Pascal Rannou, János Arany, Jevgeni Baratynski, Sholom Aleichem, Olivia Manning, Gerhard von Halem

De Franse schrijver en letterkundige Pascal Rannou werd geboren op 2 maart 1958 in Laval. Zie ook mijn blog van 2 maart 2009.


Uit: Noire la neige


«Lavaida !… Non, Alvaida !… Zut, Valaida !…» Trois frimousses pouffent de rire et se cachent derrière leurs pupitres relevés. Maîtresse n’en peut plus. «Bon sang ! A-t-on idée de donner à trois soeurs des prénoms si semblables ! Je m’y perds, moi ! Lavaida !» Le pupitre se baisse et l’aînée apparaît, joli visage long et bien dessiné, petit nez mutin et tresses bouclées.
«Oui, m’dame !
– Viens donc me faire cette division, que les autres comprennent !»
Le groupe se tait, car Lavaida est la plus avancée, et son intelligence impose le respect. L’école est une baraque de planches et de tôles, située dans les bas quartiers de Chicounago, faubourg de Chattanooga. C’est même curieux qu’il y ait une école. Quand elle a ouvert, les blancs du coin ont haussé les épaules : «Une école pour nègres ! Ça sert à rien, sont incapables d’apprendre à lire… tout juste bons à tapiner et à brailler leur damné blues», a éructé Jim Crow. Sûr que si les blancs avaient dû cracher au bassinet, il y aurait eu des manifs, et même des lynchages. Mais l’école est financée par un couple de philanthropes, des blancs, Mr et Mrs Lawson, un pasteur presbytérien et sa femme qui se sont un peu enrichis en étant les premiers, dans le Tennessee, à proposer des spectacles de cinéma ambulant. Le public se rassemble dans ces granges qu’on appelle Odeon Nickel, puisqu’on y entre pour quelques sous, et assiste le plus souvent debout aux projections. Les plus chanceux s’asseyent sur des bottes de paille, les enfants s’accroupissent au premier rang. Vers 1910, le cinéma est encore balbutiant, mais le public en raffole. Le pasteur noir, Mr Cooke, et parfois aussi Ma’, quand les tournées familiales lui en laissent le temps, accompagnent au piano les images muettes : films burlesques ou sentimentaux, actualités ou dessins animés. Quand Ma’ joue, on a le droit d’y aller. On est accroupies auprès d’elle, et le rythme sautillant des ragtimes nous ravit.“



Pascal Rannou (Laval, 2 maart 1958)


De Hongaarse dichter János Arany werd geboren op 2 maart 1817 in Nagyszalonta. Zie ook mijn blog van 2 maart 2007 en ook mijn blog van 2 maart 2009.


Auf dem Friedhof

Hier ist das stille Gräberfeld,
wo Pietät die Wache hält,
sie schützt den Schlaf der Toten.
Die Hügel grünen in der Au,
die Nachwelt zahlt den Zoll genau
auf wohlbestelltem Boden.

Wohl ein Jahrhundert ist es jetzt,
seitdem man hier die Bäumchen setzt,
die mit den Blütenkerzen.
Grabkreuze werden aus dem Wald,
sie mehren sich erstaunlich bald,
so wie gebrochne Herzen.
Vertaald door Géza Engl


Dieses Leben

Ein Gelage ist dies Leben:
Auch du mußt dein Glas erheben,
Freud und Leid gilt es zu grüßen,
sei’s vom Sauren, sei’s vom Süßen.

Trinke wie aus tiefster Brust,
Lust folgt Leid und Leid folgt Lust.
Viele schlürften wild das Naß,
wenige wie ich mit Maß.

Die mit mir beim Wein gesessen,
liegen drunten schon indessen,
ich, der stets den Rausch vermieden,
halt den Platz, der mir beschieden.

Blick ich auf die Trümmerreste,
scheinen öd mir solche Feste!
Trank ich denn nicht zur Genüge,
daß ich nicht dort unten liege?
Vertaald door Annemarie Bostroem


János Arany (2 maart 1817 – 22 oktober 1882)
Standbeeld in Boedapest


De Russische dichter Jevgeni Baratynski werd geboren op 2 maart 1800 in Sint Petersburg. Zie ook mijn blog van 2 maart 2007 en ook mijn blog van 2 maart 2009.


The Skull


Departed brother, who has disturbed your sleep

And trampled on the sanctity of the tomb?

Into your house, all dug up, I stepped down —

I took your skull in my hands, dusty and yellow.


The remnants of your hair — it wore them still.

I saw the slow course of decay upon it.

Horrible sight! How powerfully it struck

The sensible inheritor of that ruin.


Along with me a crowd of mindless youths

Above the open pit laughed mindlessly.

If only then, if only in my hands

Your head had burst forth into prophecy!


If only it had taught us — rash, in bloom,

And menaced hourly by the hour of death —

The truths that lie within the ken of tombs,

Uttering them in its impassive voice!


What am I saying? A hundred times is blessed

That law which has embalmed its lips in silence.

And righteous is that custom which demands

Respect for the solemn sleep of the departed.


Let the living live! Let the dead decay in peace!

O man, worthless creation of the Almighty,

Recognize finally that you were made

Neither for wisdom nor for omniscience!


We need our passions as we need our dreams.

They are the law and nourishment of our being:

You will not bring under the selfsame laws

The noise of the world and the silence of the graveyard.


Wise men will not extinguish natural feelings.

The answer they search for no grave shall supply.

Let life bestow its joys upon the living —

And death itself will teach them how to die.



Vertaald door Ilya Bernstein



Jevgeni Baratynski (2 maart 1800 – 11 juli 1844)


De Russisch-joodse schrijver Sholom Aleichem werd geboren in Pereyslav bij Kiev op 2 maart 1859. Zie ook mijn blog van 2 maart 2009.


Uit: Wandering Stars (Vertaald door Aliza Shevrin)


After the meal, and after Sholom-Meyer’s little speech, and after the cantor’s wife had cleared the table and the cantor said grace, the director felt it was time to get to the matter for which they had come. First he lifted his top hat, revealing a large bald pate, smoothed his fringe of pomaded hair, and wiped the sweat from his forehead. Then he began speaking. By nature he was a man of few words, but once he got going, it was hard for him to stop himself. His tongue would carry him off God knew where, so that he often ended up saying things he didn’t intend. Sholom-Meyer, his right-hand man, knowing his weakness, would try to take over, but the director would persist in speaking in his own style.

“You must understand, dear cantor,” Shchupak began, “that this is the way it is. Listen, I myself was once a cantor’s chorister. Actually I carried the slop pot. I mean I sang. I had a true soprano voice and caught more than a few slaps — I helped out on the pulpit. Then I went out on my own, sang at weddings, circumcisions, and pidyon habens chanting a kol m’koydesh that I had actually composed by myself. You should see this book full of my songs with my portrait on the cover. My kol m’koydesh goes like this, just listen.”


He began to warble:


Kol m’koydesh [Tzipkele my wife],

Sh’vii [may the devil take you],

K’rui lo [this very night!]


Albert Shchupak was into his role. He was preparing to sing kol m’koydesh in another key when Sholom-Meyer signaled him with a kick under the table that the sooner he stopped the better. Then Sholom-Meyer began explaining in plain words to the cantor exactly why they had come.“



Sholom Aleichem (2 maart 1859 – 13 mei 1916)
Standbeeld in Kiev


De Britse schrijfster Olivia Manning werd geboren op 2 maart 1908 in Portsmouth. Zie ook mijn blog van 2 maart 2009.


Uit: The Balkan Trilogy (The spoilt city)


„„One morning, while the city quivered like a mirage in the August heat, Harriet came face to face with Bella in the Calea Victoriei. Bella gave a smile and hurried into a shop. So she had not gone to Sinai after all, but had remained here, like everyone else, the prisoner of uncertainty and fear.

The Rome Conference had broken down. This time no one imagined that that was the end of the matter. There would be another conference. When it was announced, there was no stir and no more talk of defiance. The new Cabinet had announced complete fealty to the Führer and the Führer required a peaceful settlement. A settlement of any kind could only mean Rumania’s loss. Around the cafés and bars this fact was beginning to be accepted with a half-humorous resignation. What else was there to do? Yakimov, inspired by the tenor of conversation about him, had thought up a little joke. “Quel débâcle!” he said whenever opportunity arose: “As you walk cracks appear on the pavement,” and even Hadjimoscos had not the heart to snub him.

The young men still stood with their banners on the palace pavement, supported now by an admiring crowd. As for the King, having made his speech, his declaration of constancy, he had retired into silence, and a song was being sung which David did his best to put into English verse:


“They can have Bes
sarabia. We don’t like corn.

The best wheaten bread’s the stuff in our New Dawn.

Let them have the Dobrudja. Ma’s palace, anyway,

Has been sold to the nation for a million million lei.


Who wants Transylvania? Give it ’em on a plate.

Let them take what they damn well like. I’ll not abdicate”

The last phrase “Eu nu abdic” was the slogan of the moment. Jokes were told and the point was “Eu nu abdic”. Riddles were asked and the answer was always “Eu nu abdic”. However recondite, it was the smartest retort to any request or inquiry. It always raised a laugh.“



Olivia Manning (2 maart 1908 – 23 juli 1980)


De Duitse dichter en schrijver Gerhard Anton von Halem werd geboren op 2 maart 1752 in Oldenburg. Zie ook mijn blog van 2 maart 2009.



Du, Eifersucht, wärst Amors Kind?
So sei von mir bewundert.
Dein Vater, sagt man, ist blind;
Du hast der Augen hundert.


Von Halem

Gerhard Anton von Halem (2 maart 1752 – 4 januari 1819)