Mario Petrucci, George Szirtes

De Engelse dichter en schrijver Mario Petrucci werd geboren op 29 november 1958 in Londen. Zie ook alle tags voor Mario Petrucci op dit blog.



Afternoons in his study I squat
at the mahogany cabinet. Papa and his
rows of plump bodies. One a bruised
grape – another a spotted sultana engorged
in brandy. Some are a meeting of legs
and little else. Bristled tarantulas
light as bird-bone. Diamond-backs.
The Widow’s orange hourglass.
Once, I caught him. Late with a woman –
eight limbs akimbo. Two upturned faces.
Our days spiral out from morning’s
brown-paper packets: India, Indonesia,
Australia, Tasmania. I run scissors
round the edges – plop the drowsy knots
into glass. Then the muff of chloroform.
Formaldehyde. Sulfide of hydrogen. Which
asphyxiant? They kill so differently.
How he’ll wince if legs claw, snap – bit
his lip to a leech of milk when one slipped
up my skirt. I giggled. Kept it alive a week.

But he’s going. Doctor says he’s to stick
to pap. The same as them – those
sots of hair that toboggan the bathtub
then tickle for air between my palms.
Each day his lips are laid with more
purple eggs. Tonight the jaws dribble
and botch at what I bring him. Whey,
soft balls of curd. But he can’t
eat – says the pain, the pain is
sucking him out. Patience, he whispers.
I take the largest wad of cotton,
step up to the bottle. Twist
the stopper from its slender brown
neck. In the water of his eyes

my hair is a clot of spiders.



(Chernobyl, 1986)
This hospital has a room

for weeping. It has no crèche.
No canteen. No washroom queue.

Only this queue for weeping.
No lost property booth. No

complaints department. Or
reception. No office of second

opinion. Of second chances. Its sons
and daughters die with surprise

in their faces. But mothers
must not cry before them. There is

a room for weeping. How hard
the staff are trying. Sometimes

they use the rooms themselves. They
must hose it out each evening.

The State is watching. They made
this room for weeping. No remission –

no quick fixes. A father wonders
if his boy is sleeping. A mother

rakes her soul for healing. Neighbours
in the corridor – one is screaming

It moved from your child to mine.
More come. Until the linoleum

blurs with tears and the walls
are heaving. Until the place can’t

catch its breath – sour breath
of pine. And at its heart

this room.


Mario Petrucci (Londen, 29 november 1958)


De Britse dichter en schrijver George Szirtes werd geboren op 29 november 1948 in Boedapest. Zie ook alle tags voor George Szirtes op dit blog.



Tenslotte kwamen we aan bij de stad der stilte,
enorm, met hoge muren, haar woeste stoplichten
versprongen in paniek, straten waren bedekt
met dikke dekens. Het was een plek zonder deuren, een reeks
bewegende monden.
Hun ogen spraken uiteraard boekdelen,
dikke naslagwerken. Er was weinig licht om te lezen.
Hun witte handschoenen fladderden voor hen
met grotesk dansende vingers.

Er stond geschreven dat dit alles zo moest zijn.
Hun denk-misdaden, hand-misdaden, hart-misdaden
stonden in lange lijsten genoteerd.
Agenten trokken gezichten of wezen naar plakkaten.
De magistraten sliepen in het park.
NIET STOREN, zeiden de borden.

De rest ging door met voeden en opvoeden.
Ze plantten tongen op de begraafplaats,
weelderige struiken van stilte.


Vertaald door Rob Schouten


George Szirtes (Boedapest, 29 november 1948)


Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 29e november ook mijn blog van 29 november 2018 en eveneens mijn blog van 29 november 2015 deel 2 en eveneens deel 3.

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