Uit: The hard man (Over de schrijver Vasily Aksyonov)
„Aksyonov once told me how he vividly recalled his fifth birthday, because that was when he was taken by the Cheka secret police to a home for children of Soviet “enemies of the people”, following the arrest of his parents. That night on August 20, 1937, young Vasily slept on a government-issue bed for the first time, burying his tear-stained face in his favourite toy lion. By morning, both Aksyonov’s toy and his childhood had been snatched from him.
Aksyonov was eventually rescued from the home by his uncle, but not before his relative had officially renounced his brother and promised the authorities to bring his nephew up as “a real Soviet man”.
Twenty three years later, Vasily Aksyonov had become a celebrity following the publication of his first novel, Colleagues, in the immensely popular Yunost youth magazine. This million-copy success was followed by Ticket to the Stars, a national bestseller which made Aksyonov famous across the whole of the Soviet Union.
Communist authorities at various stages attempted to tame the youthful talent and turn Aksyonov into a young “communist writer”, but his character – tempered in a children’s home, and later in the Gulag town of Magadan, where his mother had been exiled – made these attempts futile. Instead, each new Aksyonov publication triggered another stream of ideological tensions.
His tragi-comic play, Always on Sale, which had played to packed houses, was banned in the late Sixties. Overstuffed Barrels was reviled by Nikita Khrushchev for “making a mockery of everything that Soviet people hold dear”. And the party’s most loyal satirical journal, the Crocodile, frequently carried uncomplimentary cartoons of the Moscow playboy – as an English-speaking “Westerniser”, a jazz or basketball fan.
All the same, his books continued to be published, however grudgingly. In the period of détente, authorities were obliged to tolerate the existence of a writer whose books had already been translated into many languages.
There were also rumours circulated that Aksyonov was behind the publication of the famous Metropol, a collection of texts by 25 poets and writers, previously censored in the USSR. As a matter of fact, I can attest that this was not true, although he was undoubtedly the spiritual leader of our almanac.
Aksyonov was stripped of his Soviet citizenship in 1980 after he was allowed to go on a lecture tour abroad. Nevertheless, his books were smuggled into the USSR and distributed widely, despite the fact that possession of novels such as The Burn or Island of Crimea was enough to land one in trouble with the KGB.“:
Krasnojarsk, station (Geen portret beschikbaar)
Now, again in the silent night,
sequestrant walls, border walls
like plants entwine,
so they may be the guardians of my love.
Now, again the town’s evil murmurs,
like agitated schools of fish,
flee the darkness of my extremities.
Now, again windows rediscover themselves
in the pleasure of contact with scattered perfumes,
and trees, in slumberous orchards, shed their bark,
and soil, with its thousand inlets
inhales the dizzy particles of the moon.
to the anguished beats of my love,
like the tom-tom of African drums
along the tribe of my limbs.
is the moment of prayer.
In night’s refuge,
from innermost breezes, I waft.
In night’s refuge, I
tumble madly forth
with my ample tresses, in your palms,
and I offer you the equatorial flowers of this young tropic.
Come with me,
come to that star with me
that is centuries away
from earth’s concretion and futile scales,
and no one there
is afraid of light.
On islands adrift upon the waters, I breathe.
I am in search of a share in the expansive sky,
void of the swell of vile thoughts.
Refer with me,
refer with me
to the source of all being,
to the sanctified center of a single origin,
to the moment I was created from you
refer with me,
I am not complete from you.
on the peaks of my breasts,
doves are flying.
within the cocoon of my lips,
butterfly kisses are immersed in thoughts of flight.
the altar of my body
is ready for love’s worship.
Refer with me,
I’m powerless to speak
because I love you,
because “I love you” is a phrase
from the world of futilities
and antiquities and redundancies.
Refer with me,
I’m powerless to speak.
In night’s refuge, let me make love to the moon,
let me be filled
with tiny raindrops,
with undeveloped hearts,
with the volume of the unborn,
let me be filled.
Maybe my love
will cradle the birth of another Christ.
Vertaald door Layli Arbab Shirani
Forough Farokhzad (5 januari 1935 – 13 februari 1967)
De Amerikaanse dichter William De Witt Snodgrass werd geboren op 5 januari 1926 in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. William Snodgrass overleed in januari van het afgelopen jaar. Zie ook mijn blog van 5 januari 2009.
The green catalpa tree has turned
All white; the cherry blooms once more.
In one whole year I haven’t learned
A blessed thing they pay you for.
The blossoms snow down in my hair;
The trees and I will soon be bare.
The trees have more than I to spare.
The sleek, expensive girls I teach,
Younger and pinker every year,
Bloom gradually out of reach.
The pear tree lets its petals drop
Like dandruff on a tabletop.
The girls have grown so young by now
I have to nudge myself to stare.
This year they smile and mind me how
My teeth are falling with my hair.
In thirty years I may not get
Younger, shrewder, or out of debt.
The tenth time, just a year ago,
I made myself a little list
Of all the things I’d ought to know,
Then told my parents, analyst,
And everyone who’s trusted me
I’d be substantial, presently.
I haven’t read one book about
A book or memorized one plot.
Or found a mind I did not doubt.
I learned one date.And then forgot.
And one by one the solid scholars
Get the degrees, the jobs, the dollars.
And smile above their starchy collars.
I taught my classes Whitehead’s notions;
One lovely girl, a song of Mahler’s.
Lacking a source-book or promotions,
I showed one child the colors of
A luna moth and how to love.
I taught myself to name my name,
To bark back, loosen love and crying;
To ease my woman so she came,
To ease an old man who was dying.
I have not learned how often I
Can win, can love, but choose to die.
I have not learned there is a lie
Love shall be blonder, slimmer, younger;
That my equivocating eye
Loves only by my body’s hunger;
That I have forces true to feel,
Or that the lovely world is real.
While scholars speak authority
And wear their ulcers on their sleeves,
My eyes in spectacles shall see
These trees procure and spend their leaves.
There is a value underneath
The gold and silver in my teeth.
Though trees turn bare and girls turn wives,
We shall afford our costly seasons;
There is a gentleness survives
That will outspeak and has its reasons.
There is a loveliness exists,
Preserves us, not for specialists.
William Snodgrass (5 januari 1926 – 13 januari 2009)
Mon beau dragon mon lance-flammes
Mon tueur Mon bel assassin
Ma jolie brute pour ces dames
Mon amour Mon trancheur de seins
Mon pointeur Mon incendiaire
En auras-tu assez brûlé
Des hommes-torches et violé
Des jeunes filles impubères…
Va dans tes bêtes mécaniques
Écraser ceux qui sont chez eux
Va de l’Équateur aux Tropiques
Arracher le bonheur des yeux
Va mon fils va tu civilises
Et puis meurs comme à Épinal
Sur une terre jaune et grise
Où nul ne te voulait de mal.
Pierre Seghers (5 januari 1906 – 4 november 1987)
Zie voor onderstaande schrijvers ook mijn blog van 5 januari 2009.
De Argentijnse dichteres en schrijfster Luisa Futoransky werd geboren op 5 januari 1939 in Buenos Aires.
De Oostenrijkse schrijver Fred Wander werd geboren op 5 januari 1917 in Wenen als Fritz Rosenblatt.
De Engelse schrijfster Stella Gibbons werd geboren op 5 januari 1902 in Londen.
De Engelse dichter Humbert Wolfe werd geboren op 5 januari 1885 in Milaan.