Octavio Paz, Marga Minco, John Fowles, Nichita Stănescu, Marge Piercy, Peter Motte, Andrew Marvell

De Mexicaanse schrijver, dichter, en diplomaat Octavio Paz werd geboren op 31 maart 1914 in Mixcoac, tegenwoordig een deel van Mexico-stad. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 maart 2007.


If you are the amber mare
I am the road of blood
If you are the first snow
I am he who lights the hearth of dawn
If you are the tower of night
I am the spike burning in your mind
If you are the morning tide
I am the first bird’s cry
If you are the basket of oranges
I am the knife of the sun
If you are the stone altar
I am the sacrilegious hand
If you are the sleeping land
I am the green cane
If you are the wind’s leap
I am the buried fire
If you are the water’s mouth
I am the mouth of moss
If you are the forest of the clouds
I am the axe that parts it
If you are the profaned city
I am the rain of consecration
If you are the yellow mountain
I am the red arms of lichen
If you are the rising sun
I am the road of blood




Vertaald door Eliot Weinberger



No More Clichés

Beautiful face
That like a daisy opens its petals to the sun
So do you
Open your face to me as I turn the page.

Enchanting smile
Any man would be under your spell,
Oh, beauty of a magazine.

How many poems have been written to you?
How many Dantes have written to you, Beatrice?
To your obsessive illusion
To you manufacture fantasy.

But today I won’t make one more Cliché
And write this poem to you.
No, no more clichés.

This poem is dedicated to those women
Whose beauty is in their charm,
In their intelligence,
In their character,
Not on their fabricated looks.

This poem is to you women,
That like a Shahrazade wake up
Everyday with a new story to tell,
A story that sings for change
That hopes for battles:
Battles for the love of the united flesh
Battles for passions aroused by a new day
Battle for the neglected rights
Or just battles to survive one more night.

Yes, to you women in a world of pain
To you, bright star in this ever-spending universe
To you, fighter of a thousand-and-one fights
To you, friend of my heart.

From now on, my head won’t look down to a magazine
Rather, it will contemplate the night
And its bright stars,
And so, no more clichés.



Octavio Paz (31 maart 1914 – 19 april 1998)



De Joods-Nederlands journaliste en schrijfster Marga Minco, pseudoniem van Sara Minco, werd geboren in Ginneken op 31 maart 1920. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 maart 2007.


Uit: Vlinders vangen op Skyros


Hij had niet gedacht dat het zo’n uitwerking zou hebben. Het was ook allerminst zijn bedoeling geweest. Als hij het van tevoren geweten had, zou dat zinnetje hem niet ontsnapt zijn. Hij had het zomaar laten vallen, om ook eens een keer wat te zeggen. En nou zat hij daar.

Op de bewuste avond was hij zijn stamcafé binnengelopen en had, net als altijd, een plaats achterin gezocht, aan zo’n bijschuiftafeltje voor één persoon. Van daaruit kon hij hun gedoe gadeslaan en hun gesprekken beluisteren zonder er aan te hoeven deelnemen. God, wat hadden ze ’t weer druk. Wat hadden ze weer gezwijnd en gebietst en gelift. In één ruk naar Parijs. Binnen anderhalve dag in Rome. Meteen door naar Vence. Het existentialisme kenden ze van achteren naar voren. Het leek of ze allemaal persoonlijk bevriend waren met Sartre en Simone de Beauvoir. Of ze van Saint-Germain-des-Prés iedere straatsteen kenden en hun vaste tafel hadden in Les Deux Magots. Twee geheel in het zwart geklede meisjes met Gréco-kapsels deden uitvoerig verslag van hun avonturen in het Quartier Latin. Het was kelder in kelder uit geweest. Een jonge dichter vertelde dat hij in Rome in een duur hotel had gelogeerd op kosten van zijn mecenas. Een paar schilders hadden een maand aan de Rivièra gezeten, waar ze niet alleen prima hadden kunnen werken, maar ook nog bevriend waren geraakt met een amerikaanse kunstverzamelaar, op wiens jacht ze geregeld tochten maakten over de Middellandse Zee.

Hij snapte niet hoe ze het allemaal voor elkaar kregen. Hij ging nooit op reis en ontmoette nooit iemand die tegen hem zei: ‘Ga jij nou eens een tijdje naar het zuiden. Ik zie dat je het nodig hebt. Over geld hoef je niet in te zitten. Dat maak ik wel in orde.’



Marga Minco (Ginneken, 31 maart 1920)


De Engelse romanschrijver en essayist John Fowles werd geboren in Leigh-on-Sea (Essex) op 31 maart 1926. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 maart 2007.


Uit: The Magus


“I went to Oxford in 1948. In my second year at Magdalen, soon after a long vacation during which I hardly saw them, my father had to fly out to India. He took my mother with him. Their plane crashed, a high-octane pyre, in a thunderstorm some forty miles east of Karachi. After the first shock I felt an almost immediate sense of relief, of freedom. My only other close relation, my mother’s brother, farmed in Rhodesia, so I now had no family to trammel what I regarded as my real self. I may have been weak on filial charity, but I was strong on the discipline in vogue.

At least, along with a group of fellow odd men out at Magdalen, I thought I was strong in the discipline. We formed a small club called Les Hommes Révoltés, drank very dry sherry, and (as a protest against those shabby dufflecoated last years of the forties) wore dark gray suits and black ties for our meetings; we argued about essence and existence and called a certain kind of inconsequential behavior existentialist. Less enlightened people would have called it capricious or just plain selfish; but we didn’t realize that the heroes, or anti-heroes, of the French existentialist novels we read were not supposed to be realistic. We tried to imitate them, mistaking metaphorical descriptions of complex modes of feeling for straightforward prescriptions of behavior. We duly felt the right anguishes. Most of us, true to the eternal dandyism of Oxford, simply wanted to look different. In our club, we did.

I acquired expensive habits and affected manners. I got a third-class degree and a first-class illusion that I was a poet. But nothing could have been less poetic than my pseudo-aristocratic, seeingthrough-all boredom with life in general and with making a living in particular. I was too green to know that
all cynicism masks a failure to cope — an impotence, in short; and that to despise all effort is the greatest effort of all. But I did absorb a small dose of one permanently useful thing, Oxford’s greatest gift to civilized life: Socratic honesty. It showed me, very intermittently, that it is not enough to revolt against one’s past.”



John Fowles (31 maart 1926 – 5 november 2005)



De Roemeense dichter en essayist Nichita Stănescu werd geboren op 31 maart 1933 in Ploieşti. Zie ook mijn blog van 31 maart 2007.

Burned forest

Black snow was falling. The tree line
shone when I turned to see –
I had wondered long and silent,
alone, trailing memory behind me.

And it seemed the stars, fixed as they were,
ground their teeth, a stiffened nexus,
an infernal machine, tolling
the halted hours of conciousness.

Then, a thick silence descends,
and my every gesture
leaves a comet tail in the heavens.

And I hear evey glance I cast
as it echoes against
some tree.

Child, what were you seeking there,
with your gangly arms and pointed shoulders
on which the wings were barely dry –
black snow drifting in the evening sky.

A horizon howling, far from view,
darting its tongues and anthracite,
dragged me forever down the mute row,
my body, half naked, sliding from sight.

In distances of smoke the town afire,
blazing beneath the planes, a frigid pyre.
We two, forest, what did we do?
Why did they burn you, forest, in a toga of ash –
and the moon no longer passes over you?


Field in Spring

Green rings around the eyes, this grass in vibrant motion
arcs tenderly about you, at a distance-
you summon it, then fling it round, broken
by your laugh of youth and innocence.

Stretched under you, this curling dome of grass
would sound its voices in the gravel-
but you are unaware – and now you pass
through foreign stars, a fool.


Vertaald door Thomas Carlson en Vasile Poenaru



Nichita Stănescu (31 maart 1933 – 13 december 1983)



De Amerikaanse schrijfster en feministe Marge Piercy werd geboren op 31 maart 1936 in Detroit.  Zie ook mijn blog van 31 maart 2007

Barbie Doll


This girlchild was born as usual
and presented dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves and irons
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:
You have a great big nose and fat legs.

She was healthy, tested intelligent,
possessed strong arms and back,
abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.
She went to and fro apologizing.
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs.

She was advised to play coy,
exhorted to come on hearty,
exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.
Her good nature wore out
like a fan belt.
So she cut off her nose and her legs
and offered them up.

In the casket displayed on satin she lay
with the undertaker’s cosmetics painted on,
a turned-up putty nose,
dressed in a pink and white nightie.
Doesn’t she look pretty? everyone said.
Consummation at last.
To every woman a happy ending.



The Woman in the Ordinary

The woman in the ordinary pudgy downcast girl
is crouching with eyes and muscles clenched.
Round and pebble smooth she effaces herself
under ripples of conversation and debate.
The woman in the block of ivory soap
has massive thighs that neigh,
great breasts that blare and strong arms that trumpet.
The woman of the golden fleece
laughs uproariously from the belly
inside the girl who imitates
a Christmas card virgin with glued hands,
who fishes for herself in other’s eyes,
who stoops and creeps to make herself smaller.
In her bottled up is a woman peppery as curry,
a yam of a woman of butter and brass,
compounded of acid and sweet like a pineapple,
like a handgrenade set to explode,
like goldenrod ready to bloom.



Marge Piercy (Detroit, 31 maart 1936)


Zie voor onderstaande schrijvers ook mijn blog van 31 maart 2007.

De Vlaamse schrijver, vertaler en publicist Peter Motte werd geboren in Geraardsbergen op 31 maart 1966.

De Engelse dichter Andrew Marvell werd geboren in Winestead, Yorkshire op 31 maart 1621 in Londen.