A Broken Appointment
You did not come,
And marching Time drew on, and wore me numb.
Yet less for loss of your dear presence there
Than that I thus found lacking in your make
That high compassion which can overbear
Reluctance for pure lovingkindness’ sake
Grieved I, when, as the hope-hour stroked its sum,
You did not come.
You love not me,
And love alone can lend you loyalty;
-I know and knew it. But, unto the store
Of human deeds divine in all but name,
Was it not worth a little hour or more
To add yet this: Once you, a woman, came
To soothe a time-torn man; even though it be
You love not me.
Attentive eyes, fantastic heed,
Assessing minds, he does not need,
Nor urgent writs to sup or dine,
Nor pledges in the roseate wine.
For loud acclaim he does not care
By the august or rich or fair,
Nor for smart pilgrims from afar,
Curious on where his hauntings are.
But soon or later, when you hear
That he has doffed this wrinkled gear,
Some evening, at the first star-ray,
Come to his graveside, pause and say:
‘Whatever his message his to tell
Two thoughtful women loved him well.’
Stand and say that amid the dim:
It will be praise enough for him.
A Thunderstorm in Town
She wore a ’terra-cotta’ dress,
And we stayed, because of the pelting storm,
Within the hansom’s dry recess,
Though the horse had stopped; yea, motionless
We sat on, snug and warm.
Then the downpour ceased, to my sharp sad pain,
And the glass that had screened our forms before
Flew up, and out she sprang to her door:
I should have kissed her if the rain
Had lasted a minute more.
Thomas Hardy (2 juni 1840 – 11 januari 1928)
Portret door Reginald Grenville Eves, 1923
Uit: La philosophie dans le boudoir
“Si la matière agit, se meut, par des combinaisons qui nous sont inconnues, si le mouvement est inhérent à la matière, si elle seule, enfin, peut, en raison de son énergie, créer, produire, conserver, maintenir, balancer dans les plaines immenses de l’espace tous les globes dont la vue nous surprend et dont la marche uniforme, invariable, nous remplit de respect et d’admiration, quel sera le besoin de chercher alors un agent étranger à tout cela, puisque cette faculté active se trouve essentiellement dans la nature elle-même, qui n’est autre chose que la matière en action? Votre chimère déifique éclaircira-t-elle quelque chose?
Je défie qu’on puisse me le prouver. À supposer que je me trompe sur les facultés internes de la matière, je n’ai du moins devant moi qu’une difficulté. Que faites-vous en m’offrant votre Dieu? Vous m’en donnez une de plus. Et comment voulez-vous que j’admette, pour cause de ce que je ne comprends pas, quelque chose que je comprends encore moins? Sera-ce au moyen des dogmes de la religion chrétienne que j’examinerai… Que je me représenterai votre effroyable Dieu?
Voyons un peu comme elle me le peint…
Que vois-je dans le Dieu de ce culte infâme, si ce n’est un être inconséquent et barbare, créant aujourd’hui un monde de la construction duquel il se repent demain? Qu’y vois-je qu’un être faible qui ne peut jamais faire prendre à l’homme le pli qu’il voudrait? Cette créature, quoique émanée de lui, le domine; elle peut l’offenser et mériter par là des supplices éternels! Quel être faible que ce Dieu-là!”
Markies De Sade (2 juni 1740 – 2 december 1814)
Keir Dullea als de markies in de Amerikaanse-Duitse film „De Sade“ uit 1969
“How do you do?” the woman said in a soft drawl. She smiled. “You’re from the relief office, aren’t you? Do come in.”
“Thank you,” said the investigator, smiling, too, relievedly.
“Right this way,” said Mrs. Coleman, leading the way into a charming living room. She indicated an upholstered chair. “Please sit down.”
The investigator, who never sat in overstuffed chairs in the homes of her relief clients, plumped down and smiled again at Mrs. Coleman. Such a pleasant woman, such a pleasant room. It was going to be a quick and easy interview. She let her briefcase slide to the floor beside her.
Mrs. Coleman sat down in a straight chair and looked searchingly at the investigator. Then she said somewhat breathlessly, “You gave me to understand that Mammy has applied for relief.”
The odious title sent a little flicker of dislike across the investigator’s face. She answered stiffly, “I had just left Mrs. Mason when I telephoned you for this appointment.”
Mrs. Coleman smiled disarmingly, though she colored a little.
“She has been with us ever since I can remember. I call her Mammy, and so does my daughter.”
“That’s a sort of nurse, isn’t it?” the investigator asked coldly. “I had thought Mrs. Mason was a general maid.”
“Is that what she said?”
“Why, I understood she was discharged because she was no longer physically able to perform her duties.”
“She wasn’t discharged.”
The investigator looked dismayed. She had not anticipated complications. She felt for her briefcase.
“I’m very confused, Mrs. Coleman. Will you tell me just exactly what happened, then? I had no idea Mrs. Mason was—was misstating the situation.” She opened her briefcase.
Mrs. Coleman eyed her severely. “There’s nothing to write down. Do you have to write down things? It makes me feel as if I were being investigated.”
Dorothy West (2 juni 1907 – 16 augustus 1998)
Uit: Field of Honour (Vertaald door Gerald Martin)
“There are no electric lights in Barcelona. Nor a moon. Only gunfire and blazing churches. Crowds in the streets move from one fire to another. The firemen tried to go out, but the people cut the hoses. The churches burn, but not the Cathedral, nor the monastery of Pedrables. Gothic buildings are not to be burned; this is the only order the people take note of. Barcelona in the darkness but with enough churches to be able to walk round the city, with the spectacle of its dead horses and flashes of gunfire from the fascists safely installed behind their balconies and murdering with impunity. A million inhabitants whose only light is a few gigantic torches. All the churches look like the Sagrada Familia now, and Barcelona smells of bonfires. Long branches, thick tongues of sparks against the blue, black night; and the smoke against the stars. People move quietly from one place to another, with their tragic sense of life in their pockets, hoping for a miracle; realizing that a new world is being born, one which may die in its infancy, as so often before in this very same bed; but they can all smell new birth; and, suspecting it, no one says anything; all that’s to be heard is the crackling of fire. Fire rising to the skies and the black city with its wounded in the doorways and killers on the roofs. You can see the belly of the smoke in the light of the flames, but not its shoulders or its crest.”
Max Aub (2 juni 1903 – 22 juli 1972)
Cover van een Spaanstalige uitgave
Uit: Minna (Vertaald door C. L. Nielsen)
“THE Term at the Polytechnic had been rather tiring. Dresden had begun to grow unbearably hot, and, to make matters worse, I was living at the time in one of the smaller streets of the ” old city,” which was not exactly airy, though clean and well-kept. I often felt a home-sick longing for the Danish ” Sund.” The evenings by the Elbe, though beautiful, brought hardly any refreshing coolness, and the thermometer still showed some eighty-eight degrees, even as late as between nine and ten p.m.,
when I dragged myself, gasping for a breath of air, up the steps of old Bruhl’s famous terrace. In a way it was consoling, as it proved that I had an undoubted right to feel hot, and that it was an excusable luxury to take an ice-cream outside the Cafe Torniamenti, while I sat between the columns and listened to snatches of the concert in the ” Wienergarten,” on the opposite side of the river.
It was on such an evening that I made the bold decision to go into the country during the approaching summer holidays. To myself, at any rate, this decision appeared rather daring, as I was both obliged and accustomed to live very economically. The thought occurred to me that I would go to Saxon-Switzerland, and the last morsel of ice-cream had not melted in my mouth when I had decided
upon the little hamlet of Rathen. Dear, tiny nook that it was, it had left upon me the impression of a rarely tender idyll, though, like most travellers, I had only seen it in passing, and then in the twilight, when coming down from the Bastei.
Towards noon, a few days later, I alighted at the little railway station, and walked past the fruit gardens down to the ferry. In this part the Elbe goes winding round cultivated land, which gradually rises into undulating country, dark with pine woods and overhung by rocks, while gently sloping down towards the river.”
Karl Gjellerup (2 juni 1857 – 11 oktober 1919)
Uit: Quartet in Autumn
“Of the four only Letty used the library for her own pleasure and possible edification. She had always been an unashamed reader of novels, but if she hoped to find one which reflected her own sort of life she had come to realise that the position of an unmarried, unattached, ageing woman is of no interest whatever to the writer of modern fiction.
“The organisation where Letty and Marcia worked regarded it as a duty to provide some kind of a retirement party for them, when the time came for them to give up working. Their status as ageing unskilled women did not entitle them to an evening party, but it was felt that a lunchtime gathering, leading only to more than usual drowsiness in the afternoon, would be entirely appropriate…
“The activities of their department seemed to be shrouded in mystery – something to do with records or filing, it was thought, nobody knew for certain, but it was evidently ‘women’s work’, the kind of thing that could easily be replaced by a computer. The most significant thing about it was that nobody was replacing them, indeed the whole department was being phased out and only being kept on until the men working in it reached retirement age”.
Barbara Pym (2 juni 1913 – 11 januari 1980)