lawn which is male. Women are for sex, motherhood and domesticity. Men are in for status and action. Outside the home is high status, inside the home is low status. In popular myth men make decisions, women try on hats. The world is all id and precious little anima. Layla and Stephie, friends, mean to change all this. A Woman Needs a Man like a Fish Needs a Bicycle. Ho, ho, ho. Everyone knows women compete for male attention; isn’t this how the problem of female bitchery arises? Catty? Felines are nothing compared with women. Perhaps this puzzle poster is advertising something?
A couple of tourists, Brian and Nancy from New Zealand, emerge from the crowds in Carnaby Street. They have been rendered punch-drunk by colour, fabric, and the smell of patchouli. These are still flower-power and drug days. See feather boas, silk caftans, crushed velvet hats; lots of mauve, flares, miniskirts, platform heels; good-looking guys with lots of hair, girls with doll faces drifting behind them; wide eyes, fake lashes, white faces. Brian and Nancy both wear white Aertex shirts and tennis shoes for ease and comfort. Both are in culture shock. They flew in today from Wellington. (It took thirty-six hours.) They are accustomed to mountains, plains and sheep farms. Brian is gloriously handsome and golden. Nancy is pleasing enough to look at, but lacks eroticism: she’s tall, long-limbed, and manages to appear gawky rather than slender.”


Fay Weldon (Alvechurch, 22 september 1931)
Cover

 

De Britse schrijfster Rosamunde Pilcher werd op 22 september 1924 geboren in Lelant, Cornwall, Groot-Brittannië. Zie ook alle tags voor Rosamunde Pilcher op dit blog.

Uit: The Shell Seekers

“She sometimes thought that for her, Nancy Chamberlain, the most straightforward or innocent occupation was doomed to become, inevitably, fraught with tedious complication.
Take this morning. A dull day in the middle of March. All she was doing … all she planned to do … was to catch the 9:15 from Cheltenham to London, have lunch with her sister Olivia, perhaps pop into Harrods, and then return home. There was nothing, after all, particularly heinous about this proposal. She was not about to indulge in a wild orgy of extravagance, nor meet a lover; in fact, it was a duty visit more than anything else, with responsibilities to be discussed and decisions made, and yet as soon as the plan was voiced to her household, circumstances seemed to close ranks, and she was faced with objections, or, worse, indifference, and left feeling as though she were fighting for her life.
Yesterday evening, having made the arrangement with Olivia over the phone, she had gone in search of her children. She found them in the small living room, which Nancy euphemistically thought of as the library, sprawled on the sofa in front of the fire, watching television. They had a playroom and a television of their own, but the playroom had no fireplace and was deathly cold, and the television was an old black-and-white, so it was no wonder they spent most of their time in here.
“Darlings, I have to go to London tomorrow to meet Aunt Olivia and have a talk about Granny Pen …”
“If you’re going to be in London, then who’s going to take Lightning to the blacksmith to be shod?”
That was Melanie. As she spoke, Melanie chewed the end of her pigtail and kept one baleful eye glued to the manic rock singer whose image filled the screen. She was fourteen and was going through, as her mother kept telling herself, that awkward age.
Nancy had expected this question and had her answer ready.
“I’ll ask Croftway to deal with that. He ought to be able to manage on his own.”
Croftway was the surly gardener-handyman who lived with his wife in a flat over the stables. He hated the horses and constantly spooked them into a frenzy with his loud voice and uncouth ways, but part of his job was helping to cope with them, and this he grudgingly did, manhandling the poor lathered creatures into the horse-box, and then driving this unwieldly vehicle across country to various Pony Club events. On these occasions Nancy always referred to him as “the groom.”

 

 
Rosamunde Pilcher (Lelant, 22 september 1924)
Scene uit de gelijknamige tv-film uit 1989 met o.a. Angela Lansbury als Penelope Keeling (rechts)

 

De Hongaarse dichter en schrijver György Faludy werd geboren op 22 september 1910 in Boedapest. Zie ook alle tags voor György Faludy op dit blog.

Ballade de celui qui n’est fils de personne

Comme un grand chapeau, le ciel bleu m’a recouvert,
et il s’est trouvé pour moi un seul ami fidèle: le brouillard.
Parmi des plats garnis la faim m’a saisi,
et j’ai eu froid à en mourir devant des poêles chauffés au rouge.
Là où j’ai mis la main, il n’y avait que des tuiles qui tombaient,
et la boue montait jusqu’à atteindre le bord de ma bouche,
près de ma route les roses mouraient
et mon souffle rendait l’été terne,
je m’étonne déjà presque de la lumière du jour,
de ce qu’elle brille encore parfois sur mes épaules en haillons,
moi qui ai parcouru tous les six mondes,
partout béni et partout cible de crachats.

J’ai lutté contre le vent dans les champs gelés,
mon vêtement n’est qu’une feuille de vigne,
rien n’est plus pur pour moi que la nuit,
rien n’est plus sombre pour moi que le midi.
J’ai éclaté en sanglots au fond des tavernes de marins,
de même que je ris dans les cimetières;
ce que j’ai est seulement ce que j’ai jeté dans la boue,
et j’ai tué tout ce que j’aime.
Avec son givre blanc, l’automne s’est déjà couché
sur mes tempes et mes cheveux roux comme le feu,
et je vais ainsi, sifflotant tout seul,
partout béni et partout cible de crachats.

Le ciel victorieux a posé sa tente sur moi,
la rosée a coloré de bleu mon front,
et c’est ainsi que j’ai poursuivi Dieu, qui a reculé,
et poursuivi l’avenir, qui est comme mon foyer.
Je me suis reposé des heures sur les sommets montagneux
et j’ai regardé avec admiration le casseur de pierres en sueur,
mais je suis passé en sifflotant près des cathédrales
et je me suis moqué de l’évêque aux vêtements ornés,
et pour cela il n’est tombé que baisers et coups de cravache
sur mon pauvre corps, qui s’est couché tout pareillement
parmi les coussins brodés et dans la boue des rues,
partout béni et partout cible de crachats.

Et bien que je n’aie ni maison, ni vin, ni épouse
et que le vent me siffle entre les jambes,
j’aurai encore de l’argent, et j’espère avec certitude
qu’un jour tout me réussira.
Et quand je serai lassé de manger dans des plats en or,
j’abandonnerai encore une fois les palais,
les vers danseront déjà la gigue pour atteindre mon ventre,
et quelque part sur les feuilles mortes d’automne,
au pied d’un vieux buisson d’épines sur lequel ne brillera
que la lumière douteuse d’une mauvaise étoile,
c’est là qu’un jour je resterai, François Villon, couché,
partout béni et partout cible de crachats.


György Faludy (22 september 1910 – 1 september 2006)
De Hongaarse acteur Turek Miklós presenteerde leven en werk van György Faludy tijdens een theatervoorstelling in Őriszentpéter, 2004

 

De Duitse dichter en schrijver Hans Leip werd geboren op 22 september 1893 in Hamburg. Zie ook alle tags voor Hans Leip op dit blog.

Uit: Die Nächtezettel der Sinsebal

“(Sinsebal tanzt vor einem Spiegel in ihrer einsamen Stube)

Dann tanze ich das Spiegellied. Das Spiegellied? Oho! Was weiß mein Bein von mir? Was weiß mein Nacken von mir? Was weiß die weiße Haut? Der Vorhang ist zu, der Teppich grau und ein einziger Kuß. Da schläft mein Bett allein. Nein, gaffen die Kissen? Und pumpen die Puppen im Stuhl in der Kuhle die Mäuler zum Wundern rund? Die Berge schmunzeln auf den Bildern. Was macht die Lampe denn? Die Lampe macht sich winzig, rennt in mein Knotenhaar, brennt in mein Bronzepudelhaar, ein Edelstein, mein süßer Karfunk!
Ei Fürstin, ei Engelbengel, hü! Ei Töchterlein, ei Schmatz, mein Schatz!
Nun neigen sich die Arme sehr, die Schultern schleichen hinterdrein. Nun schlüpft das Knie davon, nun ruft das andre zärtlich nach. Schnipp, macht der Finger.
Nun heben sich die Zehen, tirili. Nun scharwenzen die Hüften juja, nun klingeln ting, ting die Brüstelein.
Nun stülpt eine Glocke über mich. O schwanker Trunk, dunkles Blau! Wer schwingt mich so, o halt, nein! O ja, schön! Noch fängt mich der Spiegel, steif grapst mich sein Mantel, nun klemmt er nicht mehr, schmal bin ich ihm weg, fängt mich nicht, fängt mich nicht! Nun Kreisel, nun Mond im Griff. Wirft mich ein Gaukler? Ein Walfisch schnappt mich. Feuer ist, Feuer ist! O schauert mich Eis!
Nun kreiseln die Wiesen, viel Blumen wie Mücken, die Schwalben, die Rehe, o schwindelnder Duft; nun häng’ ich im Wind, wie Zweige geschaukelt, wie Blätter geschleudert, wie Sternschnuppen blank. Nun schieß’ ich hinauf, o dunkel, o sausend, nun schluckt mich die Sonne, nun ist sie mein Tanzrad, ist toll, ist toll, o Fieber, ich brenne! Zu Regenbögen gestriemt die Wände, die Puppen, die Stühle, mein Hemd, meine Kissen, mein Bett, meine Bücher, ich schwebe, ich falle!”


Hans Leip (22 september 1893 – 6 juni 1983)

 

De Israëlische Hebreeuwse en Jiddische dichter en politicus Uri Zvi Greenberg werd geboren op 22 september 1896 in Bialikamin, Lviv, in Galicië, destijds behorend tot Oostenrijk-Hongarije. Zie ook alle tags voor Uri Zvi Greenberg op dit blog.

We Were Not Likened To Dogs

We were not likened to dogs among the Gentiles—by them a dog is pitied
Caressed and even kissed by the Gentile mouth, for like the puppy
Beloved of his home, he is fondled and rejoiced in always:
And when this dog dies—how very much the Gentile mourns him!

We were not led like sheep to the slaughter in the boxcars
For like leprous sheep they led us to extinction
Over all the beautiful landscapes of Europe… .
The Gentiles did not handle their sheep as they handled our bodies:
Before slaughter they did not pull out the teeth of their sheep:
They did not pluck the wool from their bodies as they did to us:
They did not push the sheep into the fire to make ashes of the living
And to scatter the ashes over rivers and sewers.

Are there other parables like this, our catastrophe, that came to us from their hands?
There are no other parables (all words are shades of shadow)—
And therein is the horror-striking expression: There are no other parables!
Every cruel torture that man may yet do to man in a Gentile country,
The future fashioner of parables will liken so: He was tortured like a Jew.


Uri Zvi Greenberg (22 september 1896 – 8 mei 1981)
Portret uit 1942

 

De Duitse dichter Barthold Heinrich Brockes werd geboren in Hamburg op 22 september 1680. Zie ook alle tags voor Barthold Heinrich Brockes op dit blog.

Gedanken bey dem Fall der Blätter im Herbst

In einem angenehmen Herbst, bey ganz entwölktem heiterm Wetter,
Indem ich im verdünnten Schatten, bald Blätter-loser Bäume, geh′,
Und des so schön gefärbten Laubes annoch vorhandnen Rest beseh′;
Befällt mich schnell ein sanfter Regen, von selbst herabgesunkner Blätter.

Ein reges Schweben füllt die Luft. Es zirkelt, schwärmt′ und drehte sich
Ihr bunt, sanft abwärts sinkend Heer; doch selten im geraden Strich.
Es schien die Luft, sich zu bemühn, den Schmuck, der sie bisher gezieret,
So lang es möglich, zu behalten, und hindert′ ihren schnellen Fall.
Hiedurch ward ihre leichte Last, im weiten Luft-Kreis überall,
In kleinen Zirkelchen bewegt, in sanften Wirbeln umgeführet,
Bevor ein jedes seinen Zweck, und seiner Mutter Schooß, berühret;
Um sie, bevor sie aufgelöst, und sich dem Sichtlichen entrücken,
Mit Decken, die weit schöner noch, als persianische, zu schmücken.

Ich hatte diesem sanften Sinken, der Blätter lieblichem Gewühl,
Und dem dadurch, in heitrer Luft, erregten angenehmen Spiel,
Der bunten Tropfen schwebendem, im lindem Fall formiertem, Drehn,
Mit offnem Aug′, und ernstem Denken, nun eine Zeitlang zugesehn;
Als ihr von dem geliebten Baum freywilligs Scheiden (da durch Wind,
Durch Regen, durch den scharfen Nord, sie nicht herabgestreifet sind;
Nein, willig ihren Sitz verlassen, in ihren ungezwungnen Fällen)
Nach ernstem Denken, mich bewog, sie mir zum Bilde vorzustellen,
Von einem wohlgeführten Alter, und sanftem Sterben; Die hingegen,
Die, durch der Stürme strengen Hauch, durch scharfen Frost, durch schwehren Regen
Von ihren Zweigen abgestreift und abgerissen, kommen mir,
Wie Menschen, die durch Krieg und Brand und Stahl gewaltsam fallen, für.

Wie glücklich, dacht′ ich, sind die Menschen, die den freywillgen Blättern gleichen,
Und, wenn sie ihres Lebens Ziel, in sanfter Ruh′ und Fried′, erreichen;
Der Ordnung der Natur zufolge, gelassen scheiden, und erbleichen!

 
Barthold Heinrich Brockes (22 september 1680 – 16 januari 1747)
Cover

Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Nick Cave, Fay Weldon, György Faludy, Hans Leip, Uri Zvi Greenberg, Rosamunde Pilcher, Nathan Hill

De Britse dichter en schrijver Dannie Abse werd geboren op 22 september 1923 in Cardiff, Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 22 september 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Dannie Abse op dit blog.

In the Theatre

Sister saying—‘Soon you’ll be back in the ward,’
sister thinking—‘Only two more on the list,’
the patient saying—‘Thank you, I feel fine’;
small voices, small lies, nothing untoward,
though, soon, he would blink again and again
because of the fingers of Lambert Rogers,
rash as a blind man’s, inside his soft brain.

If items of horror can make a man laugh
then laugh at this: one hour later, the growth
still undiscovered, ticking its own wild time;
more brain mashed because of the probe’s braille path;
Lambert Rogers desperate, fingering still;
his dresser thinking, ‘Christ! Two more on the list,
a cisternal puncture and a neural cyst.’

Then, suddenly, the cracked record in the brain,
a ventriloquist voice that cried, ‘You sod,
leave my soul alone, leave my soul alone,’—
the patient’s dummy lips moving to that refrain,
the patient’s eyes too wide. And, shocked,
Lambert Rogers drawing out the probe
with nurses, students, sister, petrified.

‘Leave my soul alone, leave my soul alone,’
that voice so arctic and that cry so odd
had nowhere else to go—till the antique
gramophone wound down and the words began
to blur and slow, ‘ … leave … my … soul … alone … ‘
to cease at last when something other died.
And silence matched the silence under snow.

 

Angels

Most are innocent, shy, will not undress.
They own neither genitals nor pubic hair.
Only the fallen of the hierarchy
make an appearance these secular days.

No longer useful as artists’ models,
dismissed by theologians, morale tends
to be low—even high class angels grumble
as they loiter in our empty churches.

Neutered, they hide when a gothic door opens.
Sudden light blinds them, footsteps deafen,
Welsh hymns stampede their shadows entirely.
Still their stink lingers, cold stone and incense.

But the fallen dare even to Downing Street,
astonish, fly through walls for their next trick;
spotlit, enter the dreams of the important,
slowly open their gorgeous, Carnaby wings.

 
Dannie Abse (22 september 1923 – 28 september 2014)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Nick Cave, Fay Weldon, György Faludy, Hans Leip, Uri Zvi Greenberg, Rosamunde Pilcher, Nathan Hill”

Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Nick Cave, Fay Weldon, György Faludy, Hans Leip

De Britse dichter en schrijver Dannie Abse werd geboren op 22 september 1923 in Cardiff, Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 22 september 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Dannie Abse op dit blog.

 

The Old Gods – Poem by Dannie Abse

The gods, old as night, don’t trouble us.
Poor weeping Venus! Her pubic hairs are grey,
and her magic love girdle has lost its spring.
Neptune wonders where he put his trident.
Mars is gaga – illusory vultures on the wing.

Pluto exhumed, blinks. My kind of world, he thinks.
Kidnapping and rape, like my Front Page exploits
adroitly brutal – but he looks out of sorts when
other unmanned gods shake their heads tut tut,
respond boastingly, boringly anecdotal.

Diana has done a bunk, fearing astronauts.
Saturn, Time on his hands, stares at nothing and
nothing stares back. Glum Bacchus talks ad nauseam
of cirrhosis and small bald Cupid, fiddling
with arrows, can’t recall which side the heart is.

All the old gods have become enfeebled,
mere playthings for poets. Few, doze or daft,
frolic on Parnassian clover. True, sometimes
summer light dies in a room – but only
a bearded profile in a cloud floats over.


Dannie Abse (Cardiff, 22 september 1923 – 28 september 2014)

 

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Nick Cave, Fay Weldon, György Faludy, Hans Leip”

Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Nick Cave, Fay Weldon, György Faludy, Hans Leip

De Britse dichter en schrijver Dannie Abse werd geboren op 22 september 1923 in Cardiff, Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 22 september 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Dannie Abse op dit blog.

Last Words

Splendidly, Shakespeare’s heroes,
Shakespeare’s heroines, once the spotlight’s on,
enact every night, with such grace, their verbose deaths.
Then great plush curtains, then smiling resurrection
to applause – and never their good looks gone.

The last recorded words too
of real kings, real queens, all the famous dead,
are but pithy pretences, quotable fictions
composed by anonymous men decades later,
never with ready notebooks at the bed.

Most do not know who they are
when they die or where they are, country or town,
nor which hand on their brow.
Some clapped-out actor may
imagine distant clapping, bow, but no real queen
will sigh, ‘Give me my robe, put on my crown.’

Death scenes not life-enhancing,
death scenes not beautiful nor with breeding;
yet bravo Sydney Carton, bravo Duc de Chavost
who, euphoric beside the guillotine, turned down
the corner of the page he was reading.

And how would I wish to go?
Not as in opera – that would offend –
nor like a blue-eyed cowboy shot and short of words,
but finger-tapping still our private morse,’…love you,’
before the last flowers and flies descend.

 

Ask the Moon

1
Wakeful past 3 a.m.
near the frontiers of Nothing
it’s easy, so easy
to imagine (like William Blake)
an archaic angel standing askew
in a cone of light
not of this world;

easy at this cheating hour
to believe an angel cometh
to touch babies’ skulls,
their fontanelles,
deleting the long memory
of generations—
the genesis of déjà vu;

easy to conceive angel-light
bright as that sudden
ordinary window
I saw at midnight
across the road
before the drawing of a blind.

 
Dannie Abse (Cardiff, 22 september 1923 – 28 september 2014)
Portret door Peter Douglas Edwards, 1980

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Nick Cave, Fay Weldon, György Faludy, Hans Leip”

Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Fay Weldon, György Faludy, Hans Leip

De Britse dichter en schrijver Dannie Abse werd geboren op 22 september 1923 in Cardiff, Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 22 september 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Dannie Abse op dit blog.

Moonbright

Afterwards, late, walking home from hospital,
that December hour too blatantly moonbright
‐ such an unworldly moon so widely round,
an orifice of scintillating arctic light –
I thought how the effrontery of a similar moon,
a Pirandello moon that could make men howl,
would, in future, bring back the eidolon
of you, father, propped high on pillow,
your mouth ajar, your nerveless hand in mine.

At home, feeling hollow, I shamelessly wept
‐ whether for you or myself I do not know.
Tonight a bracing wind makes my eyes cry
while a cloud dociles an impudent moon
that is and was, and is again, and was.

Men become mortal the night their fathers die.

 

Case History

‘Most Welshmen are worthless,
an inferior breed, doctor.’
He did not know I was Welsh.
Then he praised the architects
of the German death-camps–
did not know I was a Jew.
He called liberals, ‘White blacks’,
and continued to invent curses.

When I palpated his liver
I felt the soft liver of Goering;
when I lifted my stethoscope
I heard the heartbeats of Himmler;
when I read his encephalograph
I thought, ‘Sieg heil, mein Fuhrer.’

In the clinic’s dispensary
red berry of black bryony,
cowbane, deadly nightshade, deathcap.
Yet I prescribed for him
as if he were my brother.

Later that night I must have slept
on my arm: momentarily
my right hand lost its cunning.

 
Dannie Abse (Cardiff, 22 september 1923)
Portret door zijn zoon David Abse

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Fay Weldon, György Faludy, Hans Leip”

Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Fay Weldon, György Faludy

De Britse dichter en schrijver Dannie Abse werd geboren op 22 september 1923 in Cardiff, Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 22 september 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Dannie Abse op dit blog.

 

 

Talking to Myself

 

In the mildew of age
all pavements slope uphill

 

slow slow
towards an exit.

 

It’s late and light allows
the darkest shadow to be born of it.

 

Courage, the ventriloquist bird cries
(a little god, he is, censor of language)

 

remember plain Hardy and dandy Yeats
in their inspired wise pre-dotage.

 

I, old man, in my new timidity,
think how, profligate, I wasted time

 

– those yawning postponements on rainy days,
those paperhat hours of benign frivolity.

 

Now Time wastes me and there’s hardly time
to fuss for more vascular speech.

 

The aspen tree trembles as I do
and there are feathers in the wind.

 

Quick quick
speak, old parrot,
do I not feed you with my life?

 

 

 

The Origin Of Music

 

When I was a medical student
I stole two femurs of a baby
from The Pathology Specimen Room.
Now I keep them in my pocket,
the right femur and the left femur.
Like a boy scout, I’m prepared.
For what can one say to a neighbour
when his wife dies? ‘Sorry’?
Or when a friend’s sweet child
suffers leukaemia? ‘Condolences’?
No, if I should meet either friend
or stricken neighbour in the street
and he should tell me, whisper to me,
his woeful, intimate news,
wordless I take the two small femurs
from out of my pocket sadly
and play them like castanets.

 

 

Dannie Abse (Cardiff, 22 september 1923)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Fay Weldon, György Faludy”

Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Fay Weldon, György Faludy

De Britse dichter en schrijver Dannie Abse werd geboren op 22 september 1923 in Cardiff, Wales. Zie ook mijn blog van 22 september 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Dannie Abse op dit blog.

 

The Water Diviner

Late, I have come to a parched land

doubting my gift, if gift I have,

the inspiration of water

spilt, swallowed in the sand.

To hear once more water trickle,

to stand in a stretch of silence

the divining pen twisting in the hand:

sign of depths alluvial.

Water owns no permanent shape,

sags, is most itself descending;

now, under the shadow of the idol,

dry mouth and dry landscape.

No rain falls with a refreshing sound

to settle tubular in a well,

elliptical in a bowl. No grape

lusciously moulds it round.

Clouds have no constant resemblance

to anything, blown by a hot wind,

flying mirages; the blue background,

light constructions of chance.

To hold back chaos I transformed

amorphous mass—and fire and cloud—

so that the agèd gods might dance

and golden structures form.

I should have built, plain brick on brick,

a water tower. The sun flies on

arid wastes, barren hells too warm

and me with a hazel stick!

Rivulets vanished in the dust

long ago, great compositions

vaporized, salt on the tongue so thick

that drinking, still I thirst.

Repeated desert, recurring drought,

sometimes hearing water trickle,

sometimes not, I, by doubting first,

believe; believing, doubt.

 

The Uninvited


They came into our lives unasked for.
there was light momentarily, a flicker of wings,
a dance, a voice, and then they went out
again, like a light, leaving us not so much
in darkness, but in a different place
and alone as never before

so we have been changed.
and our vision no longer what it was,
and our hopes no longer what they were;
so a piece of us has gone out with them also,
a cold dream subtracted without malice,

the weight of another world added also,
and we did not ask, we did not ask ever
for those who stood smiling
and with flowers before the open door.

We did not beckon them in, they came in uninvited,
the sunset pouring from their shoulders;
so they walked through us as they would through water,
and we are here, in a different place,
changed and incredibly alone,
and we did not know, we do not know ever.

 


Dannie Abse (Cardiff, 22 september 1923)

Portret door Josef Herman, rond 1973

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dannie Abse, Lodewijk van Deyssel, Fay Weldon, György Faludy”