Uit: First Light
“There was a lull while the astronomers stared at the screen in silence. Juan Carrasco pulled one of several notebooks from his box of marinated jalapenos and made some notes in it. He felt that the only way to begin to guess what was going on inside the Big Eye was to keep track of its vital signs. He felt that the big Eye had its good nights and its bad nights. On the first day that he had reported to work on Palomar Mountain, he had written on the cover of an empty green notebook: “Love and Ambition are the wings to success. 1969.”
He had been afraid that he would fail—that he would crash the telescope. His old fear still touched him once in a while. He tried not to think too hard about the glass giant, moving out there in the darkness. The green notebook showed signs of much use. He had had to repair it with packing tape, Palomar glue.
Other notebooks had followed the green notebook. While at first he had stuck to critical information (“astronomers’ favorite radio station: KFAC 92.3 on the dial”), he had also wondered: “What happened at the moment of creation? How did the stars and galaxies come into being? How will the universe end?”—jotting questions for Jim Gunn, hoping that Gunn could answer them. Gunn, however, had been working fiendishly for most of his life to answer these very same questions, without ever attaining satisfactory answers, because (Juan noted) “What we have here is a fundamental problem.”
On a shelf within easy reach, Juan placed a tattered dictionary, and when he heard a savory word, he looked it up to get the nuances. Some of the astronomers seemed to forget that the night assistant was taking notes. When they spoke of their fellow astronomers, he recorded what he had heard:
Goon—a man hired to terrorize or intimidate opponents
Yokel—a rude, naïve, or gullible inhabitant of a rural area or small town
Jargon—unintelligible language or words
When the astronomers saw something spectacular on the video screens, he made a note of it for posterity: “Supernova!!!”
Richard Preston (Cambridge, 5 augustus 1954)
De Amerikaanse schrijver en dichter Conrad Potter Aiken werd geboren in Savannah, Georgia op 5 augustus 1889. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Conrad Aitken op dit blog.
Music I Heard
Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread;
Now that I am without you, all is desolate;
All that was once so beautiful is dead.
Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved,
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.
For it was in my heart that you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;
And in my heart they will remember always,
—They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.
Beloved, Let Us Once More Praise The Rain
Beloved, let us once more praise the rain.
Let us discover some new alphabet,
For this, the often praised; and be ourselves,
The rain, the chickweed, and the burdock leaf,
The green-white privet flower, the spotted stone,
And all that welcomes the rain; the sparrow too,—
Who watches with a hard eye from seclusion,
Beneath the elm-tree bough, till rain is done.
There is an oriole who, upside down,
Hangs at his nest, and flicks an orange wing,—
Under a tree as dead and still as lead;
There is a single leaf, in all this heaven
Of leaves, which rain has loosened from its twig:
The stem breaks, and it falls, but it is caught
Upon a sister leaf, and thus she hangs;
There is an acorn cup, beside a mushroom
Which catches three drops from the stooping cloud.
The timid bee goes back to the hive; the fly
Under the broad leaf of the hollyhock
Perpends stupid with cold; the raindark snail
Surveys the wet world from a watery stone…
And still the syllables of water whisper:
The wheel of cloud whirs slowly: while we wait
In the dark room; and in your heart I find
One silver raindrop,—on a hawthorn leaf,—
Orion in a cobweb, and the World.
Conrad Aiken (5 augustus 1889 – 17 augustus 1973)
De Amerikaanse dichter, schrijver, essayist en criticus Wendell Berry werd geboren op 5 augustus 1934 in Henry County, Kentucky. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Wendell Berry op dit blog.
I part the out thrusting branches
and come in beneath
the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent
there is singing around me.
Though I am dark
there is vision around me.
Though I am heavy
there is flight around me.
The Wish to be Generous
ALL that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
will burn in man’s evil, or dwindle
in its own age. Let the world bring on me
the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know
my little light taken from me into the seed
of the beginning and the end, so I may bow
to mystery, and take my stand on the earth
like a tree in a field, passing without haste
or regret toward what will be, my life
a patient willing descent into the grass.
Wendell Berry (Henry County, 5 augustus 1934)
De Nicaraguaanse schrijver en politicus Sergio Ramírez Mercado werd geboren in Masatepe op 5 augustus 1942. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 augustus 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Sergio Ramirez op dit blog.
Uit: Adios Muchachos (Vertaald door Mark Falcoff)
“It was an error that would cost much blood, because by violating the most sacred of its own promises, this sort of land reform produced the first great popular disenchantment with the Revolution. The cooperatives fell prey to attacks by the contras, determined to destroy them ab initio. But let the record show that many landless peasants went to war with them, or—determined not to be corralled into the UPEs—became their social base of support. This was even more the case with other farmers, owners of small and middle-sized plots, who were frightened from the first by the expropriations visited upon the large landowners, and then exposed to the same in their turn as the scale of reformable plots was revised every downward, particularly in the more remote areas of the republic.
When we finally changed course in an attempt to dry up the contra’s based of support and decided to hand out individual property titles to the peasants, the measure was still not sufficient, because once again ideological dogmatisms prevailed and the titles themselves could neither be passed on to one’s children or sold—in other words, were not fee-simple at all. The ranks of the contra continued to grow, and by then its military chiefs on the ground tended to be small farmers, many of them without any links to somocismo, indeed, in many cases pushing out the former National Guard officers who had been that movement’s leaders from the start.
In 1984 I was in Jonotega, at a meeting that was held in a secondary school, when some small farmers from the town of Pantasma came looking for me, accompanied by the departmental delegate of the Junta of Government, Carlos Zamora, and the local representative of the land reform agency, Daniel Núñez.
When the meeting ended we got together in one of the classrooms. They began to read me a list of complaints for abuses and mistreatment to which dozens of peasant families in the municipality had been subject. One of them took off his shirt and showed me the scars from barbed wire with which he had been lashed to a cot for several days.”
Sergio Ramírez (Masatepe, 5 augustus 1942)
Zie voor de schrijvers van de 5e augustus ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.