Bruce Chatwin, Daphne du Maurier, Alphonse Daudet, Kathleen Jamie, Armistead Maupin, Reinhold Schneider, Adolf Muschg, Franz Michael Felder, Jacob Gottfried Haafner, Roch Carrier

De Engelse schrijver Bruce Chatwin werd op 13 mei 1940 in Sheffield geboren. Zie ook mijn blog van 13 mei 2007.


Uit: In Patagonia


In my grandmother’s dining-room there was a glass-fronted cabinet and in the cabinet a piece of skin. It was a small piece only, but thick and leathery, with strands of coarse, reddish hair. It was stuck to a card with a rusty pin. On the card was some writing in faded black ink, but I was too young then to read.

‘What’s that?’

‘A piece of brontosaurus.’

My mother knew the names of two prehistoric animals, the brontosaurus and the mammoth. She knew it was not a mammoth. Mammoths came from Siberia.

The brontosaurus, I learned, was an animal that had drowned in the Flood, being too big for Noah to ship aboard the Ark. I pictured a shaggy lumbering creature with claws and fangs and a malicious green light in its eyes. Sometimes the brontosaurus would crash through the bedroom wall and wake me from my sleep.

This particular brontosaurus had lived in Patagonia, a country in South America, at the far end of the world. Thousands of years before, it had fallen into a glacier, travelled down a mountain in a prison of blue ice, and arrived in perfect condition at the bottom. Here my grandmother’s cousin, Charley Milward the Sailor, found it.

Charley Milward was captain of a merchant ship that sank at the entrance to the Strait of Magellan. He survived the wreck and settled nearby, at Punta Arenas, where he ran a ship-repairing yard. The Charley Milward of my imagination was a god among men–tall, silent and strong, with black mutton-chop whiskers and fierce blue eyes. He wore his sailor’s cap at an angle and the tops of his sea-boots turned down.

Directly he saw the brontosaurus poking out of the ice, he knew what to do. He had it jointed, salted, packed in barrels, and shipped to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. I pictured blood and ice, flesh and salt, gangs of Indian workmen and lines of barrels along a shore–a work of giants and all to no purpose; the brontosaurus went rotten on its voyage through the tropics and arrived in London a putrefied mess; which was why you saw brontosaurus bones in the museum, but no skin.

Fortunately cousin Charley had posted a scrap to my grandmother.

My grandmother lived in a red-brick house set behind a screen of yellow-spattered laurels. It had tall chimneys, pointed gables and a garden of blood-coloured roses. Inside it smelled of church.

I do not remember much about my grandmother except her size. I would clamber over her wide bosom or watch, slyly, to see if she’d be able to rise from her chair. Above her hung paintings of Dutch burghers, their fat buttery faces nesting in white ruffs. On the mantelpiece were two Japanese homunculi with red and white ivory eyes that popped out on stalks. I would play with these, or with a German articulated monkey, but always I pestered her: ‘Please can I have the piece of brontosaurus.’




Bruce Chatwin (13 mei 1940 – 18 januari 1989)





De Britse schrijfster Daphne du Maurier werd geboren in Londen op 13 mei 1907
. Zie ook mijn blog van 13 mei 2007.


Uit: Jamaica Inn


It was a cold grey day in late November, The weather had changed overnight when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it,and although it was now only a little after two o’clock in the afternoon the pallour of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist. It would be dark by four. The air was clammy cold, and for all the tightly closed windows It penetrated the interior of the coach. The leather seats damp to the hands, and there must have been a small crack in the roof, because now and again little drips of rain fell softly through, smudging the leather and leaving a dark blue stain like a splodge of ink. The Wind came in gusts, at times shaking the coach as it travelled round the bend of the road, and in the exposed places on the high ground it blew with such force that the whole body of the coach trembled and swayed, rocking between the high wheels like a drunken man.

The driver, muffled in a greatcoat to his ears, bent almost double in his seat; in a faint endeavour to gain shelter from his own shoulders, while the dispirited horses plodded sullenly to his command, too broken by the wind and the rain to feel the whip that now and again cracked above their heads, while it: swung between the numb fingers of the driver.

The wheels of the coach creaked and groaned as they sank onto the rats on the road, and sometimes they flung up the soft spattered mud against the windows, where it mingled with the constant driving rain, and whatever view there might have been of the countryside was hopelessly obscured.

The few passengers huddled together for warmth, exclaiming in unison when the coach sank into a heavier rut than usual, and one old fellow, who had kept up a constant complaint ever since he had joined the coach at Truro, rose from his seat in a fury, and, fumbling with the window sash, let the window down with a crash, bringing a shower of rain in upon himself and his fellow passengers. He thrust his head out and shouted up to the driver, cursing him in a high petulant voice for a rogue and a murderer; that they would all be dead before they reached Bodmin if he persisted in driving at breakneck speed; they had no breath left in their bodies as it was, and he for one would never travel by coach again.

Whether the driver heard him or not was uncertain; it seemed more likely that the stream of reproaches was carried away in the wind, for the old fellow, after waiting a moment, put up the window again, having thoroughly chilled the interior of the coach, and, settling himself once more in his comer, wrapped his blanket about his knees and muttered in his beard.”





Daphne du Maurier (13 mei 1907 – 19 april 1989)






De Franse schrijver Alphonse Daudet werd geboren in Nîmes op 13 mei 1840. Zie ook mijn blog van 13 mei 2007.


Uit: La chèvre de monsieur Seguin


Tu seras bien toujours le même, mon pauvre Gringoire !
  Comment ! on t’offre une place de chroniqueur dans un bon journal de Paris, et tu as l’aplomb de refuser… Mais regarde-toi, malheureux garçon ! Regarde ce pourpoint troué, ces chausses en déroute, cette face maigre qui crie la faim. Voilà pourtant où t’a conduit la passion des belles rimes ! Voilà ce que t’ont valu dix ans de loyaux services dans les pages du sire Apollo… Est-ce que tu n’as pas honte, à la fin ?
 Fais-toi donc chroniqueur, imbécile ! Fais-toi chroniqueur ! Tu gagneras de beaux écus à la rose, tu auras ton couvert chez Brébant, et tu pourras te montrer les jours de première avec une plume neuve à ta barrette…
  Non ? Tu ne veux pas ?… Tu prétends rester libre à ta guise jusqu’au bout… Eh bien, écoute un peu l’histoire de la chèvre de M. Séguin. Tu verras ce que l’on gagne à vouloir vivre libre. 
  M. Ségui
n n’avait jamais eu de bonheur avec ses chèvres.
  Il les perdait toutes de la même façon : un beau matin, elles cassaient leur corde, s’en allaient dans la montagne, et là-haut le loup les mangeait. Ni les caresses de leur maître, ni la peur du loup, rien ne les retenait. C’était, paraît-il, des chèvres indépendantes, voulant à tout prix le grand air et la liberté.
  Le brave M. Séguin, qui ne comprenait rien au caractère de ses bêtes, était consterné. Il disait :
  – C’est fini ; les chèvres s’ennuient chez moi, je n’en garderai pas une.
  Cependant, il ne se découragea pas, et, après avoir perdu six chèvres de la même manière, il en acheta une septième ; seulement, cette fois, il eut soin de la prendre toute jeune, pour qu’elle s’habituât à demeurer chez lui.
  Ah ! Gringoire, qu’elle était jolie, la petite chèvre de M. Séguin ! qu’elle était jolie, avec ses yeux doux, sa barbiche de sous-officier, ses sabots noirs et luisants, ses cornes zébrées et ses longs poils blancs qui lui faisaient une houppelande ! C’était presque aussi charmant que le cabri d’Esméralda, tu te rappelles, Gringoire ? – et puis, docile, caressante, se laissant traire sans bouger, sans mettre son pied dans l’écuelle. Un amour de petite chèvre…
  M. Séguin avait derrière sa maison un clos entouré d’aubépines. C’est là qu’il mit la nouvelle pensionnaire.”





Alphonse Daudet (13 mei 1840 – 17 december 1897)






De Schotse dichteres Kathleen Jamie werd geboren op 13 mei 1962 in Currie, Edinburgh. Zie ook mijn blog van 13 mei 2007.




See thon raws o flint arraheids
in oor gret museums o antiquities
awful grand in Embro –
Dae’ye near’n daur wunner at wur histrie?
Weel then, Bewaur!
The museums of Scotland are wrang.
They urnae arraheids
but a show o grannies’ tongues,
the hard tongues o grannies
aa deid an gaun
back to thur peat and burns,
but for thur sherp
chert tongues, that lee
fur generations in the land
like wicked cherms, that lee
aa douce in the glessy cases in the gloom
o oor museums, an
they arnae lettin oan. But if you daur
sorn aboot an fancy
the vanished hunter, the wise deer runnin on;
wheesht… an you’ll hear them,
fur they cannae keep fae muttering
ye arnae here tae wonder,
whae dae ye think ye are?








Binna feart, hinny
yin day we’ll gang thegither
tae thae stourie
and loss wirsels-


see, I’d rather
whummel a single oor
intae the blae o thae wee flo’ers
than live fur a’ eternity
in some cauld hivvin.


Wheest, nou, till I spier o ye
will ye haud wi me?






Kathleen Jamie (Currie, 13 mei 1962)





De Amerikaanse schrijver Armistead Jones Maupin Jr. werd geboren op 13 mei 1944 in Washington. Zie ook mijn blog van 13 mei 2007.




Several times a month I pick up fruit trees at a nursery on Clement Street called Plant Parenthood. That always makes me nostalgic, since I ran the place for twelve years before selling it to my business partner, Brian Hawkins. My T cells had begun to climb by then, and I was sick of pushing Tuscan flowerpots to bored housewives. I wanted to plant something serious for once, to leave my mark on the earth before somebody planted me. I’ve never regretted that decision. I’m now tending at least a dozen mature gardens that I myself created years ago: lush green kingdoms seeded from my own imagination.

Not that it’s getting easier. My arthritis seems to be here for good, and the sheer grunt work of the job can put me out of commission for days on end. I’m my own boss, of course, so I can adjust my schedule accordingly, and I do have an assistant now — the aptly named Jake Greenleaf — who helps me with the trimming and hauling. But the big question remains: How long can I keep this up? The topic is almost unavoidable at Plant Parenthood, since Brian turned sixty-one this year, and retirement is his chief preoccupation.“




Armistead Maupin ( Washington, 13 mei 1944)






De Nederlandse dichter en godsdiensthistoricus Theo van  Baaren werd op 13 mei 1912 geboren in Utrecht. Zie ook mijn blog van 13 mei 2007.




De schaduw hangt over het bleek gazon,

de sparren worden zwarte silhouetten;

Neptunus met zijn drietand staat te letten

op ’t schuchter ruisen van een kleine bron,


vergeefs geboren, want de zomerzon

staat haar niet toe het gele gras te betten,

reeds hier en daar gezengd door sigaretten,

de stank waarvan hij nooit verdragen kon.


Alleen de nacht verlost hem uit zijn pijn

en hij verheugt zich op de milde reuken

van dauw en nevel als op ambrozijn,

die helen zal zijn schaarden en zijn deuken,

maar aan zijn voeten ligt, rokend, onrein,

een tweetal tartende sigarettenpeuken.




Studeerkamer bij avond


Een verre trein. Het tikken van een klok.

En zo vertrouwd de boeken om mij heen.

Wat stille dingen. En dan ik, alleen,

temidden dezer afgesloten wereld:

een kleine bol en ik het middelpunt,

waar buiten langs de grote wereld glijdt

en dwarrelt.

Het oude kleed dat op mijn tafel ligt,

het zachte schijnsel van een kleine lamp

wordt deel van mij: ik dek het naakte hout

en schuchter schijn ik door de kamer heen.

Ik ben niet meer een levend ding alleen,

omgeven door een massa dode dingen:

wat is hier levend en wat is hier dood?

wat is hier klein en wat hier groot?

wie is hier schipper en wat is hier boot?

Ik weet het niet: ‘k ben mèt de dingen dood

en leef met hen, hier ’s avonds laat alleen.





Theo van  Baaren
(13 mei 1912    4 mei 1989)





De Duitse dichter Reinhold Schneider werd op 13 mei 1903 geboren in Baden-Baden. Zie ook mijn blog van 13 mei 2006.


Meiner Seele tiefe Trauer


Meiner Seele tiefe Trauer
Stillt keines Sommersleuchtens Glut
Wohl tut mir des Herbstes Schauer
Und des Daseins flüchtige Dauer
Und die immer ziehende Flut.

Meines Gartens Bäume neigen
Tief sich auf den Grund herein
Schlummernd unter ihren Zweigen
Fühl ich die Gestirne steigen
Auf geschloß’nen Augen ihren Schein.

Nie hör’ ich ein Lachen klingen
Auf der immerstillen Flur;
Nur die fernen Geigen singen
Von denen, die vorübergingen
In diesem Leben ohne Spur.





An den Turm des Freiburger Münsters 
Steh’ unzerstörbar herrlich im Gemüte 
Du großer Beter glaubensmächtiger Zeit! 
Wie dich verklärt des Tages Herrlichkeit, 
Wenn längst des Tages Herrlichkeit verglühte: 


So will ich bitten, daß ich treulich hüte 
Das Heilige, das Du ausstrahlst in den Streit 
Und will ein Turm sein in der Dunkelheit, 
Des Lichtes Träger, das der Welt erblühte. 


Und sollt’ ich fallen in dem großen Sturm,

So sei’s zum Opfer,daß noch Türme ragen 
Und daß mein Volk der Wahrheit Fackel werde. 


Du wirst nicht fallen, mein geliebter Turm. 
Doch wenn des Richters Blitze Dich zerschlagen,

Steig’ in Gebeten kühner aus der Erde. 





Reinhold Schneider (13 mei 1903 – 6 april 1958)








Zie voor onderstaande schrijvers ook  mijn blog van 13 mei 2007.


De Zwitserse schrijver en literatuurwetenschapper Adolf Muschg werd geboren op 13 mei 1934 in Zollikon, kanton Zürich.


De Oostenrijkse schrijver Franz Michael Felder werd geboren op 13 mei 1839 in Schoppernau.


De Duits-Nederlandse schrijver Jacob Gottfried Haafner werd geboren op 13 mei (volgens anderen op 13 maart) 1754 in Halle an der Saale.


De Canadese schrijver Roch Carrier werd geboren op 13 mei 1937 in Sainte-Justine, Quebec.