Henry Longfellow, Wole Soyinka, Rien Vroegindeweij, Isaak Babel, Scott Symons, Rebecca Salentin

Dolce fa niente

 

Parijs na de regen door Andrej Ostapchuk, 2019


Rain in Summer

How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!
How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout!
Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!
The sick man from his chamber looks
At the twisted brooks;
He can feel the cool
Breath of each little pool;
His fevered brain
Grows calm again,
And he breathes a blessing on the rain.
From the neighboring school
Come the boys,
With more than their wonted noise
And commotion;
And down the wet streets
Sail their mimic fleets,
Till the treacherous pool
Ingulfs them in its whirling
And turbulent ocean.
In the country, on every side,
Where far and wide,
Like a leopard’s tawny and spotted hide,
Stretches the plain,
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain!
In the furrowed land
The toilsome and patient oxen stand;
Lifting the yoke encumbered head,
With their dilated nostrils spread,
They silently inhale
The clover-scented gale,
And the vapors that arise
From the well-watered and smoking soil.
For this rest in the furrow after toil
Their large and lustrous eyes
Seem to thank the Lord,
More than man’s spoken word.
Near at hand,
From under the sheltering trees,
The farmer sees
His pastures, and his fields of grain,
As they bend their tops
To the numberless beating drops
Of the incessant rain.
He counts it as no sin
That he sees therein
Only his own thrift and gain.
These, and far more than these,
The Poet sees!
He can behold
Aquarius old
Walking the fenceless fields of air;
And from each ample fold
Of the clouds about him rolled
Scattering everywhere
The showery rain,
As the farmer scatters his grain.
He can behold
Things manifold
That have not yet been wholly told,–
Have not been wholly sung nor said.
For his thought, that never stops,
Follows the water-drops
Down to the graves of the dead,
Down through chasms and gulfs profound,
To the dreary fountain-head
Of lakes and rivers under ground;
And sees them, when the rain is done,
On the bridge of colors seven
Climbing up once more to heaven,
Opposite the setting sun.
Thus the Seer,
With vision clear,
Sees forms appear and disappear,
In the perpetual round of strange,
Mysterious change
From birth to death, from death to birth,
From earth to heaven, from heaven to earth;
Till glimpses more sublime
Of things, unseen before,
Unto his wondering eyes reveal
The Universe, as an immeasurable wheel
Turning forevermore
In the rapid and rushing river of Time.

 

Henry Longfellow (27 februari 1807 – 24 maart 1882)
Portland, Maine. Wharf Street na de regen. Henry Longfellow werd geboren in Portland

 

De Nigeriaanse dichter, schrijver en voorvechter van democratie Akinwande Oluwole “Wole” Soyinka werd geboren op 13 juli 1934 in Abeokuta. Zie ook alle tags voor Wole Soyinka op dit blog.

Uit: Aké. The Years of Childhood

“The bedroom door opened and mother peeped in. Seeing me awake she entered, and was followed in by father. When I asked for Osiki, she gave me a peculiar look and turned to say something to father. I was not too sure, but it sounded as if she wanted father to tell Osiki that killing me was not going to guarantee him my share of iyan. I studied their faces intently as they asked me how I felt, if I had a headache or a fever and if I would like some tea. Neither would touch on the crucial question, so finally I decided to put an end to my suspense. I asked them what they had done with my dansiki.
‘It’s going to be washed,’ mother said, and began to crush a halftablet in a spoon for me to take.
‘What did you do with the blood?’
She stopped, they looked at each other. Father frowned a little and reached forward to place his hand on my forehead. I shook my head anxiously, ignoring the throb of pain this provoked.
‘Have you washed it away?’ I persisted.
Again they looked at each other. Mother seemed about to speak but fell silent as my father raised his hand and sat on the bed, close to my head. Keeping his eyes on me he drew out a long, ‘No-o-o-o-o.’
I sank back in relief. ‘Because, you see, you mustn’t. It wouldn’t matter if I had merely cut my hand or stubbed my toe or something like that – not much blood comes out when that happens. But I saw this one, it was too much. And it comes from my head. So you must squeeze it out and pump it back into my head. That way I can go back to school at once.’
My father nodded agreement, smiling. ‘How did you know that was the right thing to do?’
I looked at him in some surprise, ‘But everybody knows.’
Then he wagged his finger at me, ‘Ah-ha, but what you don’t know is that we have already done it. It’s all back in there, while you were asleep. I used Dipo’s feeding-bottle to pour it back.’
I was satisfied. ‘I’ll be ready for school tomorrow’ I announced.”

Wole Soyinka (Abeokuta, 13 juli 1934)


De Nederlandse dichter en (toneel)schrijver Rien Vroegindeweij werd geboren in Middelharnis op 13 juli 1944. Zie ook alle tags voor Rien Vroegindeweij op dit blog.

Onweer

Ik hou van de hete zon
die schittert op de rivier
en ik ben gek op de eerste
kou van de winter. Ik hou

van de zon die ondergaat
en zou, als ik de kans kreeg,
ook genieten van een kort
doch hevig bosbrandje. Ik hou

van mijn moeder die oud is
en na een godvruchtig leven
niet weet wat het worden zal,
de hel of de hemel. Ik lijk

op haar omdat mijn dochter
op haar lijkt. Maar ik maak
haar niet bang met het vuur
dat opstijgt rond de zondaars.

Noch vrolijk ik haar op
met het vooruitzicht op hemels
gezang: als zij mijn hand vast
houdt, durf ik voor het raam

te staan, als zij lacht om mijn
oud geloof dat God in de donder
spreekt, praat zij hem na
en zegt: boemdereboemboemboem.

 

Dierbaar

Niet de aap maar het paard
lijkt het meest op de mens,
als je ’t in de ogen kijkt.

Of sla de boeken erop na,
veldslagen, ontdekkingsreizen,
de melkboer in de straat.

Held van ’t wilde Westen,
ruilobject voor koninkrijken,
verlosser van de filosoof.

Hier en daar staat op een plein
in brons een krijgsheer op zijn paard,
– dat zou andersom moeten zijn.

Rien Vroegindeweij (Middelharnis, 13 juli 1944)

 

De Russische schrijver Isaak Emmanuïlovitsj Babel werd geboren in Odessa op 13 juli 1894. Zie ook alle tags voor Isaak Babel op dit blog.

Uit: De geschiedenis van mijn duiventil (Vertaald door Froukje Slofstra)

“In onze winkel zat een klant, een boer, zich besluiteloos het hoofd te krabben. Toen hij mij zag, liet mijn vader de boer achter en hij hoorde gretig, zonder enige scepsis, mijn verhaal aan. Hij riep de bediende om de winkel te sluiten en snelde naar de Sobornaja-straat om een pet met het schoolembleem voor mij te kopen. Mijn arme moeder kon me nauwelijks van die uitzinnige man wegrukken. Mijn moeder zag bleek op dat moment en peilde het lot. Ze aaide over mijn hoofd en duwde me dan weer vol weerzin weg. Ze zei dat de krant de namen publiceerde van de jongens die waren toegelaten tot het gymnasium en dat God ons zou straffen en de mensen ons zouden uitlachen als we voortijdig een schooluniform kochten. Mijn moeder zag bleek, ze peilde het lot in mijn ogen en keek naar me met bitter medelijden, als naar een kreupele, omdat alleen zij wist hoe ongelukkig onze familie was.
Alle mannen van ons geslacht waren te goed van vertrouwen en geneigd tot ondoordachte daden, we hadden nergens geluk in gehad. Mijn grootvader was ooit rabbijn geweest in Belaja Tserkov, hij was wegens godslastering verjaagd en had nog veertig jaar tumultueus en armoedig verder geleefd, vreemde talen gestudeerd, en vanaf zijn tachtigste zijn verstand verloren. Mijn oom Lev, de broer van mijn vader, had aan de jesjiva in Volozjin gestudeerd, was in 1892 weggelopen uit de militaire dienst en had de dochter ontvoerd van een intendant die in het militaire district Kiev diende. Oom Lev had die vrouw meegenomen naar Californië, naar Los Angeles, had haar daar in de steek gelaten en was gestorven in een dubieus huis, tussen negers en Maleiers. Na zijn dood stuurde de Amerikaanse politie ons zijn erfenis uit Los Angeles: een grote hutkoffer, beslagen met bruine ijzeren banden. In die koffer zaten halters, lokken vrouwenhaar, mijn grootvaders talliet, zweepjes met vergulde handgrepen en bloementhee in met goedkope parels versierde kistjes. Van de hele familie waren alleen mijn krankzinnige oom Simon, die in Odessa woonde, mijn vader en ik over. Maar mijn vader was te goed van vertrouwen, hij beledigde de mensen met zijn uitgelaten, idolate onthaal, dat vergaven ze hem niet en ze bedrogen hem. Mijn vader geloofde derhalve dat zijn leven werd geregeerd door een kwade genius, een ondoorgrondelijk wezen dat hem achtervolgde en in niets op hem leek. En dus was ik voor mijn moeder de enige die overbleef van onze hele familie.”

Isaak Babel (13 juli 1894 – 27 januari 1940)
De Potjomkintrappen in Odessa


De Canadese schrijver Scott Symons werd geboren op 13 juli 1933 in Toronto. Zie ook alle tags voor Scott Symons op dit blog.

Uit: Place d’Armes

“To rest a moment … slowly it focused him … drew him out again — he heard the thunder of the candles … and again his eardrums were probed and penetrant — again he lost his male maidenhead … he reeled, held tight, and then relented … gave himself to the verity … and as he did he felt his eyes palped by the entrelacings of the gilt pillars .. and he followed the line of gold, up to the gold florescence under the balcony — to the scallopings of wood frieze … and he knew that he had to abandon himself to this … had to give to this — give himself to this. There was no other viable alternative. No other way — not out — but in. No other truth. Everything else was shadow. … for a moment the veil dropped again — threatened to drop — he tried to make his eye bounce back off the entrelacs … briefly he succeeded — yet he knew that if the veil did drop, he was lost — that once again he was still-born…. He looked back at the writhings of the gold … and as his eye turned to them, they shot in, under his guard, before he even knew what had happened … shot into him, writhing and convulsing — the candles raged in him — again he tried to close down — to shut out this realization … but now it was too late, gloriously, with absolute finality, too late … his whole body soared from the pew — followed his eyeballs in with the entrelacings … the roof lifted and he was adrift absolutely, afloat … no longer was there any question of details, of itemization — all that had gone now … he was confounded in utter conjugation with the body of the Church — it was militant in him. He turned — and staggered out … the Place d’Armes was outrageously alive in him … detonating everywhere, everything, in a profusion of knowledge … suddenly every detail was searingly evident — each outline blared in him, and the mass of the square raged in him … he saw the beaver again … and as he did heard the thunder of the candles … his throat swole, his eyes blazed … ca creve les yeux, Pierre had said — he was right — it stabbed your eyes out … no in … stabbed his eyes back in…. He was haemorrhaging now … could feel the stream of blood blurting from him … hideously alive…. La Place….The Place … he could see the Place … he started to shout … “La Place … it’s there … don’t you see … La Place … Look….” And he started to run toward the statue of Maisonneuve … and his run became a dance, his whole body vibrant, like the dancers in the nightclub, like the old High Altar by Quevillon in the Church, that was (he knew it now) the same altar as in his dream at home, as sideboard of hospitality, like the commode in the Flesh Market, like the sternum of the Lesser Sphinx … out into La Place, grasping Holy Host to place it in the very centre of La Place.”

Scott Symons (13 juli 1933 – 23 februari 2009)
Toronto 


De Duitse schrijfster Rebecca Salentin werd geboren op 13 juli 1979 in Eschweiler. Zie ook alle tags voor Rebecca Salentin op dit blog.

Uit: Hintergrundwissen eines Klavierstimmers

„Die Übelkeit müsse wohl eine Form der Vorahnung gewesen sein. Denn noch nie war das Gewissen so hinterrücks über den Klavierstimmer hergefallen wie an jenem Tag. Jahrelang hatte Kazimierz das Gefühl der Scham mit sich herumgetragen, ohne zu wissen, wofür er sich schämte. In den letzten Tagen hatte er sich eingestanden, dass es die Mitwisserschaft war, die ihm ein Dauergefühl der Scham verursachte, dass ihm davon übel wurde. Dazu war eine Macke, ein Tick gekommen, den er sich selbst nie hatte erklären können: Wo immer er auch ging oder stand, was immer er auch tat, ständig sah der Klavierstimmer sich fallen, ausrutschen, stürzen und seinen Kopf auf Kanten knallen. Er sah sich, wie er sich den Schädel an Klavieren und Flügeln stieß, er sah sich auf Bordsteinkanten stürzen, wo sein Kopf blutig aufschlug. Er sah sich auf Treppen ausrutschen, den Hinterkopf hart auf den Stufen aufprallen, er sah sich gegen die Straßenbahnwagen laufen, deren Elektrizität ihm immer noch Angst einjagte, obwohl sie schon seit einigen Jahren die pferdebetriebene ersetzte, und sah seinen Kopf von der Härte des Aufpralls aus Nacken und Genick reißen. Fuhr er doch einmal mit der Straßenbahn, klammerte er sich mit schwitzigen Handflächen an die Metallstangen, dass es in den Kurven nur so quietschte, damit er nicht bei jeder Station den Halt verlöre und mit dem Kopf gegen Holzbänke, heruntergeklappte Fenster oder andere Passagiere stoße. Tischkanten musste er umklammern, um vor einer Kollision mit ihnen gefeit zu sein. Wenn er abends zu Bett lag und die Termine des nächsten Tages ordnete oder Vergangenes Revue passieren ließ, so sah er sich jedes Mal in dem Moment, in dem er das Wort ergriff, um seine eigene Meinung kundzutun, keine streitende oder rechthaberische, nein, nur seine ganz persönliche Meinung, in dem Moment, wo die Worte aus seinem Mund kamen und die Gesichter sich ihm zuwandten, sah er sich stürzen. Es reichte schon der Gedanke daran, Lieba oder Dawid um ein Brot zu bitten, und er sah seinen Kiefer auf ihre Verkaufstheke krachen, dass seine restlichen Zähne zersplitterten. Nie war eine dieser schmerzvollen Visionen Wirklichkeit geworden, er kannte andere seines Alters, die wirklich stürzten und fielen, er hatte sich jedoch, aus Angst vor dem Sturz, einen langsamen tastenden Gang angewöhnt. Er war immer sehr aufmerksam, besah jeden Schritt seiner Wege genau, schätzte alle Gefahren im Umkreis von einigen Metern mit den Augen ab, bevor er sich ein Gefühl der Entspannung zugestand. An diesem Nachmittag, in Karols Stube, hatte er sich gefragt, ob es die Ereignisse im dwór, zwanzig Jahre zuvor, gewesen waren, die ihm derart den Boden unter den Füßen wegzogen.“

Rebecca Salentin (Eschweiler, 13 juli 1979)
Cover


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 13e juli ook mijn blog van 13 juli 2018 en ook mijn blog van 13 juli 2016 en ook mijn blog van 13 juli 2014 deel 1 en ook deel 2.

Cynan Jones, John Steinbeck, Ruy Belo, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, James T. Farrell, Irwin Shaw

De Welshe schrijver Cynan Jones werd geboren op 27 februari 1975 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Cynan Jones op dit blog.

Uit: Cove

He swings the fish from the water, a wild stripe flicking and flashing into the boat, and grabs the line, twisting the hook out, holding the fish down in the footrests. It gasps, thrashes. Drums. Something rapid and primal, ceremonial, in the shallow of the open boat.
Flecks of blood and scales loosen, as if turning to rainbows in his hands as he picks up the fish and breaks its neck, feels the minute rim of teeth inside its jaw on the pad of his forefinger, puts his thumb behind the head and snaps.
The jaw splits and the gills splay, like an opening flower. He was sure he would catch fish. He left just a simple note, ‘Pick salad x’.
He looks briefly towards the inland cliffs, hoping the peregrine might be there, scanning as he patiently undoes the knot of traces, pares the feathers away from each other until they are free and feeds them out. The boat is flecked. Glittered. A heat come to the morning now, convincing and thick.
The kayak lilts. Weed floats. He thinks of her hair in water. The same darkened blonde colour.
It’s unusual to catch only one. Or it was just a straggler. The edge of the shoal.
He retrieves a carrier bag from the drybag in back and puts the fish safe, the metal of it dulling immediately to cloth in his hands. Then he bails out the blood-rusted water that has come into the boat.
Fish don’t have eyelids, remember. In this bright water, it’s likely they are deeper out. He’s been hearing his father’s voice for the last few weeks now. I’ve got this one, though. That’s enough. That’s lunch anyway. The bay lay just a little way north. It was a short paddle from the flat beach inland of him, with the caravans on the low fields above, but it felt private. His father long ago had told him they were the only ones that knew about the bay and that was a good thing between them to believe.
You’ll set the pan on a small fire and cook the mackerel as you used to do together, in the pats of butter you took from the roadside cafe. The butter will be liquid by now, and you will have to squeeze it from the wrapper like an ointment.
He smiled at catching the fish. That part of the day safe.
I should bring her here. All these years and I haven’t. It’s different now. I should bring her.
The bones in the cooling pan, fingers sticky with the toffee of burnt butter.

 
Cynan Jones (Aberystwyth, 27 februari 1975)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Cynan Jones, John Steinbeck, Ruy Belo, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, James T. Farrell, Irwin Shaw”

Cynan Jones, John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, James T. Farrell, Irwin Shaw

De Welshe schrijver Cynan Jones werd geboren op 27 februari 1975 in Aberystwyth, Wales. Zie ook alle tags voor Cynan Jones op dit blog.

Uit: The Dig

“The policeman opened the door, looked at the deep mud of the yard, and got deliberately out.
Set back from the window, the man watched him through the gap in the curtains. He watched him scan the place. The policeman was young and he was not a policeman the big man had seen before.
The policeman bent through the car door and pushed the horn twice.
What do I do here? thought the man. He wished he’d left one of the big dogs off but knew even through the coal it would scent the badger and bother it. If I stay in the house, he’ll start looking round, thought the man. Ag.
The policeman had started to walk toward the house from the car and the big man came out.
Afternoon, sir. It’s clearing up, the policeman said. The policeman looked at the man and looked out as if at the weather over the valley.
The big man just nodded.
Few questions, really, sir. The policeman was light and inoffensive the way they are and the man moved to bring him away from the house.
Can you tell me what you were doing last night, or early this morning?
The big man didn’t reply.
The policeman looked around at the yard and privately noticed the two sets of tire tracks that were cut into the mud and that were not filled with overnight rain. He saw the old red van and guessed one set belonged to that. The policeman took in the many dumped engines and tires and the wastage of vehicles and machines about.
We’ve had a report of fly-tipping. He waited. I just wanted to ask whether you would know anything about that.
What did they tip? asked the man.
The policeman didn’t respond. He was looking at the junk and the big man saw and said, Does it look like I throw things away?”

 
Cynan Jones (Aberystwyth, 27 februari 1975)

 

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Cynan Jones, John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, James T. Farrell, Irwin Shaw”

Dolce far niente, Henry Longfellow, Joseph Boyden, John Kea

Dolce far niente – Bij Halloween

 

 
The Haunted House door John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1874

 

Haunted Houses

All houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go,
Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,
As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear;
He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense
A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires;
The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.

These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high,
Come from the influence of an unseen star
An undiscovered planet in our sky.

And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o’er the sea a floating bridge of light,
Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,—

So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.

 


Henry Longfellow (27 februari 1807 – 24 maart 1882)
West End Halloween Parade in Portland, Maine. Lomfellow werd geboren in Portland.

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Dolce far niente, Henry Longfellow, Joseph Boyden, John Kea”

John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, James T. Farrell

De Amerikaanse schrijver John Steinbeck werd geboren in Salinas, Californië, op 27 februari 1902. Zie ook alle tags voor John Steinbeck op dit blog.

Uit: Cannery Row

“On the black earth on which the ice plants bloomed, hundreds of black stink bugs crawled. And many of them stuck their tails up in the air. “Look at all them stink bugs,” Hazel remarked, grateful to the bugs for being there.
“They’re interesting,” said Doc.
“Well, what they got their asses up in the air for?”
Doc rolled up his wool socks and put them in the rubber boots and from his pocket he brought out dry socks and a pair of thin moccasins. “I don’t know why,” he said. “I looked them up recently–they’re very common animals and one of the commonest things they do is put their tails up in the air. And in all the books there isn’t one mention of the fact that they put their tails up in the air or why.”
Hazel turned one of the stink bugs over with the toe of his wet tennis shoe and the shining black beetle strove madly with floundering legs to get upright again. “Well, why do you think they do it?”
“I think they’re praying,” said Doc.
“What!” Hazel was shocked.
“The remarkable thing,” said Doc, “isn’t that they put their tails up in the air–the really incredibly remarkable thing is that we find it remarkable. We can only use ourselves as yardsticks. If we did something as inexplicable and strange we’d probably be praying–so maybe they’re praying.”
“Let’s get the hell out of here,” said Hazel.”
(…)

“Hazel used his trick. “They got no starfish there?”
“They got no ocean there” said Doc.
“Oh!” said Hazel and he cast frantically about for a peg to hang a new question on. He hated to have a conversation die out like this. He wasn’t quick enough. While he was looking for a question Doc asked one. Hazel hated that, it meant casting about in his mind for an answer and casting about in Hazel’s mind was like wandering alone in a deserted museum. Hazel’s mind was choked with uncataloged exhibits. …”

 
John Steinbeck (27 februari 1902 – 20 december 1968)
Affiche voor de film “Cannary Row” uit 1982

Doorgaan met het lezen van “John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, James T. Farrell”

John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, James T. Farrell

De Amerikaanse schrijver John Steinbeck werd geboren in Salinas, Californië, op 27 februari 1902. Zie ook alle tags voor John Steinbeck op dit blog.

Uit: Travels with Charley

« The next passage in my journey is a love affair. I am in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection, but with Montana it is love, and it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it. Once, when I raptured in a violet glow given off by the Queen of the World, my father asked me why, and I thought he was crazy not to see. Of course I know now she was a mouse-haired, freckle-nosed, scabby-kneed little girl with a voice like a bat and the loving kindness of a gila monster, but then she lighted up the landscape and me. It seems to me that Montana is a great splash of grandeur. The scale is huge but not overpowering. The land is rich with grass and color, and the mountains are the kind I would create if mountains were ever put on my agenda. Montana seems to me to be what a small boy would think Texas is like from hearing Texans. Here for the first time I heard a definite regional accent unaffected by TV-ese, a slow-paced warm speech. It seemed to me that the frantic bustle of America was not in Montana. Its people did not seem afraid of shadows in a John Birch Society sense. The calm of the mountains and the rolling grasslands had got into the inhabitants. It was hunting season when I drove through the state. The men I talked to seemed to me not moved to a riot of seasonal slaughter but simply to be going out to kill edible meat. Again my attitude may be informed by love, but it seemed to me that the towns were places to live in rather than nervous hives. People had time to pause in their occupations to undertake the passing art of neighborliness.
I found I did not rush through the towns to get them over with. I even found things I had to buy to make myself linger. In Billings I bought a hat, in Livingston a jacket, in Butte a rifle I didn’t particularly need, a Remington bolt-action .22, secondhand but in beautiful condition.”

 
John Steinbeck (27 februari 1902 – 20 december 1968)
Hier met Charley

Doorgaan met het lezen van “John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, James T. Farrell”

John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, James T. Farrell

De Amerikaanse schrijver John Steinbeck werd geboren in Salinas, Californië, op 27 februari 1902. Zie ook alle tags voor John Steinbeck op dit blog.

Uit: Travels with Charley

“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age.In middle age I was assured greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ships’s whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage. In other words, once a bum always a bum. I fear this disease incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to inform myself….A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
(…)

“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”
(…)

“Once Charley fell in love with a dachshund, a romance racially unsuitable, physically ridiculous, and mechanically impossible. But all these problems Charley ignored. He loved deeply and tried dogfully.”

 
John Steinbeck (27 februari 1902 – 20 december 1968)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, Elisabeth Borchers, James T. Farrell”

The Three Kings (Henry Longfellow)

Bij het feest van Driekoningen

 

 
De aanbidding van de Drie Koningen door Corregio, rond 1518

 

The Three Kings

Three Kings came riding from far away,
Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar;
Three Wise Men out of the East were they,
And they travelled by night and they slept by day,
For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

The star was so beautiful, large and clear,
That all the other stars of the sky
Became a white mist in the atmosphere,
And by this they knew that the coming was near
Of the Prince foretold in the prophecy.

Three caskets they bore on their saddle-bows,
Three caskets of gold with golden keys;
Their robes were of crimson silk with rows
Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows,
Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees.

And so the Three Kings rode into the West,
Through the dusk of the night, over hill and dell,
And sometimes they nodded with beard on breast,
And sometimes talked, as they paused to rest,
With the people they met at some wayside well.

“Of the child that is born,” said Baltasar,
“Good people, I pray you, tell us the news;
For we in the East have seen his star,
And have ridden fast, and have ridden far,
To find and worship the King of the Jews.”

And the people answered, “You ask in vain;
We know of no King but Herod the Great!”
They thought the Wise Men were men insane,
As they spurred their horses across the plain,
Like riders in haste, who cannot wait.

And when they came to Jerusalem,
Herod the Great, who had heard this thing,
Sent for the Wise Men and questioned them;
And said, “Go down unto Bethlehem,
And bring me tidings of this new king.”

So they rode away; and the star stood still,
The only one in the grey of morn;
Yes, it stopped –it stood still of its own free will,
Right over Bethlehem on the hill,
The city of David, where Christ was born.

And the Three Kings rode through the gate and the guard,
Through the silent street, till their horses turned
And neighed as they entered the great inn-yard;
But the windows were closed, and the doors were barred,
And only a light in the stable burned.

And cradled there in the scented hay,
In the air made sweet by the breath of kine,
The little child in the manger lay,
The child, that would be king one day
Of a kingdom not human, but divine.

His mother Mary of Nazareth
Sat watching beside his place of rest,
Watching the even flow of his breath,
For the joy of life and the terror of death
Were mingled together in her breast.

They laid their offerings at his feet:
The gold was their tribute to a King,
The frankincense, with its odor sweet,
Was for the Priest, the Paraclete,
The myrrh for the body’s burying.

And the mother wondered and bowed her head,
And sat as still as a statue of stone,
Her heart was troubled yet comforted,
Remembering what the Angel had said
Of an endless reign and of David’s throne.

Then the Kings rode out of the city gate,
With a clatter of hoofs in proud array;
But they went not back to Herod the Great,
For they knew his malice and feared his hate,
And returned to their homes by another way.

 

 
Henry Longfellow (27 februari 1807 – 24 maart 1882)
Portland in Kersttijd. Henry Longfellow werd geboren in Portland.

 

Zie voor de schrijvers van de 6e januari ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.

Christmas Bells (Henry Longfellow)

Aan alle bezoekers en mede-bloggers een Prettig Kerstfeest!

 

 
Les chanteurs de Noël door Gustave Brion, 1858

 

Christmas Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!

 

 
Henry Longfellow (27 februari 1807 – 24 maart 1882)
Portland. Henry Longfellow werd geboren in Portland.

 

Zie voor de schrijvers van de 26e december ook mijn vier vorige blogs van vandaag.

John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, James T. Farrell

De Amerikaanse schrijver John Steinbeck werd geboren in Salinas, Californië, op 27 februari 1902. Zie ook alle tags voor John Steinbeck op dit blog.

Uit: East of Eden

“The summer sun drove it underground. It was not a fine river at all, but it was the only one we had and so we boasted about it—how dangerous it was in a wet winter and how dry it was in a dry summer. You can boast about anything if it’s all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.

The floor of the Salinas Valley, between the ranges and below the foothills, is level because this valley used to be the bottom of a hundred-mile inlet from the sea. The river mouth at Moss Landing was centuries ago the entrance to this long inland water. Once, fifty miles down the valley, my father bored a well. The drill came up first with topsoil and then with gravel and then with white sea sand full of shells and even pieces of whalebone. There were twenty feet of sand and then black earth again, and even a piece of redwood, that imperishable wood that does not rot. Before the inland sea the valley must have been a forest. And those things had happened right under our feet. And it seemed to me sometimes at night that I could feel both the sea and the redwood forest before it.

James Dean, Richard Davalos en Julie Harris in de film van Elias Kazan, 1955

 

On the wide level acres of the valley the topsoil lay deep and fertile. It required only a rich winter of rain to make it break forth in grass and flowers. The spring flowers in a wet year were unbelievable. The whole valley floor, and the foothills too, would be carpeted with lupins and poppies. Once a woman told me that colored flowers would seem more bright if you added a few white flowers to give the colors definition. Every petal of blue lupin is edged with white, so that a field of lupins is more blue than you can imagine. And mixed with these were splashes of California poppies. These too are of a burning color—not orange, not gold, but if pure gold were liquid and could raise a cream, that golden cream might be like the color of the poppies. When their season was over the yellow mustard came up and grew to a great height. When my grandfather came into the valley the mustard was so tall that a man on horseback showed only his head above the yellow flowers. On the uplands the grass would be strewn with buttercups, with hen-and-chickens, with black-centered yellow violets. And a little later in the season there would be red and yellow stands of Indian paintbrush. These were the flowers of the open places exposed to the sun.”

John Steinbeck (27 februari 1902 – 20 december 1968)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, James T. Farrell”