Cri Stellweg, Gary Whitehead, Yōko Tawada, Mitch Cullin, Steven Saylor, Nils-Aslak Valkeapää

De Nederlandse schrijfster en columniste Margaretha Hendrika (Cri) Stellweg (alias Saartje Burgerhart) werd geboren in Nijmegen op 23 maart 1922. Zie ook mijn blog van 27 november 2006.

Uit: Iedereen is tegenwoordig jonger dan ik

“Ziek zijn betekent afhankelijk worden. Degenen van wie je afhankelijk wordt, krijg en ongewild inzage in de geheel eigen wijze van jouw oud-zijn. Om me in mijn ziekte bij te staan moeten ze, om eens wat te noemen, mijn kasten in. Ze willen een toastje voor me maken. Ik moet toch wat eten! Een toastje en waar is dus de broodtrommel? Ách gos, da’s toch meer een koektrommeltje. ‘Mijn broodtrommel, die door de fabrikant inderdaad bedoeld was als koektrommel, wekt deernis op. Een ziek oud mens met een koektrommeltje als broodtrommel. En een broodrooster. Heb ik een brood rooster? ‘Heerejee, wat een raar ding. Zeg, die stamt zeker nog van voor we onze wereldoorlogen gingen nummeren?’… … Waarom heb ik niet allang een andere gekocht, een moderne? Zuinigheid zeker weer? Ja, waarom niet? Hij is nog uit mijn ouderlijk huis. Geduldig zit mijn bejaarde vader in zijn driehoekig stoeltje aan de keukentafel bij de broodrooster te wachten op het warme knapperige sneetje brood. Het broodrooster trekt een lijn van zijn oud zijn naar het mijne. De verzorgers nemen kennis van eigenaardigheden waarnaar anders geen haan zou kraaien. Er moet schoon ondergoed komen. ’Waar vind ik dat?” Maar in de kast liggen twee stapeltjes. De kleinste wordt gevormd door enkele ouderwetse broek en van ferm degelijk textiel. De belendende stapel bestaat uit bijdetijdse slips, slips om in te slippen, geen broeken die je aantrekt. In de slips mag je gezien worden als iemand plotseling de wc-deur opentrekt, als de verkoopster je vergezelt in het pashok…. De broeken hebben meerwaarde. Ik wilde ze nog wat bij me houden, zo dichtbij en intiem als gedurende de nacht in bed. Ze zijn me door een boedelruiming toegevallen en spreken me van de levende gestalte wier dood ik nog betreur. Geen mens heeft daarmee te maken.
Maar hoor wat ze roepen. ‘Wat voor broek, zo’n voet balbroek toch niet?!’ Zo ga je je schamen voor bezittingen die je anders doen glimlachen….”

Cri Stellweg (23 maart 1922 – 26 november 2006)


De Amerikaanse dichter Gary Joseph Whitehead werd geboren op 23 maart 1965 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Zie alle tags voor Gary Whitehead op dit blog.

The Garden

In the garden of the mind the best thought
will never bloom as beautifully as this
lily, lemon-yellow and freckled red,

four tongues lolling out of a single mouth
and speaking the dead language of silence.
We each take a different path: you into

the fountainous splash of asparagus;
me toward the cosmos bouncing like paper
stars in the breeze. Marriages are like this:

raveled by proximities, recited
in the vernacular of habit schooled
with the patience of bees. We hum our way

through the years, recollecting sometimes
the days when our hands and mouths, grafted
for the first time to another’s, flowered

what we thought must be a whole new species.
Rooted in the tilled beds of youth, exotic,
those revelations sprang in us full-bloom.

Then, with practice, we came to realize
that planting the garden was just practice,
that our tongues and fingers, grown familiar

in the light of this world, were made to tend.
And that if desire for the original,
the virginal, slithers sometimes beneath

the leaf, it is cold-blooded, warms itself
in the promise of what’s still possible,
then leaves. We meet at the end of rows—

me back from the cosmic, you from what feeds—
and find with chamberless ease the rhythm
of wingbeats between the ribs of our hands.

Gary Whitehead (Pawtucket, 23 maart 1965)


De Japanse schrijfster Yōko Tawada werd geboren op 23 maart 1960 in Tokyo. Zie alle tags voor Yōko Tawada op dit blog.

The Flight Of The Moon

I was singing on the toilet
when the moon
came rolling in

bare naked
on a bicycle
racing through a forest of metaphor
the moon came to meet me.

Along the road outside
a beautiful woman walks by, brushing her teeth.
On a park bench
a man in a maternity dress is drinking apple juice.
At the end of the century health is always in full phase.

A hole in the sky drops open.
Distress like the moon, a gloom like the moon are gone
and the likes
fly brightly round and round that hole.

The deep folds of the abyss smooth.
Across the now-blank suffering face
poets start to skate.

The moon… mine… another.


Vertaald door Bruno Navasky

Yōko Tawada (Tokyo, 23 maart 1960)


De Amerikaanse schrijver Mitch Cullin werd geboren op 23 maart 1968 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Zie alle tags voor Mitch Cullin op dit blog.


“I know some things. A guy can’t grow up in Claude without not knowing something about the place. But what I understand best about my town is how it shuts down on game night, how dusk settles over the deserted Main Street with only the blinking of a single yellow light that sort of marks the center of Claude. And with the wind blowing dust and bits of trash along the sidewalks and gutters downtown, not a soul in sight, someone driving through on the interstate could just think a bunch of folks got tired of where they was at and decided to leave for good. Even the domino parlor gets dark and spooky and a fellow would have to strain to see all the posters and signs taped on the plate-glass window. Go by the Dairy Mart on the outskirts, all lit by fluorescent light inside showing it’s open for business, but there ain’t nobody eating and the parking lot is empty. That’s game night. Don’t want to see the game? Might as well drive to the stockyard to watch the cattle at the troughs. Might as well walk along the railroad tracks leading from town. Might as well try to learn Hindi from the new owners of the old Trail End Motel.
Not too long ago, when I was still a little kid, I used to climb the water tower on some game nights. I’d sit there with my legs sort of hanging into space, those peeling painted words over my head — Claude, Home of the Fighting Tigers — and I’d take in the WPA football field and park from where I was at. Way the hell up there, sometimes the wind was so dry and strong it’d get me tired, but I could see the bleachers on both sides of the field, the big lights glowing down on the grass. The cheering from below would come to me there. Sometimes I cheered too, even though I didn’t know who was winning. But I could see the game. And on those Friday nights I knew everybody was there, all the old- timers and cowboys and housewives and kids and people I went to school with, all packed in and around the field, and me, no more than ten or eleven, so far above them that if I had drooled over the edge my spit would’ve disappeared before ever coming close to the ground.”

Mitch Cullin (Santa Fe, 23 maart 1968)


De Amerikaanse schrijver Steven Saylor werd geboren op 23 maart 1956 in Port Lavaca Texas. Zie alle tags voor Steven Saylor op dit blog..

Uit: Raiders of the Nile

“Like any young Roman who found himself living in the most exciting city on earth—Alexandria, capital of Egypt—I had a long list of things I wanted to do, but taking part in a raid to steal the golden sarcophagus of Alexander the Great had never been among them.
And yet, there I found myself, on a morning in the month we Romans call Maius, doing just that.
The tomb of the city’s founder is located in a massive, ornate building in the heart of the city. A towering frieze along one side depicts the exploits of the world conqueror. The moment of inspiration that gave birth to the city itself, some 240 years ago, is vividly depicted on the frieze: Alexander stands atop a sand dune, staring at the shore and the sea beyond while his architects, surveyors, and engineers gaze up at him in wonder, clutching their various instruments.
So realistically sculpted and painted was this massive frieze that I almost expected the giant image of the conqueror to suddenly turn his head and peer down at us as we scurried below him, heading toward the building’s entrance. I would not have been surprised to see him raise an eyebrow and inquire in a booming, godlike voice, “Where in Hades do you fellows think you’re going? Why are some of you brandishing swords? And what is that the rest of you carry—a battering ram?”
But Alexander remained immobile and mute as my companions and I rushed past him and surged into the colonnaded entranceway.»

Steven Saylor (Port Lavaca, 23 maart 1956)
Hier met de Portugese schrijver Fernando Miguel Santos (links)


De Samische dichter, schilder, musicus en fotograaf Nils-Aslak Valkeapää werd geboren op 23 maart 1943 in Palonjoensuu nabij Enontekiö. Zie alle tags voor Nils-Aslak Valkeapää op dit blog.

My home is in my heart (Fragment)

My home is in my heart
it migrates with me
The yoik is alive in my home
the happiness of children sounds there
herd-bells ring
dogs bark
the lasso hums
In my home
the fluttering edges of gáktis
the leggings of the Sámi girls
warm smiles

My home is in my heart
it migrates with me

You know it brother
you understand sister
but what do I say to strangers
who spread out everywhere
how shall I answer their questions
that come from a different world

How can I explain
that I cannot live in just one place
and still live
when I live
among all these tundras
You are standing in my bed
my privy is behind the bushes
the sun is my lamp
the lake my wash bow

How can I explain
that it moves with me
How can I explain
that others live there too
my brothers and sisters

What shall I say brother
what shall I say sister

Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (23 maart 1943 – 26 november 2001)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 23e maart ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.