De Amerikaanse schrijver Bernard Malamud werd op 26 april 1914 in Brooklyn, New York, geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 26 april 2007 en ook mijn blog van 26 april 2008 en ook mijn blog van 26 april 2009 en ook mijn blog van 26 april 2010 en ook mijn blog van 26 april 2011.
Uit: The assistant
“He found a penciled spot on the worn counter, near the cash register, and wrote a sum under “Drunk Woman.” The total now came to $2.03, which he never hoped to see. But Ida would nag if she noticed a new figure, so he reduced the amount to $1.61. His peace – the little he lived with – was worth forty-two cents.
Immediately I felt I was in safe hands; safer than Morris’s store anyway. He moved to the US for a new life, but “he had hoped for much in America and got little. And because of him Helen and Ida had less. He had defrauded them, he and the bloodsucking store.” Helen is his daughter, and the centre point of the triangle which The Assistant describes (and very much the centre point of the older cover above). Morris spends most of his time out the back of the store, waiting for custom that rarely comes – “Waiting he thought he did poorly. When times were bad time was bad” – and when Helen comes home to the store:
“Me,” she called, as she had done from childhood. It meant that whoever was sitting in the back should sit and not suddenly think he was going to get rich.
The third point is Frank Alpine, a drifter who volunteers to work in Morris’s store to make up for various misdemeanours which it would be inappropriate to reveal.
If he could root out what he had done, smash and destroy it; but it was done, beyond him to undo. It was where he could never lay his hands on it any more – in his stinking mind.
And “he was troubled by the thought of how easy it was for a man to wreck his whole life with a single wrong act.” Well, he has at least one more wrong act in him, but in the meantime Frank manages to turn around Morris’s grocery store, bringing its best turnover since the opening of the rival delicatessen around the corner. Morris suspects Frank’s success is due to goyish customers being more willing to deal with their own kind than with a Jew, though as is often the case in The Assistant, he is misinformed – or underinformed anyway.”
Bernard Malamud (26 april 1914 – 18 maart 1986)
De Spaanse dichter Vincente Aleixandre (eig. Vicente Pío Marcelino Cirilo Aleixandre y Merlo) werd geboren op 26 april 1898 in Sevilla. Zie ook mijn blog van 26 april 2008 en ook mijn blog van 26 april 2009 en ook mijn blog van 26 april 2010 en ook mijn blog van 26 april 2011.
The Old Man And The Sun
He had lived a long time,
the old man. In the evenings at sunset he used to rest there on the large,
solid trunk of a fallen tree.
At the end of the day I’d pass that place and stop and look at him.
He was an old man with his face full of lines and his eyes dim, but not
He rested on his log, and at first the sun drew close to him and gently
nibbled at his feet—
then it seemed to curl up and rest for awhile.
Soon it rose slowly and went flowing over him, flooding him,
pulling him gently toward it, making him whole in its sweet light.
As the old man lived, as he waited, how the sun thinned him out!
How slowly it burned away the last wrinkles, his sad lined skin, the
record of his misery,
how long it took, stripping and polishing everything!
In the silence the old man went slowly toward nothing, slowly
the way a stone in a tumbling river gets sweetly abraded
and submits to the sound of punding love.
And I saw the powerful sun slowly bite at him with great love, putting
him to sleep
so as to take him bit by bit, so as to dissolve him with light bit by tiny bit,
the way a mother might bring her child very softly back to her breast.
I used to go there and see him. But sometimes I could see nothing
but a face made of air, just the lightest lacework of a person.
All that was left after the loving man, the kind old man had passed over
and was slowly, slowly pulled off in the last rays of the sun,
like so many other things we cannot see in this world.
Vicente Aleixandre (26 april 1898 – 14 december 1984)
We reden een uur lang door
het doolhof van de Botlek, langs
kokende ketels, hoge hijskranen
en donkere sissende pijpen.
En ergens, tussen al dat grauwe
grijs zagen we een kleine ronde buis
flonkeren die op ons netvlies bleef
branden en niet verdween.
Opeens schoot het door me heen:
de Botlek is ons zenuwstelsel
en die rode buis de hersenstam
waardoor alles leeft en beweegt
en ik werd bang want even een
piepklein scheurtje en ik ruik
de geur van jodium en het zweet
van de somber kijkende zuster.
Zwijgend reden we naar huis
gevangen in een geheimzinnig web
wetend dat de spin lacht, gaapt
de tijd verteert en ons ook.
Leo Stilma (Hilversum, 26 april 1953)