De Vlaamse dichter en beeldhouwer Marcel van Maele werd geboren in Brugge op 10 april 1931. Van Maele was een zwerver en diende onder meer in de Koreaanse Oorlog. Hij werd een van de leidende figuren van het magazine Labris (gesticht in 1962), waarin een experimentele stijl werd gepropageerd. Hij was tevens lid van de schrijversgroep van de Zestigers. Hij werkte – naar eigen zeggen – “in een niemandsland tussen literatuur en plastische kunsten”. Van Maele werd in de loop der jaren een cultfiguur en kreeg in 1972 de Arkprijs van het Vrije Woord voor Ik ruik mensenvlees, zei de reus. Als dichter was hij gekend om zijn opgemerkte optredens op poëzieavonden. Door zijn overmatig drank-, medicijnen- en druggebruik had hij het regelmatig aan de stok met politie en gerecht. De laatste twintig jaar van zijn leven was hij volledig blind.
na een lange tocht met vermolmde spanen,
kroop de zeerover op een verlaten strand
aan land en riep:
‘Hoera, hier ben ik!’
wou z’n ooglap
ruilen voor een bedelstaf.
Nu zit hij hier als een blinde vink
op een betonnen muur
z’n verleden te bezingen.
Marcel van Maele (10 april 1931 – 24 juli 2009)
Uit: Pomp and Ignorance
„The Spirit of Monarchy is nothing but the craving in the human mind after the sensible and the One. It is not so much a matter of state-necessity or policy, as a natural infirmity, a disease, a false appetite in the popular feeling, which must be gratified. Man is an individual animal with narrow faculties, but infinite desires, which he is anxious to concentrate in some one object within the grasp of his imagination, and where, if he cannot be all that he wishes himself, he may at least contemplate his own pride, vanity, and passions, displayed in their most extravagant dimensions in a being no bigger and no better than himself.
Man is a poetical animal, and delights in fiction. We make kings of men, and gods of stocks and stones: we are not jealous of the creatures of our own hands. We only want a peg or loop to hang our idle fancies on, a puppet to dress up, a lay-figure to paint from. We ask only for the stage effect; we do not go behind the scenes, or it
would go hard with many of our prejudices. We see the symbols of majesty, we enjoy the pomp, we crouch before the power, we walk in the procession, and make part of the pageant, and we say in our secret hearts: there is nothing but accident that prevents us from being at the head of it.
From the most absolute despot to the lowest slave there is but one step (no, not one) in point of real merit. As far as truth or reason is concerned, they might change situations tomorrow – they constantly do so without the smallest loss of benefit to mankind. Tyranny, in a word, is a farce got up for the entertainment of poor human nature; and it might pass very well, if it did not so often turn into a tragedy.
The world has been doing little else but playing at make-believe all its lifetime. For several thousand years its chief rage was to paint large pieces of wood and smear them with gore and call them gods and offer victims to them – slaughtered hecatombs, the fat of goats and oxen, or human sacrifices – showing its love of show, of cruelty, and imposture; and woe to him who should peep through the blanket of the dark to cry: hold, hold.“
William Hazlitt (10 april 1778 – 18 september 1830)
Zelfportret uit 1802
„The Jebel es Zubleh is a mountain fifty miles and more in length, and so narrow that its tracery on the map gives it a likeness to a caterpillar crawling from the south to the north. Standing on its red–and–white cliffs, and looking off under the path of the rising sun, one sees only the Desert of Arabia, where the east winds, so hateful to vinegrowers of Jericho, have kept their playgrounds since the beginning. Its feet are well covered by sands tossed from the Euphrates, there to lie, for the mountain is a wall to the pasture–lands of Moab and Ammon on the west—lands which else had been of the desert a part.
The Arab has impressed his language upon everything south and east of Judea, so, in his tongue, the old Jebel is the parent of numberless wadies which, intersecting the Roman road—now a dim suggestion of what once it was, a dusty path for Syrian pilgrims to and from Mecca—run their furrows, deepening as they go, to pass the torrents of the rainy season into the Jordan, or their last receptacle, the Dead Sea. Out of one of these wadies—or, more particularly, out of that one which rises at the extreme end of the Jebel, and, extending east of north, becomes at length the bed of the Jabbok River—a traveller passed, going to the table–lands of the desert. To this person the attention of the reader is first besought.
Judged by his appearance, he was quite forty–five years old. His beard, once of the deepest black, flowing broadly over his breast, was streaked with white. His face was brown as a parched coffee–berry, and so hidden by a red kufiyeh (as the kerchief of the head is at this day called by the children of the desert) as to be but in part visible. Now and then he raised his eyes, and they were large and dark. He was clad in the flowing garments so universal in the East; but their style may not be described more particularly, for he sat under a miniature tent, and rode a great white dromedary.“
Lew Wallace (10 april 1827– 15 februari 1905)
Uit: Lassie Come-Home
„Lassie was a well-loved figure in the daily life of the village. Almost everyone knew her. But, most of all, the people of Greenall Bridge were proud of Lassie because she stood for something they could
not have explained readily. It had something to do with their pride. And their pride had something to do with money.
Generally, when a man raised an especially fine dog, some day it would stop being a dog and instead would become something on four legs that was worth money. It was still a dog, of course, but now
it was something else, too, for a rich man might hear of it, or the alert dealers or kennelmen might see it, and then they would want to buy it. While a rich man may love a dog just as truly as a poor man, and there is no difference in them in this, there is a difference between them in the way they must look at money. For the poor man sits and thinks about how much coal he will need for that winter, and how many pairs of shoes will be necessary, and how much food his children ought to have to keep them sturdy– and then he will go home and say: “Now, I had to do it, so don’t plague me! We’ll raise another dog some day, and ye’ll all love it just as much as ye did this one.”
That way, many fine dogs had gone from homes in Greenall Bridge. But not Lassie!
Why, the whole village knew that not even the Duke of Rudling had been able to buy Lassie from Sam Carraclough–the very Duke himself who lived in his great estate a mile beyond the village and who had his kennels full of fine dogs. For three years the Duke had been trying to buy Lassie from Sam Carraclough, and Sam had merely stood his ground.“
Eric Knight (10 april 1897 – 14 januari 1943)
The Old Sergeant (Fragment)
The Carrier cannot sing to-day the ballads
With which he used to go, Rhyming the glad rounds of the happy New Years
That are now beneath the snow :
For tie same awful and portentous Shadow
That overcast the earth,
And smote the land last year with desolation,
Still darkens every hearth.
And the carrier hears Beethoven’s mighty deathmarch
Come up from every mart;
And he hears and feels it breathing in his bosom,
And beating in his heart.
And to-day, a scarred and weather-beaten veteran,
Again he comes along,
To tell the story of the Old Year’s struggles
In another New Year’s song.
And the song is his, but not so with the story ;
For the story, you must know,
Was told in prose to Assistant-Surgeon Austin,
By a soldier of Shiloh :
By Robert Burton, who was brought up on the Adams,
With his death-wound in his side ;
And who told the story to the Assistant-Surgeon,
On the same night that he died.
But the singer feels it will better suit the ballad,
If all should deem it right,
To tell the story as if what it speaks of
Had happened but last night.
Forceythe Willson (10 april 1837 – 2 februari 1867)
Hotel en postkantoor in Ceres, rond 1914
Vlakbij Little Genesee (Geen portret beschikbaar)