In the Basement of the Goodwill Store
In musty light, in the thin brown air
of damp carpet, doll heads and rust,
beneath long rows of sharp footfalls
like nails in a lid, an old man stands
trying on glasses, lifting each pair
from the box like a glittering fish
and holding it up to the light
of a dirty bulb. Near him, a heap
of enameled pans as white as skulls
looms in the catacomb shadows,
and old toilets with dry red throats
cough up bouquets of curtain rods.
You’ve seen him somewhere before.
He’s wearing the green leisure suit
you threw out with the garbage,
and the Christmas tie you hated,
and the ventilated wingtip shoes
you found in your father’s closet
and wore as a joke. And the glasses
which finally fit him, through which
he looks to see you looking back—
two mirrors which flash and glance—
are those through which one day
you too will look down over the years,
when you have grown old and thin
and no longer particular,
and the things you once thought
you were rid of forever
have taken you back in their arms.
Untitled [Each time I go outside]
Each time I go outside
the world is different.
This has happened all my life.
The clock stopped at 5:30
for three months. Now it’s always time to quit work,
have a drink, cook dinner.
“What I would do for wisdom,”
I cried out as a young man.
Evidently not much. Or so it seems.
Even on walks I follow the dog.
perhaps we work too hard
at being remembered.
Ted Kooser (Ames, 25 april 1939)
A German Requiem (Fragment)
The better for the widow, that she should not live in fear of surprise,
The better for the young man, that he should move at liberty between the armchairs,
The better that these bent figures who flutter among the graves
Tending the nightlights and replacing the chrysanthemums
Are not ghosts,
That they shall go home.
The bus is waiting, and on the upper terraces
The workmen are dismantling the houses of the dead.
But when so many had died, so many and at such speed,
There were no cities waiting for the victims.
They unscrewed the name-plates from the shattered doorways
And carried them away with the coffins.
So the squares and parks were filled with the eloquence of young cemeteries:
The smell of fresh earth, the improvised crosses
And all the impossible directions in brass and enamel.
‘Doctor Gliedschirm, skin specialist, surgeries 14-16 hours or by appointment.’
Professor Sarnagel was buried with four degrees, two associate memberships
And instructions to tradesmen to use the back entrance.
Your uncle’s grave informed you that he lived in the third floor, left.
You were asked please to ring, and he would come down in the lift
To which one needed a key…
James Fenton (Lincoln, 25 april 1949)
All But Blind
All but blind
In his chambered hole,
Gropes for worms
The four-clawed mole.
All but blind
In the burning day,
The barn owl
Blunders on her way.
And blind as are
These three to me,
So blind to someone
I must be.
The abode of the nightingale is bare,
Flowered frost congeals in the gelid air,
The fox howls from his frozen lair:
Alas, my loved one is gone,
I am alone:
It is winter.
Once the pink cast a winy smell,
The wild bee hung in the hyacinth bell,
Light in effulgence of beauty fell:
I am alone:
It is winter.
My candle a silent fire doth shed,
Starry Orion hunts o’erhead;
Come moth, come shadow, the world is dead:
Alas, my loved one is gone,
I am alone;
It is winter
Walter John de la Mare (25 april 1873 – 22 juni 1956)
Portret door William Rothenstein
Uit: Raintree County
“ –The wisdom of the mythmakers is still with us, Professor. The profoundest mystery in the world is the existence of Another. Erotic love is the intense awareness of this Other, a Sacred Place. The lover bears the golden bough of godlike appetite and mysterious power and passes through the dismal wood that lies at the portals of Tartarus. Among the gibbering shades, he presses in with mortal thrust, making the boat of Charon heavy with his unusual weight. He bears the golden bough to the inmost shrine of the earth-goddess where he repeats the ancient frenzy. As you say, this rite is not unconnected with blood and death, for the renewal of form is possible only by the destruction of form. Love is a sweet death. A million die that one may reach the mark.
He beheld the fading beauty of the day over Waycross. Now the roofs of the town were drenched in a last red bath of fire. A few rays thrust through to paint the green body of a nymph and touch the pooled and spouting fountain with golden light. The children were little blind swimmers in the valley of the day’s receding brightness. Corn filled the earth with blind roots. All things were bathed in light and longing.
–We’ll never go any farther than those broken stones beside the inland ocean, the Perfessor said. The corn god is gone, and we have –behold!–only the corn.
He took a long pull at his bottle, coughed, and sighed.
–The world is still full of divinity and strangeness, Mr. Shawnessy said. The scientist stops, where all men do, at the doors of birth and death. He knows no more than you and I why a seed remembers the oak of twenty million years ago, why dust acquires the form of a woman, why we behold the earth in space and time. He hasn’t yet solved the secret of a single name upon the earth. We may pluck the nymph from the river, but we won’t pluck the river from ourselves: this coiled divinity is still all murmurous and strange. There are sacred places everywhere. The world is still man’s druid grove, where he wanders hunting for the Tree of Life.”
Ross Franklin Lockridge Jr. (25 april 1914 – 6 maart 1948)
Hier met vriend Malcolm Correll (rechts) in 1937
Dreißig Jahre danach
Pans Stunde in Berlin, die Bewohner
vor der Mittsagshitze in die Wälder,
an die Seen geflohn, endlich wieder Stille
in der abgedunkelten Wohnung.
Durch einen Spalt im Vorhang flimmert
Durch die Jahre, die lauten, nach der Kindheit
Ein anderer Sommer, der tiefer
Die Baumschatten schwärzt.
Und drüben an der Wand, wo kein Geräusch
Durch das Bildglas kommt, steht ein alter Himmel
Über dem Feldweg, der Wiese,
die nie aufhört zu grünen, als wäre
auf die Vergangenheit in jenem Januar
kein Schnee gefallen, kein Schnee auf
alle früheren Sommer, und die Stille
nicht gebrochen von Geschützdonner.
Traum hat keine Zeit. Jeder Baum im Stadtpark
Ist aus dem Paradies verpflanzt, wo
Jemand spielt, der vielleicht schon tot ist,
ein Kind mit Greisenfalten, dessen Photo vergilbt.
Richard Anders (Ortelsburg, 25 april 1928)
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 25e april ook mijn blog van 25 april 2012 deel 2.