John Steinbeck, Lawrence Durrell, André Roy, Henry Longfellow, James T. Farrell

De Amerikaanse schrijver John Steinbeck werd geboren in Salinas, Californië, op 27 februari 1902. Zie ook alle tags voor John Steinbeck op dit blog.

Uit: East of Eden

“The summer sun drove it underground. It was not a fine river at all, but it was the only one we had and so we boasted about it—how dangerous it was in a wet winter and how dry it was in a dry summer. You can boast about anything if it’s all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast.

The floor of the Salinas Valley, between the ranges and below the foothills, is level because this valley used to be the bottom of a hundred-mile inlet from the sea. The river mouth at Moss Landing was centuries ago the entrance to this long inland water. Once, fifty miles down the valley, my father bored a well. The drill came up first with topsoil and then with gravel and then with white sea sand full of shells and even pieces of whalebone. There were twenty feet of sand and then black earth again, and even a piece of redwood, that imperishable wood that does not rot. Before the inland sea the valley must have been a forest. And those things had happened right under our feet. And it seemed to me sometimes at night that I could feel both the sea and the redwood forest before it.


James Dean, Richard Davalos en Julie Harris in de film van Elias Kazan, 1955

On the wide level acres of the valley the topsoil lay deep and fertile. It required only a rich winter of rain to make it break forth in grass and flowers. The spring flowers in a wet year were unbelievable. The whole valley floor, and the foothills too, would be carpeted with lupins and poppies. Once a woman told me that colored flowers would seem more bright if you added a few white flowers to give the colors definition. Every petal of blue lupin is edged with white, so that a field of lupins is more blue than you can imagine. And mixed with these were splashes of California poppies. These too are of a burning color—not orange, not gold, but if pure gold were liquid and could raise a cream, that golden cream might be like the color of the poppies. When their season was over the yellow mustard came up and grew to a great height. When my grandfather came into the valley the mustard was so tall that a man on horseback showed only his head above the yellow flowers. On the uplands the grass would be strewn with buttercups, with hen-and-chickens, with black-centered yellow violets. And a little later in the season there would be red and yellow stands of Indian paintbrush. These were the flowers of the open places exposed to the sun.”


John Steinbeck (27 februari 1902 – 20 december 1968)


De Britse dichter en schrijver Lawrence George Durrell werd geboren op 27 februari 1912 in Jalandhar in India. Zie ook alle tags voor Lawrence Durrell op dit blog.


Bitter Lemons

In an island of bitter lemons
Where the moon’s cool fevers burn
From the dark globes of the fruit,

And the dry grass underfoot
Tortures memory and revises
Habits half a lifetime dead

Better leave the rest unsaid,
Beauty, darkness, vehemence
Let the old sea-nurses keep

Their memorials of sleep
And the Greek sea’s curly head
Keep its calms like tears unshed

Keep its calms like tears unshed.



Bosnia. November. And the mountain roads
Earthbound but matching perfectly these long
And passionate self-communings counter-march,
Balanced on scarps of trap, ramble or blunder
Over traverses of cloud: and here they move,
Mule-teams like insects harnessed by a bell
Upon the leaf-edge of a winter sky,

And down at last into this lap of stone
Between four cataracts of rock: a town
Peopled by sleepy eagles, whispering only
Of the sunburnt herdsman’s hopeless ploy:
A sterile earth quickened by shards of rock
Where nothing grows, not even in his sleep,

Where minarets have twisted up like sugar
And a river, curdled with blond ice, drives on
Tinkling among the mule-teams and the mountaineers,
Under the bridges and the wooden trellises
Which tame the air and promise us a peace
Harmless with nightingales. None are singing now.

No history much? Perhaps. Only this ominous
Dark beauty flowering under veils,
Trapped in the spectrum of a dying style:
A village like an instinct left to rust,
Composed around the echo of a pistol-shot.


Lawrence Durrell (27 februari 1912 – 7 november 1990)


De Canadese dichter, schrijver en essayist André Roy werd geboren op 27 februari 1944 in Montréal. Zie ook alle tags van André Roy op dit blog.


L’expérience géographique

Quelque chose en avant comme la ville
la peau parcourue à l’ombre des buildings
attendre quant aux géographies amoureuses
que ce texte du savoir et des saveurs
ne cache jamais ou trop
le désordre des cerveaux
cigarettes précises ou drague inconsolable
que la ville inédite rend mon corps
périlleux puisque émeute d’âmes
quelque chose dans l’été lisse
le début de l’amour
car klaxonnements et bruissements :
c’est la perte de mon identité.

La ville ou l’expérience, dis-je.


André Roy (Montréal, 27 februari 1944)


De Amerikaanse dichter Henry Wadsworth Longfellow werd geboren in Portland, Maine, op 27 februari 1807. Zie ook alle tags voor Henry Longfellow op dit blog.


A Psalm of Life

Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, – act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solenm main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.


Henry Longfellow (27 februari 1807 – 24 maart 1882)
Een jonge Longfellow


De Amerikaanse schrijver James Thomas Farrell werd geboren op 27 februari 1904 in Chicago. Zie ook alle tags voor James T. Farrell op dit blog.

Uit: Judgment Day (Studs Lonigan)

“Out on the coast these days, business clubs and fraternal organizations are doing some novel fighting against the bogey of Old Man Depression. And is it fun, boys! I’ll say it is!”
As the announcer spoke, the camera flashed a view of business men shouting jubilantly as they pelted each other with eggs like a crowd of school boys in a snow fight. The next shot presented the sight of huge piles of eggs guarded by shapely girls in bathing suits who filled baskets and knapsacks with eggs for ammunition. A blonde girl splattered an egg against the back of a departing warrior.
“Hot stuff,” Pat whispered to Studs, while many in the theater laughed.
“Boy, that would be great fun,” Ike whispered.
The laughter in the theater increased at the sight of a wobbling fat man, surrounded by enemies who subjected him to a merciless fire of eggs, spluttering and staining his white clothing.
“That’s a shampoo, what’s a shampoo,” the announcer called with formalized enthusiasm as a detachment closed in on the fat man and broke his own basket of eggs over his head.
In a close-up, the fat man bawled like a baby, his hair matted, egg shells clinging to his face, his double chins dripping egg yolks.
“And watch this charge of the light brigade!” the announcer called as a crowd swept over the field of stricken eggs into the maw of a heavy fire. “We can’t say that’s not fun, and all in a novel manner which reduces the surplus of eggs, making it profitable for those who sell them. A new way of scrambling eggs, if you ask me.”
Studs leaned forward, laughing. Wished he was in a fight like that.”


James T. Farrell (27 februari 1904 – 22 augustus 1979)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 27e februari ook mijn drie blogs van 27 februari 2012.