Uit: An Englishman in Madrid (Vertaald door Nick Caistor)
“March 4, 1936
Shortly after crossing the border and completing the tiresome customs formalities, I fell asleep, lulled by the rattle of the train wheels. Until then I had spent a sleepless night, tormented by the weight of the problems, alarms and crises our stormy relationship has created. All I could see through the carriage window was the dark night and my own reﬂection in the glass: the image of a man haunted by anguish. Dawn did not offer the relief often brought by the arrival of a new day. Clouds still ﬁlled the sky, and the pale, weak sun only served to render the scenery and my own internal landscape all the more desolate. In this state, on the verge of tears, I ﬁnally fell asleep. When I next opened my eyes, everything had changed. A radiant sun was shining in an endless, deep blue sky dotted with a few small, whiter than white clouds. The train was crossing the barren high plains of Castille. Spain at last!
Oh, Catherine, my beloved Catherine, if only you could see this magnificent spectacle you would understand my state of mind as I write these lines! Because it is not simply a geographical phenomenon or a change of scene, but something more, something sublime. In England and the north of France I have just travelled through, the countryside is green, the ﬁelds are fertile, the trees tall; and yet the sky is low, grey and damp, the atmosphere mournful. Here, on the other hand, the land is arid, the ﬁelds are dry and cracked and only seem to produce withered bushes, and yet the sky is boundless, the light heroic. In our country we always go around with our heads down, staring at the ground, feeling crushed; here, where the land offers nothing, people hold their heads high, and gaze at the horizon. It is a land of violence, passion, of grandiose individual gestures. Not like us, constrained by our petty morality and trivial social conventions.”
Eduardo Mendoza (Barcelona, 11 januari 1943)
“Jamie’s face, white and shocked, loomed up on the other side of the tree. With the dim realization that what I was doing must sound unnervingly like cackling, I made a terrific effort and stopped. Panting, I stared at him for a moment.
“Yes,” I said, backing away, still heaving with gasps of unhinged laughter. “Yes, I am a witch! To you, I must be. I’ve never had smallpox, but I can walk through a room full of dying men and never catch it. I can nurse the sick and breathe their air and touch their bodies, and the sickness can’t touch me. I can’t catch cholera, either, or lockjaw, or the morbid sore throat. And you must think it’s an enchantment, because you’ve never heard of vaccine, and there’s no other way you can explain it.”
“The things I know—” I stopped backing away and stood still, breathing heavily, trying to control myself. “I know about Jonathan Randall because I was told about him. I know when he was born and when he’ll die, I know about what he’s done and what he’ll do, I know about Sandringham because … because Frank told me. He knew about Randall because he … he … oh, God!” I felt as though I might be sick, and closed my eyes to shut out the spinning stars overhead.
“And Colum … he thinks I’m a witch, because I know Hamish isn’t his own son. I know … he can’t sire children. But he thought I knew who Hamish’s father is … I thought maybe it was you, but then I knew it couldn’t be, and…” I was talking faster and faster, trying to keep the vertigo at bay with the sound of my own voice.
“Everything I’ve ever told you about myself was true,” I said, nodding madly as though to reassure myself. “Everything. I haven’t any people, I haven’t any history, because I haven’t happened yet.“
Diana Gabaldon (Williams,11 januari 1952)
Let’s go and dance a little,
Death, you and me.
He’ll dig a well,
you, with the well’s bucket
will haul up my blood.
Death will sow tranquillity,
you’ll water the tranquillity,
I’ll harvest the bones for you.
I’ll gather them into a heap,
I’ll knit them together,
and while I still have one
I’ll lock up my heart in them.
Death will take a ruby from it,
place the ruby in your hands,
you will strike my head with it.
Death above the stone,
you on the stone,
I under the stone;
you and he before the altar,
I a wedding guest in finery
underneath the altar.
When we’ve danced our fill
we’ll part again.
Each by his own mill
to be ground down tomorrow.
Slavko Janevski (11 januari 1920 – 20 januari 2000)
Standbeeld in Skopje
Brief an mein Kind (Fragment)
Mein lieber Junge, heute vor drei Jahren
bist ganz allein du in die Welt gefahren.
Noch seh ich dich am Bahnhof dort in Prag,
wie du aus dem Abteil verweint und zag
den braunen Lockenkopf neigst hin zu mir
und wie du bettelst: lass mich doch bei dir!
Dass wir dich ziehen ließen, schien dir zu hart-
Acht Jahre warst du erst und klein und zart.
Und als wir ohne dich nach Hause gingen,
da meinte ich, das Herz müsst mir zerspringen
und trotzdem bin ich froh, du bist nicht hier.
Die fremde Frau, die sich deiner angenommen,
die wird einst sicher in den Himmel kommen.
Ich segne sie mit jedem Atemzug-
wie du sie liebst ist doch nie genug.
Es ist so trüb geworden um uns her,
man nahm uns alles fort, nichts blieb uns mehr.
Das Haus, die Heimat, nicht ein Winkel blieb,
und nicht ein Stückchen, das uns wert und lieb.
Sogar die Spielzeugbahn, die dir gehört
Und deines Bruders kleines Schaukelpferd…
Nicht mal den Namen hat man uns gelassen:
Wie Vieh gezeichnet gehen wir durch die Gassen:
mit Nummern um den Hals. Das macht’ nichts aus,
wär ich mit Vater nur im gleichen Haus!
Und auch der Kleine darf nicht bei mir sein…
Im Leben war noch nie ich so allein.
Du bist noch klein, und drum verstehst du’s kaum…
So viele sind gedrängt in einem Raum.
Leib liegt an Leib, du trägst des anderen Leid
und fühlst voll Schmerz die eigene Einsamkeit.
Ilse Weber (11 januari 1903 – 6 oktober 1944)
Uit: Cry The Beloved Country
“Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that’s the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing. Nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him if he gives too much.”
“ — This world is full of trouble, umfundisi.
— Who knows it better?
— Yet you believe?
Kumalo looked at him under the light of the lamp. I believe, he said, but I have learned that it is a secret. Pain and suffering, they are a secret. Kindness and love, they are a secret. But I have learned that kindness and love can pay for pain and suffering. There is my wife, and you, my friend, and these people who welcomed me, and the child who is so eager to be with us here in Ndotsheni – so in my suffering I can believe.
— I have never thought that a Christian would be free of suffering, umfundisi. For our Lord suffered. And I come to believe that he suffered, not to save us from suffering, but to teach us how to bear suffering. For he knew that there is no life without suffering.
Kumalo looked at his friend with joy. You are a preacher, he said.”
Alan Stewart Paton (11 januari 1903 – 12 april 1988)
De Amerikaanse dichter, criticus, vertaler en reisschrijver Bayard Taylor werd geboren op 11 januari 1825 in Kennett Square in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Zie ook alle tags voor Bayard Taylor op dit blog.
The clouds are scudding across the moon;
A misty light is on the sea;
The wind in the shrouds has a wintry tune,
And the foam is flying free.
Brothers, a night of terror and gloom
Speaks in the cloud and gathering roar;
Thank God, He has given us broad sea-room,
A thousand miles from shore.
Down with the hatches on those who sleep!
The wild and whistling deck have we;
Good watch, my brothers, to-night we’ll keep,
While the tempest is on the sea!
Though the rigging shriek in his terrible grip,
And the naked spars be snapped away,
Lashed to the helm, we’ll drive our ship
In the teeth of the whelming spray!
Hark! how the surges o’erleap the deck!
Hark! how the pitiless tempest raves!
Ah, daylight will look upon many a wreck
Drifting over the desert waves.
Yet, courage, brothers! we trust the wave,
With God above us, our guiding chart.
So, whether to harbor or ocean-grave,
Be it still with a cheery heart!
Bayard Taylor (11 januari 1825 – 19 december 1878)