Uit: The Rotters Club
„Thursday, March 7th, 1974 was an important day, a memorable day. It was the day Philip made his first foray into journalism, and it was the day Benjamin found God. Two events which were to have far-reaching consequences. xml:namespace prefix = o />
It was also the day on which Benjamin's worst nightmare seemed about to come true.
For many days now, Philip had been hard at work on an article which he hoped to see published in the school newspaper. The Bill Board appeared once a week, on Thursday mornings, and he was one of its most avid readers. The title betrayed its humble origins as a loose collection of typewritten essays and notices which used to be posted on a bulletin board in one of the upper corridors; but this had proved an inconvenient format, in most respects, and the previous year an enterprising young English master called Mr. Serkis had overseen its transition into print. The paper now extended to eight stapled sheets of A4, put together on Tuesdays by a cartel of sixth-formers in the glamorous secrecy of an office tucked away in the rafters above The Carlton Club. It was rare, very rare, for someone as young as Philip to have anything accepted by this uncompromising crew; but today, somehow, he had managed it.
Shortly before nine o'clock that morning he was to be found sitting in the school library, reading his article for the twelfth time through eyes misty with pride and excitement. The front page of the paper contained a long editorial penned by Burrell, of the upper-sixth, lamenting the indecisive outcome of last week's general election, and the reappointment of Harold Wilson as Prime Minister. Philip couldn't possibly aspire to writing such a piece, at this stage; the front half of the paper would remain unreachable, beyond imagination. But at least his review came before the sports results, and Gilligan's cartoons. And how comfortably it nestled on the page, between Hilary Turner's magisterial discussion of The Caucasian Chalk Circle, which had just opened at the Birmingham Rep, and a few lines of appreciation—penned by Mr. Fletcher himself—about the poet Francis Piper, in advance of his keenly anticipated visit to King William's (a visit scheduled for that very morning, Philip almost-registered in his trancelike state). To see his own efforts slotted in between the work of these senior practitioners was more than he would have dared hope for.“
Jonathan Coe (Birmingham, 19 augustus 1961)
De Amerikaanse dichter Frederic Ogden Nash werd geboren in Rye, New York, op 19 augustus 1902. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 mei en mijn blog van 19 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.
A Lady Who Thinks She Is Thirty
Unwillingly Miranda wakes,
Feels the sun with terror,
One unwilling step she takes,
Shuddering to the mirror.
Miranda in Miranda's sight
Is old and gray and dirty;
Twenty-nine she was last night;
This morning she is thirty.
Shining like the morning star,
Like the twilight shining,
Haunted by a calendar,
Miranda is a-pining.
Silly girl, silver girl,
Draw the mirror toward you;
Time who makes the years to whirl
Adorned as he adored you.
Time is timelessness for you;
Calendars for the human;
What's a year, or thirty, to
Loveliness made woman?
Oh, Night will not see thirty again,
Yet soft her wing, Miranda;
Pick up your glass and tell me, then--
How old is Spring, Miranda?
A Word to Husbands
To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.
Ogden Nash (19 augustus 1902 – 19 mei 1971)
De Amerikaanse dichter Li-Young Lee werd geboren op 19 augustus 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesië. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.
People have been trying to kill me since I was born,
a man tells his son, trying to explain
the wisdom of learning a second tongue.
It's the same old story from the previous century
about my father and me.
The same old story from yesterday morning
about me and my son.
It's called "Survival Strategies
and the Melancholy of Racial Assimilation."
It's called "Psychological Paradigms of Displaced Persons,"
called "The Child Who'd Rather Play than Study."
Practice until you feel
the language inside you, says the man.
But what does he know about inside and outside,
my father who was spared nothing
in spite of the languages he used?
And me, confused about the flesh and soul,
who asked once into a telephone,
Am I inside you?
You're always inside me, a woman answered,
at peace with the body's finitude,
at peace with the soul's disregard
of space and time.
Am I inside you? I asked once
lying between her legs, confused
about the body and the heart.
If you don't believe you're inside me, you're not,
she answered, at peace with the body's greed,
at peace with the heart's bewilderment.
It's an ancient story from yesterday evening
called "Patterns of Love in Peoples of Diaspora,"
called "Loss of the Homeplace
and the Defilement of the Beloved,"
called "I Want to Sing but I Don’t Know Any Songs."
The Hour and What Is Dead
Tonight my brother, in heavy boots, is walking
through bare rooms over my head,
opening and closing doors.
What could he be looking for in an empty house?
What could he possibly need there in heaven?
Does he remember his earth, his birthplace set to torches?
His love for me feels like spilled water
running back to its vessel.
At this hour, what is dead is restless
and what is living is burning.
Someone tell him he should sleep now.
My father keeps a light on by our bed
and readies for our journey.
He mends ten holes in the knees
of five pairs of boy's pants.
His love for me is like sewing:
various colors and too much thread,
the stitching uneven. But the needle pierces
clean through with each stroke of his hand.
At this hour, what is dead is worried
and what is living is fugitive.
Someone tell him he should sleep now.
God, that old furnace, keeps talking
with his mouth of teeth,
a beard stained at feasts, and his breath
of gasoline, airplane, human ash.
His love for me feels like fire,
feels like doves, feels like river-water.
At this hour, what is dead is helpless, kind
and helpless. While the Lord lives.
Someone tell the Lord to leave me alone.
I've had enough of his love
that feels like burning and flight and running away.
Li-Young Lee (Jakarta, 19 augustus 1957)
De Iers-Amerikaanse schrijver Frank McCourt werd geboren op 19 augustus 1930 in New York. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.
Uit: Teacher Man
“If I knew anything about Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis I'd be able to trace all my troubles to my miserable childhood in Ireland. That miserable childhood deprived me of self-esteem, triggered spasms of self pity, paralyzed my emotions, made me cranky, envious and disrespectful of authority, retarded my development, crippled my doings with the opposite sex, kept me from rising in the world and made me unfit, almost, for human society. How I became a teacher at all and remained one is a miracle and I have to give myself full marks for surviving all those years in the classrooms of New York. There should be a medal for people who survive miserable childhoods and become teachers, and I should be first in line for the medal and whatever bars might be appended for ensuing miseries.
I could lay blame. The miserable childhood doesn't simply happen. It is brought about. There are dark forces. If I am to lay blame it is in a spirit of forgiveness. Therefore, I forgive the following: Pope Pius XII; the English in general and King George VI in particular; Cardinal MacRory, who ruled Ireland when I was a child; the bishop of Limerick, who seemed to think everything was sinful; Eamonn De Valera, former prime minister (Taoiseach) and president of Ireland. Mr. De Valera was a half-Spanish Gaelic fanatic (Spanish onion in an Irish stew) who directed teachers all over Ireland to beat the native tongue into us and natural curiosity out of us. He caused us hours of misery. He was aloof and indifferent to the black and blue welts raised by schoolmaster sticks on various parts of our young bodies. I forgive, also, the priest who drove me from the confessional when I admitted to sins of self-abuse and self-pollution and penny thieveries from my mother's purse. He said I did not show a proper spirit of repentance, especially in the matter of the flesh. And even though he had hit that nail right on the head, his refusal to grant me absolution put my soul in such peril that if I had been flattened by a truck outside the church he would have been responsible for my eternal damnation. I forgive various bullying schoolmasters for pulling me out of my seat by the sideburns, for walloping me regularly with stick, strap and cane when I stumbled over answers in the catechism or when in my head I couldn't divide 937 by 739. I was told by my parents and other adults it was all for my own good. I forgive them for those whopping hypocrisies and wonder where they are at this moment. Heaven? Hell? Purgatory (if it still exists)?”
Frank McCourt (New York, 19 augustus 1930)
De Amerikaanse schrijver James Gould Cozzens werd geboren op 19 augustus 1903 in Chicago. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.
Uit: Guard of Honor
“Colonel Ross did not have the facts on whatever other troubles Colonel Woodman had or thought he had; but he knew all about this episode of the AT-7–perhaps more than Woody thought. It was really all you needed to know. A routine order had gone from Washington to Fort Worth and from Fort Worth to Sellers Field; give an AT-7 to General Beal. Understandably, Colonel Woodman didn’t like giving away planes; but anyone not obsessed with a persecution complex need only look at a map to figure it out. The finger was put on Sellers Field because it was the point nearest Ocanara to which AT-7’s were then being delivered. Moreover, Sellers Field, as Woody so loudly protested, was not scheduled to be, and was not, ready to use all its planes. Still, standard operating procedure would be to query the order. Fort Worth grasped, at least as well as Colonel Woodman did, that basic principle of military management: always have on hand more of everything than you can ever conceivably need. If Colonel Woodman in the normal way queried Fort Worth, Fort Worth could be counted on to query Washington.”
James Gould Cozzens (19 augustus 1903 – 9 augustus 1978)
De Nederlandse schrijver, dichter en vertaler Louis Th. Lehmann, werd geboren op 19 augustus 1920 in Rotterdam. Zie ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2006 en ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.
Denford Mill House
The next lock will not see the writing
the waterhen, tripping in flight
imprints upon the rushing river's schoulders.
A water mill is not a home,
the stream passes through
like time through me.
De kleine bomen, helder in de heggen
sturen hun takken doelbewust
en sierlijker dan armen of ook vingers
door het misleidend spel der bladeren.
Zij dwingen ons met redelijke tekentaal
het wijde land rondom hen te vergeten.
In deze stad is het alleen de wind die leeft
want er zijn teveel dingen zonder vorm,
en zelfs wanneer jij bij me bent,
voelen wij nog het huis dat voor
de slagen van de wind
wankelt als een moede bokser.
Louis Th. Lehmann (Rotterdam, 19 augustus 1920)
Zie voor onderstaande schrijver ook mijn blog van 19 augustus 2007.
De Spaanse dichter