Monday, July 25, 2011

the mysterious date

Today is a birthday of Nina Berberova (1901-1993), the Iron Lady who was an author of the book about the other Iron Lady. Happy birthday to us and everyone who was born on 26 July !
As I wrote in my old blog on the, in my life, I read a lot of published diaries, memoirs and letters written by historical persons or literary characters who lived in different times, and I always looked for the date 26 July in the notes, wishing to know what happened in the lives of my favorite writers and their personages on the day. But in vain. Without going into particulars, I never found this date; all the authors, as if on purpose, avoided any mention of26 July, and some of them omitted the very month July. Only in one novel by one English writer 26 July was the eve of an important, crucial event in the narrator’s life.
But that’s not enough--that’s why one of the main characters of my novel, the boy of the name of Jocelyn was born on 26 July.
Happy Birthday, our dear boy! Creates not one’s will but one’s imagination; the world is what we’ve made. Say to yourself: it’s easy--and you’ll make worlds and move all mountains. Your organs are all right: the heartbeat counts eternal motion, the lungs imperishable, the guts turns the carnal communion into energy and rejects all chemical waste. Prostate and liver, glandules and kindles, the concentration and altars of higher spheres, are consonant. No alarming signs or pain; your arms, your ears are all right, your mouth is moistened, your nerves are endurable and sound. If working hard, you are close to overtiring yourself, your subconsciousness will check you, on the instant. Beneficently tired, in the evening, you’ll fall asleep till daybreak. The sound dreamless sleep will wash away all yesterday’s troubles, recovering your balance, and you’ll be cheerful and joyous like everyone when he is young, awakening at dawn, in springtime, overfilled with happiness; your friends, home, things of choice around; a wave is murmuring, the mountains are shining in the skyline. All what disturbed, angered, feared, all delusions, fears, offences glide sidelong, on background, like shadows, without disturbing your internal quietness. Be proud, wise and patient; love your takes-off and falls. Love both inflows and ebbs of happiness, both humans and the life in all diversity. Open your eyes and gulp the vivifying water of the elemental life, joyous and eternal.

The summer heat will moderate very soon, maybe on this very day, and everything will be all right again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

the link

“Ashes of the destroyed ancient temples knock in my heart.” (me)

See more illustrations for the quotation:

"Ashes Klaas knocked in his heart." (Charles-Theodore-Henri De Coster (1827-1879)

"My father's sacred ashes I collected
Into a pouch to wear it on my chest,--
So that these ashes knocking at my chest
Kept calling me to vengeance and perdition!" (Eduard Bagritsky (1895-1934), translation is not mine.)

by Eduard Bagritsky

[ Note: The famous French writer Romain Rolland (1866-1944) wrote in his article, dedicated to Ulenspiegel: "Ulenspiegel is a Flemish Geus (a rebel against Spain), son of Claes, a skilled artisan, a freedom fighter and protector of his people. He avenges his people by using laughter, and he avenges his people by using a battle-axe." ]

They burned my father at the stake. Insane
My mother went from torture, and at that
In tears I abandoned my dear Damme.
My father's sacred ashes I collected
Into a pouch to wear it on my chest, —
So that these ashes knocking at my chest
Kept calling me to vengeance and perdition!
I travel wide: from Damme to Ostende,
And then to Antwerp from both Liège and Brussels.
With my fat Lamme we are riding donkeys.
I'm known to all: the ever-wandering fowler,
Who caged birds is carrying to the market;
The cantinière, who hands me with a smile
A mug of golden effervescent beer,
Accompanied by hot and juicy ham.
At city fairs I perform my songs
About Flanders and good old Brabant,
And all the Flemish feel down at their hearts,
Which long had grown fat and so much used to
The dreams of fragrant soups and amber beer,
The freedom spirit and the nation's pride.
I'm Ulenspiegel. There's no single village
Where I'd have not been to, no single town
Whose squares wouldn't have heard my ringing voice.
And Claes' ashes still tap at my heart,
I follow their beat by singing calmly
My lingering songs. In them will every Fleming
Discern the languid motion of the channels,
Where there are silence, swans, and wooden barges.
With comfortable fire in the hearth
Before him crackling gaily, he remembers
The hours of contentment, peace and languor,
When feeling tired of a day of work
He sniffs the smells of beer and roasted meat
While steeping in a lazy golden slumber.
I sing, “Hey, butchers, you don't need to kill
More calves and piglets! Choose a different stock.
A different prey awaits you. Stick your knifes
Deep into different animals. Their blood
Let spill onto your racks. Go stick those monks
And hoist them upside down like slaughtered pigs
Above your meat row counters for display.”
And I go on, “Hey, blacksmiths, you don't need
To shoe workhorses and to mend saucepans!
Good battle swords and pointed spearheads
Are wanted now so much more than horseshoes,
Do slowly pour the streams of molten lead
Into the throats of ruddy, lardy monks,
It will be so much more to their taste
Than Burgundy or finest Xeres wine.
Hey, shipwrights, you don't need to build more boats
For carrying beer barrels to and fro.
Take seasoned timber: planks of pine and spruce,
Use braces of cast-iron and of steel
To build the liberation man-o'war!
The Flemish women for its sails shall weave
Of finest threads the whitest, strongest cloth,
And like a bull preparing for a fight
With an enraged pack of hungry wolves,
This battleship will put out to the sea,
Its canons pointing at the riotous coast.”
And Claes' ashes still tap at my heart.
And my heart is now bursting, and my song
Acquires vehemence, and I am short of breath,
A burning sore comes closer to my tongue, —
I sing no more, but, like a vulture, wail,
“Hey, Flemish soldiers, for how long have you
Your steeds forgotten, striding in their stead
The public house benches? You don't need
To use your daggers just for cracking nuts,
Or with the spurs to scratch your itching heads
And reek of booze in vilest harlots' dens!
Lo! Swords are flashing, cities are aflame
Prepare for battle! The last hour has struck.
And everyone, who to lark's trill responds
With rooster's crow, is in our battle ranks.
The Duke of Alba!
This fight
Your fatal fall does portend;
The crop is ripe, and the reaper
The sickle on his sole does whet.
The tears of orphans and widows,
Which flow from their lifeless eyes,
Are weighing like drops of lead
On cups of the judgment scales.
The sword is our only hope,
In it our spirit trusts.
The skylark begins his song,
--The rooster returns the call.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


The Web--Cosmos--Afterlife.

The Picture
Nostalgia a killer, a tricky foe,
often using poetic license
to shape our past.
I’m trying to manage with it
by myself.
But I miss you, and there’s no help.
Do you remember…
Do you remember that sunny day,
impressed in the snapshot, far from perfect?
A child of three, I'm riding tricycle.
You tell me to turn round, and there --
your shade on the sand of the pathway.
A part of your shade,
the head and shoulders of a tall man
with the camera in hands over there
beside the shade of the whitethorn
in the nice public garden,
the Left Bank.
Whitethorns, lilacs,
old lime-trees, phloxes,
What kind of bushes
at the background of the picture?
Lilacs, as far as I remember.
By the time of the snapshot,
the lilacs have stopped blooming,
and the time of lime-trees has come,
the time when my birthday approaches.
Do you remember?
And now, when I write this,
it’s June-July again. The summer heat.
Pictures of the past rise before my mind's eye.
Is there any use to talk with the dead?
Yes, there is --
if I could believe in a possibility of the talk.
The Web -- Cosmos -- Afterlife.

*from the Land of Cast-Iron Snowdrops with love*