Sunday, May 18, 2008

Death still a master from Germany

Before starting blogging last June, and thinking of the last post to end this 'adventure' the previous entry was in my mind.

And yes! It should have been my last post.

Look at the title above. What's the news? The 'still'. The 'still' - ha ha ha ...

Oh well, while I am trying to find an article from 1988, where one could read which German firms had sold some essentials Saddam Hussein needed to launch the Halabja poison gas attack you may read this and form an opinion, yourself.

Did you appreciate the terms 'Defense Exporter' and 'military goods'?

Ah, language. Talleyrand is (often) said to have coined the phrase 'Speech / Language was given man to hide / disguise his thoughts'.

Indeed? Let's have a look if there's anybody else who said / wrote this before Monsieur Talleyrand 'coined' this phrase.
Ah, Molière. And Voltaire. So, ...
Oh, Dante, too.
So, Dante was the first.
Uh, what's that? Dionysius ... Cato ... Plutarch ...

This reminds me of that Patrick Kavanagh once being praised as a 'lousy poet' is said to have countered: 'Aren't we all since Homer?'

Which again is a solace for any lousy blogger putting too many thoughts (and too many links) into one posting and thus (deliberately) trying to provoke his readers to make use of their grey matter.

Back to the beginning.

It was Paul Celan who, in his Death Fugue, coined the phrase 'death is a master from Germany'.

And since, German politicans are trying to make the world believe Germans are trustworthy peace brokers.

Still ... [trying to keep contenance] ...

the peace of the night.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Greedy after gossip?

Hardly a man takes a half-hour's nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, 'What's the news?' as if the rest of mankind had stood his sentinels. Some give directions to be waked every half-hour, doubtless for no other purpose; and then to pay for it, they tell what they have dreamed. After a night's sleep the news is as indispensable as the breakfast. 'Pray, tell me anything new that has happened to a man anywhere on this globe' - and he reads it over his coffee and rolls, that a man has had his eyes gouged out this morning on the Wachito River; never dreaming the while that he lives in the dark unfathomed mammoth cave of this world, and has but the rudiment of an eye himself.

For my part [...] I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steam-boat blown up, or one cow ran over the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter - we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications. To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea. Yet not a few are greedy after this gossip. There was such a rush, as I hear, the other day at one of the offices to learn the foreign news by the last arrival, that several large squares of plate glass belonging to the establishment were broken by the pressure - news which I seriously think a ready wit might write a twelvemonth or twelve years beforehand with sufficient accuracy.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or Life in the Woods, 1854

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dear Mum

Dear Mum, I know you are always there
To help and guide me with all your care,
You nursed and fed me and made me strong
To face the world and all its wrong.

What can I write to you this day
For a line or two would never pay
For care and time you gave to me
Through long hard years unceasingly.

How you found strength I do not know
How you managed I'll never know,
Struggling and striving without a break
Always there and never late.

You prayed for me and loved me more
How could I ask for anymore,
And reared me up to be like you
But I haven't a heart as kind as you.

A guide to me in times of plight,
A princess like a star so bright,
For life would never have been the same
If I hadn't learnt of what small things came.

So forgive me, Mum, just a little more,
For not loving you so much before,
For life and love you gave to me
I give my thanks for eternity.

Bobby Sands (March 9th, 1954 - May 5th, 1981)

Modern Times

It is said we live in modern times,
In the civilised year of 'seventy-nine',

But when I look around, all I see,
Is modern torture, pain, and hypocrisy.

In modern times little children die,
They starve to death, but who dares ask why?
And little girls without attire,
Run screaming, napalmed, through the night afire.

And while fat dictators sit upon their thrones,
Young children bury their parents' bones,

And secret police in the dead of the night,
Electrocute the naked woman out of sight.

In the gutter lies the black man, dead,
And where the oil flows blackest, the street runs red,
And there was He who was born and came to be,
But lived and died without liberty.

As the burocrats, speculators and presidents alike,
Pin on their dirty, stinking, happy smiles tonight,
The lonely prisoner will cry out from within his tomb,

And tomorrow's wretch will leave its mother's womb!

Bobby Sands, died May 5th, 1981

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Just a thought

When pain's the hell
the absence of pain
is heaven.

Wishing a heavenly weekend.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

'Elephant's' memory

Ah, how interesting to re-read this after 27 years (you may click to enlarge): the Irish Times - and the Irish Press which I was too lazy to scan. Loads of words filling pages.

However, it's the crying 'elephant' - what a metapher! - I'd never forget. It's telling more than millions of words. A few more though: Bobby Sands was 27 when he died. And now was the 27th anniversary of his death.
Mitchel McLaughlin was 35 when Sands died, Gerry Adams 32, Martin McGuinness 30. They are 62 now respectively 59 and 58.

Not that I don't wish these gentlemen well. But I find interesting that - to my knowledge - nobody ever asked why none of this triumvirat well known for talking a lot about solidarity, joined the hunger-strike in 1981.
Ah, well, Ian Paisley did not kill anybody, and so didn't Maggie Thatcher, did they?
And the moral of the story: It's nice to have indians when you are the chieftain.
The peace of the night.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

On a Lonely Skylark's Song

Yesterday night I continued re-reading parts of an anthology* of the writings of Bobby Sands. from which I chose the poem for yesterday's post. And, although I did not accept all I read, again I felt deeply moved.

My thoughts? My feelings?
A photo I once took on my various strives through the Bogside in Derry - also known as Londonderry :) - might be able to tell you more than I could in thousand or two thousand words.

Click to enlarge

* Skylark Sing Your Lonely Song, Mercier Press,
ISBN 0-85342-726-7

Monday, May 05, 2008

A burning thread

The seagulls are crying
Swirling up to spray
Upon the ocean of my mind
Blown, by a breeze of yesterday.

Oh! the simple gentle thoughts
The loneliness of the prisoner
To see the golden mermaid of the rock
Yet, to be cut adrift from her.

The mind knows no doors
A burning candle in the night
To seek the green or grey of yesterday
Or the 'if' the 'wish' or 'might'.

In the tomb the darkest depths
The candle flickers dying
Death is slaying life unseen
While the seagulls are crying.

Bobby Sands, died May 5th, 1981

Why would I not forget this day?
It's also the birthday - Happy brithday, James! - of an Irish Dominican I once, in 1974, met in San Clemente, and who happened to become one of the dearest persons in this agnostic's life.
Actually, I am almost sure if it had not been for meeting him, I'd rather probably than perhaps not have come to 'know' Ireland better than my native country.

'to know'? Ah, the more I came to learn the less I felt to know.
Helplessness in the face of a 'terrible beauty' in which children long before their first day at school would know more about hatred than about what day by day is fervingly being preached in the church but not as fervently being practiced: love.

One last sentence for now:
I didn't, don't and (very hopefully) won't ever support violence.
However I am trying to understand its 'sources', its 'mechanisms'.
Nothing more, nothing less.

This just to make sure that I'll not be misunderstood.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Lovely Lecture on Life

No introduction. No comment.

After 76 minutes and 26 seconds you will (hopefully) understand.

The Peace of the Night.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Walpurgis Night

It may sound unbelievable, but I must tell you what happened last night.

After having hacked yesterdays 'post' and having forgotten to wish you The Peace of Walpurgis Night I went to bed. Somehow I couldn´t sleep. So I got up again, put on my clothes, took the car and drove into the night. After some miles I decided to try what I had not done since I was a little boy. In X - my birthplace - I left the car, looked around to make sure nobody watched me, and then ran as fast as I could and ... yes ... took off. And nobody running behind me, trying to reach my legs and pulling me down. How lovely flying over the roofs.
So why not making a little trip?

30 minutes later I could see fire shining on the Brocken. As I have no official flying-license, and to avoid the traffic jam over the top, I landed smoothly at the foot of the Brocken, and started to climb. It was raining now, but I didn´t mind. After one hour I arrived at a small clearing. Crossing it suddenly a fairy appeared in front of me, aside her a Leprechaun.

"What are you doing here, Sean?" the fairy asked.

"Climbing up to the top of the Brocken."

"Could be the shortest way to hell", snorted the Leprechaun. "Any milk in your pockets?"

Oh dear. Of course I had no milk in my pockets. That could become difficult. Leprechauns can get extremely naughty, if one has no milk for them, and if it´s deep in the night inmidst a clearing half way to the top of the Brocken.

Automatically I searched my pockets, and ... felt ... impossible ... something cool ... a bottle of milk.

Whilst reaching it to the Leprechaun my eyes thought to catch a smile from the fairy's lips.

"Thank you, mate", the Leprechaun said without any surprise in his voice, and immediately started to drink.

"Thank you", I thought in direction of the fairy.

"You are welcome", she said. "Have a wish?"

"Eh, you mean ...?"


"Any rules?"

"He sounds like a damn clever Paddy", the Leprechaun giggled.

"Indeed", said the fairy. "Even fairies couldn´t fulfil the wish of making a peaceful paradise of this planet. Therefore your wish must be a very personal one."

"Hm. ... Allright then: I wish ..."

"Stop!" said the Leprechaun.


"You must not speak out your wish, otherwise the magic is gone. Just think it."

"Thank you, friend. But why are you so kind?"

The Leprechaun took his pipe between his lips, blew some smoke-rings and said: "Lucky you had milk in your pockets, mate."

So I thought my wish, and just wanted to say bye, when the Leprechaun asked: "Not surprised we know your name?"

"Well, yes. But I have heard the little folk knows quite a lot."

"We have no cameras, though."


"Do you remember the rainbow you shot some years ago on Beara Peninsula?"

"Yes, I like this photo very much."

"So do we", laughed the Leprechaun. "You see, your photo helped us find the gold-pot at the end of the rainbow."

"But ... but ... but how and when did you see the photo? The film got developed in Germany."

"Hm, as you said: We do know quite a lot."

"Keep your secret, friends", I said. We shook hands, and I continued to climb upwards.

Somehow everything was easier. Only the din I thought to have heard from the top had calmed down. Nothing to hear. At last I reached the top. Incredible. Wherever I looked sleeping witches. Two or three seemed to have had an accident: Still sitting on their brooms they looked like being sticked against the trees. Slowly moving on I realized there was only one witch still being dancing. Never heard mystic music reached my ear. I moved on. The witch seemed not to have noticed me. She danced. Beautifully. Ten meters and I'd be able to see her face in the shine of the fire. Trying to make no noise I tiptoed.

Suddenly there was a big noise, as if a giant blew his breath. From one second to the other the fire went out. When my eyes got used to the darkness, I realized a last glowing, in front of where I had seen the witch dancing. At least the full moon sent his silvery shine to the clearing. I hesitated. Carefully I walked on, stumbled over a dead branch. At least I thought so. In the next moment my bottom got a hit, and it was as if a voice hissed: „Idiot." I turned round, bent forward and - it was a broom.

„Was it you who called me idiot?" I whispered.

„At least your ears are intact."

„Why at least?"

„Well, if your eyes were better, you wouldn´t have stumbled over me and disturbed my Peace of the Night."

„Excuse me, but that´s ..."

„Schscht. Not so loud. You could get in damn trouble, if you woke up the ladies. - So now, calm down, sir.: What did you want to ask?"

„Better not to ask anything. I thought it only surprising that you chose ... almost I had said : my phrase."

„Never mind. If you want to stay stupid, don´t ask."

„Well ... then ... How did you come to use it?"

„My boss once - about five years ago - began to wish me the Peace of the Night."

„Your boss?!"

„Well, correctly spoken: my Queen."

„Your Queen? What´s her name?"

„Can´t tell you. Not fancy to get a bloody nose."


„No, but you can ask herself."

... and the broom turned around and lay as if sound asleep.

Asking herself? Oh dear! Heart bumping. Blood rushing. Slowly I turned round. There she was. Behind the glooming fire she had stopped dancing. Now she slowly moved in my direction. Passing the gloom I got a glimpse of her face. Unlike the other witches I had seen before, she had no long hair. I got excited. She came closer. Should I flee? No, I decided to stay. Decided? Anyway, soon I'd see her face. 13 meters, twelve, eleven, ten, nine ... three steps more and she would appear in the moon´s cone. ... One ... black brown hair ... two ... my heart jumped ... three ... I saw nothing. I turned round. Where there had been the moon now was a big dark cloud. My knees felt like pudding. My nose smelled a parfume it had never smelled before. What would happen in the next moment? Ah, at least I'd have asked. But only I had opened my mouth I heard her voice very very close to my ear: She said: ...

Z...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz .................

In the next moment I woke up. In front of our house the musicians of the local fire-brigade had intonated „The May has arrived." Later on I saw the car where it is usually parked. But for hours I had eight words echoeing in my head: „I told you, it´s not fate, ... it´s magic!"

That´s my story. And I wonder what will happen next.

Hope you had a lovely dance into the May, and that you didn´t feel too exhausted today.