Tatamkhulu Afrika, Dirk Stermann, Johann Nestroy, Joyce Cary, Gabriel Marcel, Willa Cather, Noam Chomsky, Friedrich Schlögl, Samuel Gottlieb Bürde

De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook alle tags voor Tatamkhulu Afrika op dit blog.

Uit: Bitter Eden

“Down at the dead end of the beach, I wash my face in the tideless sea, stare out over the still darkened warm-as-blood water to the skyline that has become a cage’s prohibitive ring, go back, then, to the higher, now sunlit land where silent men are smashing rifles over rocks with the ferocity of those who wrestle serpents with their bare hands. I pass what is clearly an officer’s tent. It is dug in until only the ridge shows, neat steps leading down. Outside, a batman is washing a china plate, saucer, cup, his pug-dog peasant’s face seemingly unconcerned, but it does not raise from its staring down at the trembling of the hands. I pass another tent sunk in the sand. Again the ubiqui-tous robot’s playing games, denying midnight now. Frenziedly the hands polish the buttons on an officer’s tunic, button-stick inserted round the buttons so that the Brasso will not whiten the sullen cloth, bring upon the hands a comic wrath. The tunic’s shoulder flaps flaunt a crown. I am thinking ‘Christr, beating back bile. He is coming towards me, studying the anonymity of my fatigues, two pips glinting on his shoulders, sandy hair lifting in the awakening wind. The hair, the prissy pursing of the lips, the button mushroom eyes, warn of the worst of the breed and I snap him my still smart training college salute. He floppy-chops an arm back, barks, ‘Unit and rank?’ I think to tell him I am Colonel this-or-that because how would he — now — ever find out otherwise, but the solemnness in the air like bells’ dissuades me and I say, ‘Ser-geant. Second Divisional Headquarters. Sir!’ His eyes widen a little as he balances between surprise and what I suspect is a chronic tendency to disbelieve. ‘Div. H.Q? What do you do at Div. H.Q.?’ There is a slight em-phasis on the ‘you’. `Chemical Warfare Intelligence and Training. Sir!’ He is impressed and it shows in a slight inclining to me of stance and tone, and something like a greediness of the eyes, which makes no sense and which I dismiss as a stress-induced fancifulness of the mind. `Do you want to hand yourself over like a sheep or make a break?’ His voice is casual but his glance is sharp and I hear myself saying, ‘Make a break,’ even though previously there had been no thought of that in my mind. I am honest enough to admit that I am no hero and, even now, I am painfully aware that my excitement at the prospect of escape only slightly exceeds my congenital dread. `Get in that truck then,’ he says and indicates a battered three-tonner a few paces off. ‘Where’s your kit? Are you armed?’ `No kit, sir. No arms.’ Even as the words still sound, I realize what I’m saying and I hump not my kit but my shame as I for the first time am faced by the fact that I never even thought of retrieving my kit from the anti-gas truck before I set the latter alight.“

Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)


De Duits-Oostenrijkse schrijver, presentator en cabaretier Dirk Stermann werd geboren op 7 december 1965 in Duisburg. Zie ook alle tags voor Dirk Stermann op dit blog.

Uit: Kurz & Klein

„Mein Name ist Caspar. Manchmal gehe ich gern in den Wald. Manchmal aber auch nicht. Im Wald da gibt es Bäume. Ich kenne Eichen und Fichten und die Bäume, die man zu Weihnachten in die Häuser stellt. Die heißen Tannen. Die meisten Bäume sind ganz schön hoch, es gibt aber auch welche, die sind nicht so hoch. Wenn die Hohen umkippen, muss man ganz schnell in Deckung gehen, weil sonnst hauen die einen um. Ich hab deswegen Angst vor den hohen Bäumen. Die Kleinen sind ja nicht so schlimm. Wenn die umkippen. find ich das lustig. Meine Freunde und ich machen das oft. Im Wald da gibt es sonnen Tümpel oder so und da drin sind Frösche. Viele Frösche. Denen stecken wir ein Strohhalm hinten rein und blasen die dann auf. Die werden dann ganz dick, dann kann man Fußball mit den spielen. Wer den dicksten bläst, hat gewonnen. Meistens gewinn ich nie nicht, :aber manchmal doch. Da gibt es auch noch so andere Tiere, die erschrecken wir immer. Man braucht nur in die Hände klatschen, dann hauen die schon ah. So feige sind die. Der Michael ist mein Freund und hat gesagt, daß er Tiere doof findet. Das find ich nicht. Ich finde, man kann sie ja immerhin aufblasen und erschrecken und so. Und viele Menschen haben ja auch Tiere zu Hause. Nicht nur Weihnachten wie die Tannen, sondern ich glaub immer. Aber das sind ja auch ganz andere Tiere. Nicht so richtige. Die beißen einen ja auch. Michael wurde neulich von einem gebissen. Der mußte dann ins Krankenhaus und da haben die den mit einer Nadel und einem Nähgarn genäht. Ich glaub, ich find Tiere doch doof. Am liebsten spiele ich bei uns auf der Straße.“

Dirk Stermann (Duisburg, 7 december 1965)


De Oostenrijkse dichter en schrijver Johann Nepomuk Eduard Ambrosius Nestroy werd geboren in Wenen op 7 december 1801. Zie ook alle tags voor Johann Nestroy op dit blog.


Diese graue Wolkenschar
Stieg aus einem Meer von Freuden;
Heute muß ich dafür leiden,
Daß ich gestern glücklich war.

Ach, in Wermut hat verkehrt
Sich der Nektar! Ach, wie quälend,
Katzenjammer, Hundeelend
Herz und Magen mir beschwert!


Ein steiler Felsen ist der Ruhm

Ein steiler Felsen ist der Ruhm,
Ein Lorbeerbaum wächst darauf.
Viel kraxeln drum und dran herum,
Doch wenig kommen ‘nauf;
Darneben ist ein Präzipiß,
’s geht kerzengrad hinab,
Da drunnt’ ein Holz zu finden is,
Es heißt der Bettelstab.

Wer nicht enorm bei Kräften is,
Soll nicht auf’n Felsen steig’n.
Er rutscht und fallt ins Präzipiß,
Viel Beispiel tun das zeig’n…
Die Mittelstraßen ist ein breiter Raum,
Die Fahrt kommod talab,
Es wachst zwar drauf kein Lorbeerbaum,
Doch auch kein Bettelstab.


Heute ist Tag der Lyrik

O Knute, o Knute!
Die schwingen man tute,
Machst Wirkung sehr gute
Bei frevelndem Mute.
Was dem Kinde die Rute,
Ist dem Volke die Knute;
Du stillest die Wute
Rebellischem Blute.
Das alles, das tute
Die Knute, die Knute!
Wehalb ich mich spute,
In einer Minute
Poetischer Glute
Schrieb ich an die Knute
Dies Gedichtchen, dies gute.

Johann Nestroy (7 december 1801 – 25 mei 1862)


De Brits – Ierse schrijver Arthur Joyce Lunel Cary werd geboren op 7 december 1888 in Derry, Ierland. Zie ook alle tags voor Joyce Cary op dit blog.

Uit: Mr. Johnson

“No officer who has ever commanded a Nigerian company can forget the Hausa Farewell, that tune upon the bugles played as he rides away for the last time. But I don’t know why, having met and greeted plenty of veterans, I remember so vividly that scene on the parade ground—perhaps only because I was taken by surprise, I can still see the sergeant’s face, the men running; I can’t forget their grins (and laughter—an African will laugh loudly with pleasure at any surprise), the hands stretched out, the shouts of greeting from the back where some young and short soldier felt excluded. It is not true that Africans are eager but fickle. They remember friendship quite as long as they strongly feel it.
As for the style of the book, critics complained of the present tense. And when I answered that it was chosen because Johnson lives in the present, from hour to hour, they found this reason naïve and superficial. It is true that any analogy between the style and the cast of a hero’s mind[Pg 8] appears false. Style, it is said, gives the atmosphere in which a hero acts; it is related to him only as a house, a period, is related to a living person.
But this, I think, is a view answering to a critical attitude which necessarily overlooks the actual situation of the reader. For a critic, no doubt, style is the atmosphere in which the action takes place. For a reader (who may have as much critical acumen as you please, but is not reading in order to criticize), the whole work is a single continuous experience. He does not distinguish style from action or character.
This is not to pretend that reading is a passive act. On the contrary, it is highly creative, or recreative; itself an art. It must be so. For all the reader has before him is a lot of crooked marks on a piece of paper. From those marks he constructs the work of art which conveys idea and feeling. But this creative act is largely in the subconscious. The reader’s mind and feelings are intensely active, but though he himself is fully aware of the activity (it is part of his pleasure) he is absorbed, or should be absorbed, in the tale. A subconscious creative act may be a strange notion, but how else can one describe the passage from printer’s ink into active complex experience. After all, a great deal of rational and constructive activity goes on in the subconscious. We hear of people who dream solutions of difficult mathematical problems. “

Joyce Cary (7 december 1888 – 29 maart 1957)


De Franse filosoof en toneelauteur Gabriel Marcel werd geboren op 7 december 1889 in Parijs. Zie ook alle tags voor Gabriel Marcel op dit blog.

Uit:The mystery of being

“One might note here, in passing, that in our modern world, because of its extreme technical complication, we are, in fact, condemned to take for granted a great many results achieved through long research and laborious calculations, research and calculations of which the details are bound to escape us.
One might postulate it as a principle, on the other hand, that in an investigation of the type on which we are now engaged, a philosophical investigation, there can be no place at all for results of this sort. Let us expand that: between a philosophical investigation and its final outcome, there exists a link which can not be broken without the summing up itself immediately losing all reality. And of course we must also ask ourselves here just what we mean, in this context, by reality.
We can come to the same conclusions starting from the other end. We can attempt to elucidate the notion of philosophical investigation directly. Where a technician, like the chemist, starts off with some very general notion, a notion given in advance of what he is looking for, what is peculiar to a philosophical investigation is that the man who undertakes it cannot possess anything equivalent to that notion given in advance of what he is looking for. It would not, perhaps, be imprecise to say that he starts off at random ; I am taking care not to forget that this has been sometimes the case with scientists themselves, but a scientific result achieved, so to say, by a happy accident acquires a kind of purpose when it is viewed retrospectively ; it looks as if it had tended towards some strictly specific aim. As we go on we shall gradually see more and more clearly that this can never be the case with philosophic investigation.
On the other hand, when we think of it, we realize that our mental image of the technician of the scientist, too, for at this level the distinction between the two of them reaches vanishing point is that of a man perpetually carrying out operations, in his own mind or with physical objects, which anybody could carry out in his place. The sequence of these operations, for that reason, can be schematized in universal terms. I am abstracting here from the mental gropings which are inseparable, in the individual scientist s history, from all periods of discovery. These gropings are like the useless roundabout routes taken by a raw tourist in a country with which he has not yet made himself familiar. Both are destined to be dropped and forgotten, for good and all, once the traveller knows the lie of the land.”

Gabriel Marcel (7 december 1889 – 8 oktober 1973)
Parijs in de Adventstijd


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Willa Cather werd geboren op 7 december 1873 in de buurt van Winchester, Virginia. Zie ook alle tags voor Willa Cather op dit blog.

Uit:Behind the Singer Tower

“It was a hot, close night in May, the night after the burning of the Mont Blanc Hotel, and some half dozen of us who had been thrown together, more or less, during that terrible day, accepted Fred Hallet’s invitation to go for a turn in his launch, which was tied up in the North River. We were all tired and unstrung and heartsick, and the quiet of the night and the coolness on the water relaxed our tense nerves a little. None of us talked much as we slid down the river and out into the bay. We were in a kind of stupor. When the launch ran out into the harbor, we saw an Atlantic liner come steaming up the big sea road. She passed so near us that we could see her crowded steerage decks.
“It’s the Re di Napoli,” said Johnson of the “Herald.” “She’s going to land her first cabin passengers to-night, evidently. Those people are terribly proud of their new docks in the North River; feel they’ve come up in the world.”
We ruffled easily along through the bay, looking behind us at the wide circle of lights that rim the horizon from east to west and from west to east, all the way round except for that narrow, much-traveled highway, the road to the open sea. Running a launch about the harbor at night is a good deal like bicycling among the motors on Fifth Avenue. That night there was probably no less activity than usual; the turtle-backed ferryboats swung to and fro, the tugs screamed and panted beside the freight cars they were towing on barges, the Coney Island boats threw out their streams of light and faded away. Boats of every shape and purpose went about their business and made noise enough as they did it, doubtless. But to us, after what we had been seeing and hearing all day long, the place seemed unnaturally quiet and the night unnaturally black. There was a brooding mournfulness over the harbor, as if the ghost of helplessness and terror were abroad in the darkness. One felt a solemnity in the misty spring sky where only a few stars shone, pale and far apart, and in the sighs of the heavy black water that rolled up into the light. The city itself, as we looked back at it, seemed enveloped in a tragic self-consciousness.”

Willa Cather (7 december 1873 – 24 april 1947)


De Amerikaanse taalkundige, mediacriticus en anarchistisch denker Noam Chomsky werd geboren in Philadelphia op 7 december 1928. Zie ook alle tags voor Noam Chomsky op dit blog.

Uit: Propaganda, American-style

“Like the Soviets in Afghanistan, we tried to establish a government in Saigon to invite us in. We had to overthrow regime after regime in that effort. Finally we simply invaded outright. That is plain, simple aggression. But anyone in the U.S. who thought that our policies in Vietnam were wrong in principle was not admitted to the discussion about the war. The debate was essentially over tactics.
Even at the peak of opposition to the U.S. war, only a minuscule portion of the intellectuals opposed the war out of principle–on the grounds that aggression is wrong. Most intellectuals came to oppose it well after leading business circles did–on the “pragmatic” grounds that the costs were too high.
Strikingly omitted from the debate was the view that the U.S. could have won, but that it would have been wrong to allow such military aggression to succeed. This was the position of the authentic peace movement but it was seldom heard in the mainstream media. If you pick up a book on American history and look at the Vietnam War, there is no such event as the American attack on South Vietnam. For the past 22 years, I have searched in vain for even a single reference in mainstream journalism or scholarship to an “American invasion of South Vietnam” or American “aggression” in South Vietnam. In America’s doctrinal system, there is no such event. It’s out of history, down Orwell’s memory hole.
If the U.S. were a totalitarian state, the Ministry of Truth would simply have said, “It’s right for us to go into Vietnam. Don’t argue with it.” People would have recognized that as the propaganda system, and they would have gone on thinking whatever they wanted. They would have plainly seen that we were attacking Vietnam, just as we can see the Soviets are attacking Afghanistan.
People are much freer in the U.S., they are allowed to express themselves. That’s why it’s necessary for those in power to control everyone’s thought, to try and make it appear as if the only issues in matters such as U.S. intervention in Vietnam are tactical: Can we get away with it? There is no discussion of right or wrong.
During the Vietnam War, the U.S. propaganda system did its job partially but not entirely. Among educated people it worked very well. Studies show that among the more educated parts of the population, the government’s propaganda about the war is now accepted unquestioningly. One reason that propaganda often works better on the educated than on the uneducated is that educated people read more, so they receive more propaganda. Another is that they have jobs in management, media, and academia and therefore work in some capacity as agents of the propaganda system–and they believe what the system expects them to believe. By and large, they’re part of the privileged elite, and share the interests and perceptions of those in power.”

Noam Chomsky (Philadelphia, 7 december 1928)


De Oostenrijkse schrijver en columnist Friedrich Kilian Schlögl werd geboren op 7 december 1821 in de Weense voorstad Laimgrube (nu Wenen). Zie ook alle tags voor Friedrich Schlögl op dit blog.

Uit: Veni sancte spiritus! (Wiener Blut)

„Das war mir immer ein Räthsel; warum soll die Furcht der Anfang der Weisheit sein, wenn gerade die unverschämtesten Subjecte in diesem Jammerthale am klügsten fahren, und warum will die Menschheit überhaupt weise werden, wenn doch unstreitig die allerdümmsten ihrer Genossen zeitlebens vom Glücke begünstigt bleiben?
Aber man drillt uns fort und fort nach dem altmodischen Muster und mir drillen wieder unsere Sprößlinge, nur recht »weise« zu werden, und wir wissen nicht genug »lehrreiche« Bücher aufzutreiben, die die stupendeste Weisheit in brochürtem Zustande auf so und so vielen Druckbogen enthalten, welche Weisheit, in mäßige Dosen (Lectionen) vertheilt, löffel(seiten)weise genossen, den Lernbegierigen nach dem aufliegenden Schulprogramme in der gesetzlich bemessenen Zeit so vollkommen »reif« macht, daß er augenblicklich z. B. Verwaltungsrath der Lemberg-Czernowitzer Bahn, oder einer beliebigen, selbst der dunkelsten Bank werden könnte, wenn die bezüglichen Posten nicht von anderen »Reifen« bereits besetzt wären.
Sei es wie es sei; aber die letzte Septemberwoche war mir stets ein tragikomisches Kaleidoskop, wenn ich sah, wie sich Alt und Jung für den ersten oder abermaligen Schulanfang rüstet und welche kostspieligen Apparate mitunter benützt werden, um das junge Reis zu einem fruchtbringenden Baume, den unwissenden Knirps zu einem soi-disant »nützlichen Staatsbürger« heranzubilden. Welche herbe Opfer werden da oft gebracht und welch’ Schweiß klebt, um mich recht unbildlich auszudrücken, an diesen, außerdem noch mit einem Agio belasteten Banknoten, welche die obligaten Vehikel der Gelehrsamkeit, genannt Schulbücher, verschlingen.
Nun fällt mir nichts weniger ein, als gegen den in unserer wissenschaftlich gemäßigten Zone ohnehin nur sporadisch auftretenden »Büchereinkauf« zu predigen. Meine geehrten Landsleute treiben den Büchersport bekanntlich nur in zahmster Weise und die wenigen bibliothekarischen Dilettanten, welche die Metropole des Backhendlthums birgt, gehören zu den kulturhistorischen Curiositäten. Ja selbst die wohlhabendere Classe des Bürgerstandes findet es überhaupt meist »unbegreiflich«, für ein Buch – Geld auszulegen, und wenn z. B. der lebenslustige Hausherr X. und sein »Aeltester«, sich nicht lange besinnen, ihrem Leibfiaker einen Viertel Eimer Bier zu zahlen, falls es diesem gelingt, sie in fünfundsechzig Minuten von Schottenfeld zum »rothen Stadl« zu führen, so werden sie sicher die Zumuthung, etwa »Goethe’s Faust«, nach der neuen Classiker-Verschleuderung um zwanzig Kreuzer zu kaufen, für eine unnöthige »Geldverschwendung« erklären.“

Friedrich Schlögl (7 december 1821 – 7 oktober 1892)
Laimgrube (Wenen) Mariahilfer Straße, 1901


De Duitse dichter Samuel Gottlieb Bürde werd geboren op 7 december 1753 in Breslau. Zie ook alle tags voor Samuel Gottlieb Bürde op dit blog.

Wir gönnen jedem Glücklichen

Wir gönnen jedem Glücklichen
des Reichtums goldnen Fund;
er sei nicht stolz, noch poch er drauf,
das Glück geht unter und geht auf.
Sein Fußgestell ist rund.

Der Redliche, mit dem das Glück
stiefmütterlich es meint,
der seinem Schiffbruch kaum entschwimmt,
und nackend ans Gestade klimmt,
der finde einen Freund!


Freut euch des Herrn, ihr Frommen

Freut euch des Herrn, ihr Frommen,
und heißt mit lautem Jubelruf
das junge Jahr willkommen
und preist ihn, der den Frühling schuf!
Seht, wie im Blumenkleide
die Wiese lieblich prangt!
Nur der fühlt wahre Freude,
der Gott von Herzen dankt.
Auf, jeder pflügt und säe und singe froh dazu:
Ehr’ sei Gott in der Höhe, auf Erden Fried und Ruh!

Samuel Gottlieb Bürde (7 december 1753 – 28 april 1831)
Breslau – Pools: Wrocław, in de Adventstijd (Geen portret beschikbaar)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 7e december ook mijn blog van 7 december 2014 deel 2.

Tatamkhulu Afrika, Dirk Stermann, Johann Nestroy, Joyce Cary, Gabriel Marcel, Willa Cather, Noam Chomsky, Friedrich Schlögl, Samuel Gottlieb Bürde

De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook alle tags voor Tatamkhulu Afrika op dit blog.

The Beggar

When I passed
the bus-stop, his black
as biltong hand
thrust out,
demanding alms.
Beneath the grime,
he was a yellow man,
and small,
and crumpled as a towel,
eyes receding into bone,
shivering, too thin frame
denying the truculence of the hand.
‘No,’ I said.
and walked on,
annoyed that I was annoyed,
swatting off shame
all the way into town.
Coming back,
the day-long drizzle stopped
and a suddenly clear
sky sang
of summer round the bend,
white sails in the Bay,
birds grown garrulous again.
I looked for him.
He was lying on his back in the sun,
eyes closed,
stretched out as long as a spill,
hardly distinguishable
from any of the other
drifts of the debris in the lane.
‘Drunk again,’ I thought
and paused, then pressed
my penance into his palm.
Quick as a trap,
his fingers lashed
over it: suprised
sober eyes blessed
me for being kind.
Then he slept again,
fist wrapped, tight,
about the bribe my guilt refused
limbs thrown wide
as though a car had flung him there
and left him to a healing of the sun.

Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Tatamkhulu Afrika, Dirk Stermann, Johann Nestroy, Joyce Cary, Gabriel Marcel, Willa Cather, Noam Chomsky, Friedrich Schlögl, Samuel Gottlieb Bürde”

Tatamkhulu Afrika, Dirk Stermann, Johann Nestroy, Joyce Cary, Gabriel Marcel, Willa Cather, Noam Chomsky

De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook alle tags voor Tatamkhulu Afrika op dit blog.

Uit: Bitter Eden

“I am lying on the only patch of improbable grass in a corner of the camp. Balding in parts, overgrown in others, generally neglected and forlorn, it is none the less grass, gentle to the touch, sweet on the tongue. The odd wild flower glows like a light left on under the alien sun.
I am not alone. Bodies, ranging from teak to white-worm, lie scattered at angles as though a bomb had flung them there. As at a signal, conversations swell to a low, communal hum hardly distinguishable from that of the darting bees, dwindle away into a silence in which I hear a plane droning somewhere high up, frustratingly free.
I am back in the narrow wadi sneaking down to the sea. I shelter under a rock’s overhang, clutching the recently shunted-off-on-to-me Hotchkiss machine gun that I still do not fully understand. Peculiarly, I am alone but I know that in the wadis paralleling mine there is a bristling like cockroaches packing a crack in a wall of thousands of others who wait for the jesus of the ships that will never come. I have stared at the grain of the rock for so long that it has become a grain on the inside of my skull.
A bomber, pregnantly not ours, lumbers over the wadi on its way to the sea, its shadow huge on the ground, its belly seeming to skim rock, scrub, sand. I dutifully pump the gun’s last exotic rounds at it, marvelling that, for once, the gun does not jam. But there is no flowering of the plane into flame, no gratifying hurtling of it into the glittering enamel of the sea, and I stare after it as it rises into higher flight and am drained as one who has milked his seed into his hand.
Later, a shell explodes near the sea, the sand and the windless air deadening it into the slow-motion of a dream, and the sun sets into the usual heedless blood-hush of the sky.
I squat down beside the now useless gun, resting my back against its stand, thinking I will not sleep, staring into the heart of darkness that is a night that may not attain to any dawn. But I am wrong. There are muted thunderings, stuttering rushes of nearer sound, an occasional screaming of men or some persisting gull, but I strangely sleep, as strangely do not dream, and am woken – not by any uproar but a silence – to a sun still far from where I have slumped down into the foetal coil. I do not need any loudhailer to tell me that the lines are breached, that the sand is as ash under my feet.
Dully, I struggle up, still tripping over trailing sleep, slop petrol over the gun and the truck of anti-gas equipment deeper in under the rock, curse all the courses at Helwan that readied frightened men for the nightmare that never was. The synthetics of the suits, gloves, boots, intolerably flare.”

Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)
Cover Franse uitgave

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Tatamkhulu Afrika, Dirk Stermann, Johann Nestroy, Joyce Cary, Gabriel Marcel, Willa Cather, Noam Chomsky”

Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Joyce Cary, Gabriel Marcel, Willa Cather, Noam Chomsky

De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook alle tags voor Tatamkhulu Afrika op dit blog.

Uit:Bitter Eden

“Do I love her? ‘Love’ is a word that frightens me in the way that these two letters frighten me and if I were to say ‘yes’, I would qualify that by adding that – in our case and from my side – love is an emotion too often threatened by ennui to attain to the grand passion for which I have long since ceased to hope.
Certainly, though, I loved her enough to be able to say, ‘No, everything is fine,’ and turn around and smile into the once so startling blue eyes that now – under certain lights and when looked at in a certain way – have faded into the almost as startling white stare of the blind.
Whether she believed me or not, I cannot say, and equally do I not know why I have bothered to even mention a wife, and a second one at that – the first having absconded to fleshlier fields a lifetime ago – who does not in any way figure in the now so distant and tangled happenings with which the letters deal. Or do I, indeed, know why and have I subconsciously allowed Carina to surface in a manner and image that have more to do with me than her and that will save me the pain of having to explain in so many words why, in those years of warping and war, an oddness in my psyche became set in stone?
Whatever the case, I am now back with the package and the letters, leaving Carina sleeping – or pretending to, she being disconcertingly perceptive at times – and no commonplace papers or gulls beyond the window to divert me: only a darkness that is as inward as it is outward as – yielding to the persuasion of the tide I thought had ebbed beyond recall – I turn to the package and start to unwrap it, then stop, not wanting this from him and as afraid of it as though it held his severed hand.
Or is this all fancifulness? Am I permitting a phantom a power that belongs to me alone? What relevance do they still have – a war that time has tamed into the damp squib of every other war, a love whose strangeness is best left buried where it lies?
Haplessly, unable to resist, I listen for the nightingale that will never sing again, hear only the screaming of an ambulance or a patrol car, a woman crying to deaf ears of a murder or a raping in a lane, and lower my face into the emptiness of my hands.”

Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Joyce Cary, Gabriel Marcel, Willa Cather, Noam Chomsky”

Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Joyce Cary, Gabriel Marcel

De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook alle tags voor Tatamkhulu Afrika op dit blog.


I wheel my bike under
the cathedral’s dark overhang.
Seized by a rictus of the wind,
the trees shed rain.
Rain slides down
Wale Street’s sleek, steep fall:
air is an ocean booming round
high bare walls.
My hands freeze on
the bike’s crossbar,
seek the sodden saddle, toy
with the ice-cold bell:
I am suddenly fugitive,
homeless and cornered in
a of pressure and cloud. caprice

Then they cough and I know
I am not alone:
far back, against the great, nailed doors,
they huddle: troglodytes
of night’s alcoves,
daytime’s shopping-malls,
parking lots, sparse green lawns,
municipal benches where
lunchtime’s city workers, stripping down
their food-packs, sit
in sober rows.

I fear to turn around,
stiffen in expectation
of the inevitable tugging at my sleeve,
wonder of I have any coins
wonder why they do not bicker,
as they always do,
cursing their mother’s wombs
in tired robots’ tones,
why only this
curious, chuckling, liquid sound
drawing me around.

She has the usual wrappings on
stick-thin, brittle shins,
patchy-purple, quietly rotting
methylated spirits skin:
doekie of incongruous elegance crowns
the scabrous, half-bald skull
Her man, grotesque
as a gargoyle roused from stone,
cradles an infant on his lap,
feeds it from a bottle with a teat,
makes the chuckling, crooning sounds
that turned me round,
that hold me now spellbound.
‘Good morning, sir,’ he says,
and his voice is grave
as a paterfamilias in his lounge.
Only the odd man out,
leaning against the harsh green walls,
looks at me with carefully indifferent eyes,
finding me , alien on his home ground
wishing the clouds would break and I be gone,
ringing my bike’s absurd, small bell.

Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Joyce Cary, Gabriel Marcel”

Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Gabriel Marcel, Friedrich Schlögl, Noam Chomsky, Willa Cather, Samuel Gottlieb Bürde

De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook alle tags voor Tatamkhulu Afrika op dit blog.

Uit: Bitter Eden

“I touch the scar on my cheek and it flinches as though the long-dead tissue had a Lazarus-life of its own.
Uneasily, I stare at the two letters and accompanying neat package which are still where I put them earlier in the day. Within easy reach of my hand, they are a constant and unsettling focus for my mind and eye.
The single envelope in which the letters were posted is also still there. Airmail and drably English in its design, its difference from its local kin both fascinates and disturbs. I am not accustomed any more to receiving mail from abroad.
The one letter, typed under the logo of a firm of lawyers, is a covering letter which starts off by describing how they have only managed to trace me after much trouble and expense, which expense is to be defrayed by the ‘deceased’s estate’. Then comes the bald statement that it is he that has ‘passed on’ – how I hate that phrase! – after a long illness whose nature they do not disclose and that I have been named in his will as one of the heirs. My legacy, they add, is very small but will no doubt be of some significance to me and it is being forwarded under separate cover per registered mail.
The other letter is from him and I knew that straight away. After fifty years of silence, there was still no mistaking the rounded, bold and generously sprawling hand. Closer inspection betrayed the slight shakiness that is beginning to taint my own hand, and I noted this with an unwilling tenderness and a resurgence – as unwilling – of a love that time, it seems, has too lightly overlaid.
After reading the letters – but not yet opening the package – I had sat for a long time, staring out of the window and watching gulls and papers whirling up out of the southeaster-ridden street, but not knowing which were papers and which were gulls. Reaching for an expected pain, I had found only a numbness transcending pain and, later, Carina had come in and laid her hands on my shoulders and asked, her voice as pale and anxious as her hands, ‘Anything wrong?’
I do not mean to be disparaging when I refer to Carina in these terms. I am, after all, not much darker than her and although my hair is fair turned white and hers is white-blonde turned white, my body hair is as colourless and (as far as I am concerned) unflatteringly rare. I, too, can be nervy although not as pathologically so as Carina whose twitchiness sometimes reminds me of the dainty tremblings of a mouse – and that despite the fact that she moves her long, rather heavy bones in a manner that is unsettlingly male.”

Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Gabriel Marcel, Friedrich Schlögl, Noam Chomsky, Willa Cather, Samuel Gottlieb Bürde”

Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Gabriel Marcel

De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook alle tags voor Tatamkhulu Afrika op dit blog.


Uit: Mr Chameleon: An Authobiography

“Have I just written of Dennis C–as would a gay man? Did not only admiration but lust tire me as I was confronted with a wholeness and beauty of the flesh that | knew l could never achieve? What man can honestly say that he has felt no stirring of the genitals when faced with a virility he cannot rival–that challenges his Yin with its Yang? Today, we pretend that “male bonding” is asexual love–like hell it is! Where there is love of whatever kind, there is desire of a kind as variable, and that daunting sinuousness that is the arousal of the loins runs through them all.


Chameleon, reversing the process and wanting his surroundings now to conform to the colour and pattern he had chosen, exhorted the faithful fellows to follow him into the badlands of Shi’ism, but all they saw was that bloodyminded Whiteboy who could turna clever trick or two with his tongue, but what did a Whiteboy know about the Faith, particularly when it came to what their forefathers had followed for fourteen hundred years, and they left me in droves.”


So desperate was I to smash the Whiteboy image that was robbing my life of all fullness and light that, in the winter months when it incessantly rained and I could not get down to the beach to tan, I would colour my hands, arms, neck and face with Coppertone and try to persuade myself that I felt at home in my crude, wild simulation of a bastard’s skin … [I]f I was caught by an unseasonably hot day and the Coppertone with its vinegary smell began to run on my sweating skin, I would feel like a fool in paper clothes on a rainy day and would dart, silently crying, in pursuit of the least fragment of steadying shade.”


Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Gabriel Marcel”

Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Friedrich Schlögl

De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook alle tags voor Tatamkhulu Afrika op dit blog.


The knifing

Black workers pass
me carrying their tools.
I call to them for help:
the stone
masks of their faces turn
do not look my way again.
He flails the blade
across the top of my skull
(does he see it as a fruit,
splittable, spewing seed?),
slashes, then,
the tender guardians of my wrists,
drives the knife-point in
below my left side’s bottom rib,
and runs.
I leave a spoor
like a wounded beast’s,
make it to the little Indian shop
that sells boiled eggs with mayonnaise,
falling about in my own blood,
eyes shouting “Help!”
They carry me to the ambulance.
The clouds sweep
me with their sad sides:
yet I hear someone speak
of the bright day
and what a shame it is that this should be done
to anyone on such a day.
A face stares
at me through the wire-mesh
of a police van.
It is his; he sees
my wretched body pass,
blood leaking at every seam:
blood that is also on his hands;
turns away, then with a suddenness that says
more than any tongue,
burrows his face into his hands.
What does he see?
They stitch and stitch,
let my head hang down
when the lights go round and I feel
sense slipping from me like a skin,
and I am the unadorned
genitals of my need.
She screams and screams,
like a cat on heat,
like a little girl drumming her heels.
But she is seventeen:
he beat her until she was all
broken up inside.
I stare at the fluorescent tube;
it shrinks
to a filament of fire in my brain.
Blood still sees
from the black Khayelitsha youth’s
black bruises prowl
over the old man opposite’s
Only I do not sleep.
Time is a pendulum that swings
unlinked to any clock:
only the black window’s scowling back
tell of night; pain writhes
through me like an eel.
I watch the glucose drip,
drop by dizzying drop,
into my veins, wake
to sunlight on the walls,
starlings flirting past the glass,
Khayelitsha mopping blood from his neck,
grinning, saying
I can borrow his pee-bottle if I want.
I sag on the bed,
glucose mellow-honey in my veins,
small pulse of reluctant life
kick-starting way back.
Khayelitsha takes my hand,
hopes I’ll soon be well;
goes out then,
moving slowly amongst the slow-
moving coterie of his friends.
Desultory Xhosa clicks
snap like trodden sticks,
fade down
an inner tribal trial.
I face him then:
his neck nuzzling my palm.
His face still hidden in his hands.
What does he see?
I think to set him free.
How shall he be free?
Or I?
Testicle to testicle, we are trussed
by the winding round
us, rambling plastic coils.
Roaring down each other’s throats,
bellowing of our need,
we are skewered on the sharp
white lightning of his blade.


Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)

Doorgaan met het lezen van “Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Friedrich Schlögl”

Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Friedrich Schlögl

De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook mijn blog van 7 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 7 december 2008 en ook mijn blog van 7 december 2009.




Like gnats after rain,

sudden beetles born

of thunder and storm,

we are the creatures of our time,

its passing wind,

murder done,

blood drying in the sun.

We drone,

not with the fat,

mellow hum of bees,

but the thin

snivelling of the fly;

or we roar. Faces turned

to the never-listening sky,

cacophonous as ass or mule,

beaten till the dumb

tongue festers into sound.

We have no song?

How shall we sing?:

as they who, blind

to the blood on their shoes,

sing of lives that never come alive,

mimed and stilled as the moons

in the prisons of their nails,

thrushes in the hedges of their minds?

Does one scream

in careful cadences, stretched

upon a rack of pain,

measure meter when one tells

of the slit throat’s roar,

ripped belly’s gut spilt,

smoking, onto the cold tar,

charred body’s settling

like the timber of a shack torched

by midnight hand?

Beyond the darkness, grey

morning breaks: a bird,

or child,

uncertainly cries, our feet stir

a visible dust, we breathe

a freshening air.

The familiar is suddenly behind.

They grey men, the grey

singers of irrelevant song,

they who hid

behind the stillness of their hands,

slot into the patterns of our heels.

Maqabane – yes –

let us sound that sweet

endearment once

more before the dust

clogs our tongues –

they will have us now,

with the teeth of their laughter tear

the flesh from our bones,

crack them for the marrow they no longer hold.

It is the way.

But still,

within ourselves,

there is the secret hearth

of our love, the place

of the holding of our hands,

and if one harsh note

of our crying woke

a sleeping heart, steeled

a timid spine,

then we, too, sang,

scoring our songs in the flesh

of those that, dead, do not die.




Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)



Doorgaan met het lezen van “Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Friedrich Schlögl”

Tatamkhulu Afrika, Johann Nestroy, Gabriel Marcel, Noam Chomsky, Willa Cather

De Zuid-Afrikaanse dichter en schrijver Tatamkhulu Afrika werd geboren op 7 december 1920 in Egypte. Zie ook mijn blog van 7 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 7 december 2008.


The leopard lay,
long and dappled, under the leaves.
He saw me when
I still saw only the leaves.
His eyes, alerted, flamed
with more of wonderment than rage.
He had sheathed his claws and, once,
he swiped a paw across his nose.

‘I know you’, he said,
looking at me through the mask of shadows round his eyes.
I saw him wholly, then
his languid grace and power, yet
was not afraid, his voice being mild
as any mewing kitten’s, which meant
that I could love him if not yet trust,
and I dared to tremblingly scratch an ear.

He closed his eyes and roaringly purred,
frightening my hand, then grinned
a little, baring the black
slobber of his gums, the fangs
whiter than the white bones of the hill,
then again looked at me, a daze
of pleasure drawing back from his eyes, and thanked
me with a leathern tonguing of my skin.

‘Yes’, he said, ‘it was a long time ago.
This hill was then a living thing.
You, shaman, danced on it till you dropped
as one dead and a leopard leapt
from your ruin and ran,
slavering, under the holy moon.
What has become of you, brother man?
Does the magic herb no longer grow among these stones?’

I wept, then, huddled on
the rigid hinges of my knees,
hearing only silence thrum
through the shattered pipelines of my bones.
Below the alien city threshed
and howled and he looked
at me as at a wounded beast and slid
out the filial pity of his claws.

‘No!’ I shouted. ‘No!’
stammering like a frightened child.
‘You exceed your station; it is I
that flow and flower under a moon.’
He looked at me with sorrowing eyes.
‘But it is leopards that die
as shamans should,’ he said and crashed
out of the leaves as out of an ice of time.


Tatamkhulu Afrika (7 december 1920 – 23 december 2002)


De Oostenrijkse schrijver Johann Nepomuk Eduard Ambrosius Nestroy werd geboren in Wenen op 7 december 1801. Zie ook mijn blog van 7 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 7 december 2008.

Uit: Das Mädl aus der Vorstadt
„Erste Szene

Mehrere Krämer und Kommis. Mehrere Putzmacherinnen. Dominik.

Dominik(steht an einem Stuhl und zahlt den Anwesenden ihre Kontos aus). Nicht wahr, so eine Kundschaft ist was Seltenes, a Braut, die vor der Hochzeit schon alles bezahlt.

Alle. No, i glaub’s.

Dominik. Jetzt bleiben s’ die Ausstaffierung oft bis nach der Scheidung schuldig.

Krämer. Lass’ uns der Herr Dominik nur wieder rekommandiert sein, wenn die gnädige Frau was braucht.

Dominik. Sie haben mir dasmal allerseits einen honetten Rabatt gegeben, und wenn Sie ein andersmal ebenso –

Krämer. Das versteht sich von selbst, wir wissen schon, was sich g’hört! Daß uns der Herr Dominik immer dran erinnert, is etwas schmutzig.

Dominik. Konträr, das is sehr reinlich, denn ich halt’ drauf, daß eine Hand die andere wascht! jetzt b’hüt’ Ihnen Gott allerseits!

Alle. Adieu, Herr Dominik! (Mitteltüre links ab.)

Zweite Szene

Dominik. Dann Frau von Erbsenstein und Nannette.

Dominik(allein). Ja, die Frau von Erbsenstein, da muß man Respekt haben. Ich kann mir auch schmeicheln, ihr ganzes Vertrauen –

Frau von Erbsenstein(mit Nannette aus der Seitentüre rechts kommend). Entweder die Uhr geht zu früh oder mein Bräutigam geht zu spät, wenn er bei mir erscheinen soll! – Dominik!

Dominik. Befehl’n?

Frau von Erbsenstein. Pack’ Er sich hinaus!

Dominik. Euer Gnaden wollen vielleicht -?

Frau von Erbsenstein. Von einem neugierigen Tölpel nicht inkommodiert sein, ja, das will ich.

Dominik(für sich im Abgehen). Sonderbare Laune, die sie fast täglich kriegt! (Mitteltüre rechts ab.)”


Johann Nestroy (7 december 1801 – 25 mei 1862)
Buste in Bad Ischl


De Franse filosoof en toneelauteur Gabriel Marcel werd geboren op 7 december 1889 in Parijs. Zie ook mijn blog van 7 december 2006 en ook mijn blog van 7 december 2008.


Uit: La primauté de l’acte


« Sans doute est-ce avant tout à partir d’une réflexion sur l’acte considéré comme irréductible à un contenu de pensée que j’ai été d’abord amené à m’inscrire en faux contre l’idée d’une totalité intelligible qui serait à la fois le principe moteur et la fin de la dialectique. Est-ce à dire que j’aie été avant tout sensible à ce qui dans l’acte présente un caractère ou une valeur de rupture, à ce qu’on appellerait aujourd’hui son caractère révolutionnaire? Je n’en suis pas sûr, et même je ne le crois pas. Bien qu’il n’y ait là qu’une nuance, je dirais plus volontiers que l’acte m’a toujours retenu avant tout par son irréductible originalité, ou même par la singularité de perspective qui le commande inévitablement. Là est la raison pour laquelle le monadisme a pu me séduire quelque temps ; et sans doute m’y serais-je rallié durablement si la thèse de l’incommunicabilité des monades ne m’était apparue comme un défi à l’expérience et au sens commun, si l’harmonie préétablie ne m’avait fait l’effet d’une pure invention de l’esprit dont l’ingéniosité même souligne l’artifice. Agir, me semblait-il, c’est avant tout prendre position ; et ce ne sera jamais que par une fiction arbitraire qu’on pourra tenter d’intégrer au réel l’acte par lequel je me situe en face de lui. Je vois distinctement aujourd’hui que je tendais ainsi à substituer un type de rapport concret et dramatique aux relations encore tout abstraites d’inhérence ou d’extériorité entre lesquelles la philosophie traditionnelle prétendait me contraindre à opter. »



Gabriel Marcel (7 december 1889 – 8 oktober 1973)
Vierde van links, in El Cuzeo, 1951, temidden van collega’s


De Amerikaanse taalkundige, mediacriticus en anarchistisch denker Noam Chomsky werd geboren in Philadelphia op 7 december 1928. Zie ook mijn blog van 7 december 2007 en ook mijn blog van 7 december 2008.


Uit: The Zapatista Uprising


There are many factors driving global society towards a low-wage, low-growth, high-profit future, with increasing polarization and social disintegration. Another consequence is the fading of meaningful democratic processes as decision making is vested in private institutions and the quasi-governmental structures that are coalescing around them, what the Financial Times calls a “de facto world government” that operates in secret and without accountability.

These developments have little to do with economic liberalism, a concept of limited significance in a world in which a vast component of “trade” consists of centrally-managed intra-firm transactions (half of U.S. exports to Mexico pre-NAFTA, for example- “exports” that never enter the Mexican market). Meanwhile private power demands and receives protection from market forces, as in the past.

“The Zapatistas really struck a chord with a large segment of the Mexican populace,” Mexican political scientist Eduardo Gallardo commented shortly after the rebellion, predicting that the effects would be wide-ranging, including steps toward breaking down the long-standing electoral dictatorship. Polls in Mexico backed that conclusion, reporting majority support for the reasons given by the Zapatistas for their rebellion. A similar chord was struck worldwide, including the rich industrial societies, where many people recognized the concerns of the Zapatistas to be not unlike their own, despite their very different circumstances. Support was further stimulated by imaginative Zapatista initiatives to reach out to wider sectors and to engage them in common or parallel efforts to take control of their lives and fate. The domestic and international solidarity was doub
tless a major factor in deterring the anticipated brutal military repression, and has had a dramatic energizing effect on organizing and activism worldwide.

The protest of Indian peasants in Chiapas gives only a bare glimpse of “time bombs” waiting to explode, not only in Mexico.“



Noam Chomsky (Philadelphia, 7 december 1928)


De Amerikaanse schrijfster Willa Cather werd geboren op 7 december 1873 in de buurt van Winchester, Virginia. Zie ook mijn blog van 7 december 2006..

Uit: My Antonia


“I first heard of Antonia on what seemed to me an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America. I was ten years old then; I had lost both my father and mother within a year, and my Virginia relatives were sending me out to my grandparents, who lived in Nebraska. I travelled in the care of a mountain boy, Jake Marpole, one of the “hands” on my father’s old farm under the Blue Ridge, who was now going West to work for my grandfather. Jake’s experience of the world was not much wider than mine. He had never been in a railway train until the morning when we set out together to try our fortunes in a new world.

We went all the way in day-coaches, becoming more sticky and grimy with each stage of the journey. Jake bought everything the newsboys offered him: candy, oranges, brass collar buttons, a watchcharm, and for me a Life of Jesse James, which I remember as one of the most satisfactory books I have ever read. Beyond Chicago we were under the protection of a friendly passenger conductor, who knew all about the country to which we were going and gave us a great deal of advice in exchange for our confidence. He seemed to us an experienced and worldly man who had been almost everywhere; in his conversation he threw out lightly the names of distant states and cities. He wore the rings and pins and badges of different fraternal orders to which he belonged. Even his cuff-buttons were engraved with hieroglyphics, and he was more inscribed than an Egyptian obelisk.

Once when he sat down to chat, he told us that in the immigrant car ahead there was a family from “across the water” whose destination was the same as ours.

“They can’t any of them speak English, except one little girl, and all she can say is ‘We go Black Hawk, Nebraska.’ She’s not much older than you, twelve or thirteen, maybe, and she’s as bright as a new dollar. Don’t you want to go ahead and see her, Jimmy? She’s got the pretty brown eyes, too!”

This last remark made me bashful, and I shook my head and settled down to Jesse James. Jake nodded at me approvingly and said you were likely to get diseases from foreigners.”



Willa Cather (7 december 1873 – 24 april 1947)