Come, dear Heart!
The fields are white to harvest: come and see
As in a glass the timeless mystery
Of love, whereby we feed
On God, our bread indeed.
Torn by the sickles, see him share the smart
Of travailing Creation: maimed, despised,
Yet by his lovers the more dearly prized
Because for us he lays his beauty down—
Last toll paid by Perfection for our loss!
Trace on these fields his everlasting Cross,
And o’er the stricken sheaves the Immortal Victim’s crown.
From far horizons came a Voice that said,
‘Lo! from the hand of Death take thou thy daily bread.’
Then I, awakening, saw
A splendour burning in the heart of things:
The flame of living love which lights the law
Of mystic death that works the mystic birth.
I knew the patient passion of the earth,
Maternal, everlasting, whence there springs
The Bread of Angels and the life of man.
Now in each blade
I, blind no longer, see
The glory of God’s growth: know it to be
An earnest of the Immemorial Plan.
Yea, I have understood
How all things are one great oblation made:
He on our altars, we on the world’s rood.
Even as this corn,
We are snatched from the sod;
Reaped, ground to grist,
Crushed and tormented in the Mills of God,
And offered at Life’s hands, a living Eucharist.
Uit: The Confessions of Nat Turner
“And that is that you not only had a fantastic amount of niggers who did not join up with you but there was a whole countless number of other niggers who was your active enemies. What I mean in simple terms, Reverend, is that once the alarm went out, there was niggers everywhere—who were as determined to protect and save their masters as you were to murder them. They was simply livin’ too well! All the time that you were carryin’ around in that fanatical head of your’n the notion that the niggers were going to latch on to your great mission, as you put it, an’ go off to some stinkin’ swamp, the actual reality was that nine out of ten of your fellow burrheads just wasn’t buyin’ any such durn fool ideas. Reverend, I have no doubt that it was your own race that contributed more to your fiasco than anything else. It just ain’t a race made for revolution, that’s all. That’s another reason that nigger slavery’s goin’ to last for a thousand years.” He rose from his seat across from me. “Well, I got to go, Reverend. I’ll see you tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’ll put down in my deposition to the court which precedes your confession that the defendant shows no remorse for his acts, and since he feels no guilt his plea will be that of ‘not guilty.’ Now, one last time, are you sure you feel no remorse at all? I mean, would you do it again if you had the chance? There’s still time to change your mind. It ain’t goin’ to save your neck but it’ll surer’n hell look better for you in court. Speak up, Reverend.” When I made no reply to him he left without further word. I heard the cell door slam shut and the bolt thud home in the slot with its slippery chunking sound. It was almost night again. I listened to the scrape and rustle of fallen leaves as the cold air swept them across the ground. I reached down to rub my numb and swollen ankles and I shivered in the wind, thinking: Remorse? Is it true that I really have no remorse or contrition or guilt for anything I’ve done? Is it maybe because I have no remorse that I can’t pray and that I know myself to be so removed from the sight of God? As I sat there, recollecting August, I felt remorse impossible to know or touch or find. All I could feel was an entombed, frustrate rage—rage at the white people we had killed and those we had failed to kill, rage at the quick and the dead, rage above all at those Negroes who refused us or fled us or who had become the enemy—those spiritless and spineless wretches who had turned against us. Rage even at our own minuscule force, which was so much smaller than the expected multitude! For although it ravaged my heart to accept it, I knew that Gray was not wrong: the black men had caused my defeat just as surely as the white. And so it had been on that last day, that Wednesday afternoon, when after having finally laid waste to twoscore dwellings and our force of fifty had rallied in the woods to storm Major Ridley’s place, I had caught sight for the first time of Negroes in great numbers with rifles and muskets at the barricaded veranda, firing back at us with as much passion and fury and even skill as their white owners and overseers who had gathered there to block our passage into Jerusalem.”
Het was het gewicht van de sleutel in haar zak
maar ze had hem nooit uit haar zak gehaald,
hij was daar onzichtbaar in gebleven.
Alleen het sleutelgat ontbrak,
ergens in de wereld was er een sleutelgat,
oud, van hout, dat er alleen was voor de sleutel.
Voor het eerst haalde ze de sleutel uit haar zak,
hij was oud, van hout, met een bekraste baard,
en ze zei tegen de sleutel in haar hand:
Het huis is van ons, we kennen het niet,
we kennen het huis niet, het is alleen maar van ons.
We hebben het niet gebouwd, gekocht, gestolen,
we hebben het niet nodig, het is alleen maar van ons.
We weten niet of de deur een grendel heeft
een gordijn of een sleutelgat.
Het huis is van ons, maar we kennen het niet.
Het huis is van ons, maar we kennen het niet.
Vertaald door Frans Roumen