Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Beers & Books LXIII – Seán O'Casey

The hallway of every man's life
is paced with pictures;
pictures gay and pictures gloomy,
all useful,
for if we be wise,
we can learn from them
a richer and braver way to live.

Seán O'Casey (30 March 1880 – 18 September 1964)

Monday, March 29, 2021

Jams and The Atomic Theory

In case you wish to read the words: The Englisch text you find here, at the blog of my friend Jams who today would have become 58; the translation into German here.
Like eight years ago, I do like thinking of my friend Jams having a pint of plain tonight with Flann O'Brien [and perhaps a second with Father Jack whilst Ted (not Father Ted, obviously) is reciting an episode of The Master and Margarita; discussing with Sergeant Pluck the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a bicycle, whilst feeding Mimi with cheese; taking phantastic photos while strolling around in his new surroundings without feeling any pain in his knees, let alone longing for Garra rufa to nibble skin off his feet; organising a weekly poetry contest the winner of which will be rewarded with a bicycle-esque looking William Topaz McGonagall-statue and ... ah ... oh well ... enjoying his new alltemporaries with what he uses to call drivel, and now and then sending love to his not-wife Shirl, a smile to his Mum and Dad, a twinkle of his eyes to Tim, Li, Elahe and amongst others ... well ... to you and to me.!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Beers & Books LXII – Mario Vargas Llosa

"There are many things behind a good novel,
but in particular, there is a lot of work -
a lot of patience, a lot of stubbornness,
and a critical spirit."

Mario Vargas Llosa * 28. March 1936


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Beers & Books LXI– Lev Kopelev

To Be Preserved Forever
No Jail For Thought
In Search of Truth and Tolerance

Lev Kopelev (27 March 1912 –  18 June 1997)

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Beers & Books LX – Antonio Tabucchi


Perreira Maintains,
Little Misunderstandings of No Importance;
not translated into Engish:
Pizza d'Italia and Dreams of Dreams

Antonio Tabucchi
(24 September 1943 – 25 March 2012)

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Death is nothing at all

I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am just waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner.
All is well.

Tod bedeutet gar nichts.

Ich bin nur nach nebenan verschwunden.
Ich bin ich und du bist du.
Was immer wir füreinander waren, das sind wir noch.
Nenne mich bei dem alten vertrauten Namen.
Sprich von mir, wie du es immer getan hast.
Ändere nicht deinen Tonfall.
Zwinge dich nicht zu aufgesetzter Feierlichkeit oder Traurigkeit.
Lache weiterhin über die kleinen Scherze, an denen wir gemeinsam Spaß hatten.
Spiele, lächle, denke an mich, bete für mich.
Lass meinen Namen weiterhin so geläufig sein, wie er immer war.
Sprich ihn unbekümmert aus, ohne die Spur eines Schattens.
Das Leben bedeutet all das, was es bisher bedeutete.
Es ist genauso wie immer.
Es geht uneingeschränkt und ununterbrochen weiter.
Ist der Tod nicht nur ein unbedeutender Zwischenfall?
Warum sollte ich vergessen sein, nur weil du mich nicht mehr siehst?

Ich warte einstweilen auf dich, ganz in der Nähe, nur um die Ecke.
Alles ist gut. 

Henry Scott Holland (27 January 1847 – 17 March 1918)

Monday, March 15, 2021

Beers & Books LIX – Lady Gregory

There is many
a man without learning
will get the better of a college-bred man,
and will have better words, too.

Lady Gregory  (15 March 1852 – 22 May 1932)

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Beers & Books LVIII – Benjamin Ferencz

Nuremberg taught me
that creating a world of tolerance and compassion
would be a long and arduous task.
And I also learned
that if we did not devote ourselves
to developing effective world law,
the same cruel mentality
that made the Holocaust possible
might one day destroy the entire human race.

Benjamin Ferencz * 11 March 1920 


Re-reading lots of our correspondence, for the past three days I have been crying, smiling, laughing, tears bedewing my cheeks. Even now words don't come easy to me.

Claude is dead.

Almost I am not surprised that our last conversation on this blog was about what we shall be leaving when we die.

"Appeared" at Omnium in June 2008 as "Curieuse au Canada", over the years a friendship developed

Not that we would not have had this and that verbal skirmish, but very soon we agreed to that we disagreed to this and that, and focused on what we like best: (Good) literature, poetry, music and ...

... the fun we had f.e. on the occasional "poetry slams" here or at "The Poor Mouth"!

When once she told me her age I thought she was kidding.
And when she told me about her life: What a woman! What courage!

- - -

After I had told her a bit about Irish literature she wrote:

"Now I would like German Literature. I know so little. Unless I have read translations without noticing the country. I doubt it. 
Then maybe you could tell me some English, French, American favourites? Just would like to see if we meet somewhere among books. 
Of course, I read the Russians ( Who doesn't?) Also Faust, Peer Gynt, Don Quichotte, The Prophet, The Rubayyat.  Studied Greek and Latin and did some translations.
Inevitably I read a lot Canadians (French and English), not necessarily all good. But I feel it's a bit of a duty to know what one's country produces. 
We have about a ten-year-program in front of us. Just want to make sure you will not drop me in 3-4 weeks :)))))

I love you, Sir Jeating.

- - -

When I had told her that I am German and Sean Jeating's just my heteronym, she wanted to know more about German literature, and let me know:
Of course I have read some Germans. I couldn't name them instantly, not because I forgot them. It's only that when a book speaks to one's heart, it has no nationality.
Since my student years, I have met few people who read "without borders". I knew, when I discovered your blog, that you were universal.
I read all Hermann Hesse, more than once. Then Remarque, Zweig. Some Brecht, Kant and Schopenhauer. ...

- - -


When very young, I claimed to be a writer and a musician. I became a nurse and loved it. It gave me much to write about. I also never let go of music. But lifepain took over, killed much of my ambitions. I write...I need it like air and water. Sometimes I share it. Mostly it's in boxes. Now and again I read a page, or two...I say to myself, "Claude, it's very good!". Then I put it aside.

The Music Claude never put aside. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Abado, Bernstein, Argerich, Gulda ... Hvorostovsky ... Casals, Paco de Lucía; Fado or Flamenco, etc., etc., etc. ...
To please Claude's ears and her heart I tried to find Saturday Night Music. And by trying I learned a bit about music.

We shared some poetry, encouraged eachother. She was good.

I think Claude does like me finally to share this with you: 

There lie my dreams and deep pain.
The detritus of my past
In its destitute beauty.
No recall. No tears.


I love you, Claude. De tout cœur!

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Beers & Books LVII – Tomás Ó Criomhthain

"Wouldn't it delight my heart
to be able to read a book of my own
before I died."

Tomas O'Crohan (21 December 1856 – 7 March 1937)

Friday, March 05, 2021

Beers & Books LVI – Pier Paolo Pasolini

"An artist,
if he's unselfish and passionate,
is always a living protest.
Just to open his mouth is to protest:
against conformism,
against what is official, public, or national,
what everyone else feels comfortable with,
so the moment he opens his mouth,
an artist is engaged,
because opening his mouth is always scandalous.”

Pier Paolo Pasolini (5 March 1922 – 2 November 1975)

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Beers & Books LV – Roger Boylan

"Sex, God, Alcohol and Ireland,
if that is not action enough!"
- Harry Rowohlt -

Roger Boylan *1951

Harry Rowohlt (27 March 1945 – 15 June 2015)

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Morning light

... paving its way ...

... through the fog.

Monday, March 01, 2021

Dafydd ap Gwilym (XVI)

 It's St. David's Day again.

May the Welsh enjoy celebrating their Saint.

Omnium is celebrating their Poet.


It's a pity for me that the girl whose praises I am always singing, and who holds her court in the wood, does not know of the conversation I had about her with the grey friar today.

I went to the friar to confess my sins. I admitted to him that I have been without any doubt an idolatrous poet since I have always loved and adored a certain lovely girl with dark eyebrows, "And", I told him, "I have never had a single favour from my murdress, nor has my lady ever allowed me a moment of happiness: in spite of this I love her continually and am wasted with pining for my darling. I carry her praise through the whole land of Wales, and in spite of this I live without her, though I long to hear her in my bed between me and the wall."

The brother spoke this to me: "I will give you good advice: if you have loved this foamwhite girl (merely the colour of paper) for so long, it is time now to think of lessening your punishment on that dreadful day which comes to all of us, for all this is of no benefit to your soul. Cease from making rhymes and accustom yourself instead to saying your prayers, for God did not redeem the souls of men that they might make rhymes and elegiacs, and your minstrels' songs are nothing but flattery and idle bawling. This praise of the body is not good, and leads the soul to the devil."

Then I answered each word that the friar had spoken.

"God is not so cruel as old men tell us: nor will God cut off the gentle soul of a man for loving a woman or a girl. Three things are loved by the whole world.: women, fine weather, and good health, and girls are the fairest flowers in heaven next to God himself. Every man of all peoples is born of woman save these three: Adam, Eve, Melchizedek, and so it is not surprising that man loves girls and women. Gladness falls from Heaven, all misery comes from Hell.
Song makes glad old and young, sick and healthy, and I have an equal right to make poems as you have to pray, I have the same right to sing for my bread as you beg for it. Are not hymns and sequences but other kinds of odes and elegiacs? And are not the psalms of David poems to the good God?

God does not feed man with one food and one relish, he gives him time to eat and a time to worship, a time to pray and a time to make poems. Song springs up at every feast to give pleasure to the ladies, paters are said in church to seek the land of Paradise. Yscuthach drinking with his poets spoke the truth:
'A happy face, his house is full
A sad face, evil and bitterness.'

Though some love holiness, others love being glad together, and there are few men who can make a sweet verse though everyone can say a prayer. And so, my holy brother, I do not think that singing is the greatest sin. When men are as ready to hear paters as the harp, as ready as the girls of Gwynedd are to hear gay songs, then my right hand I'll say paters all day and for ever without ceasing. Till then shame on Dafydd if he sings paters instead of poems!"

Dafydd ap Gwilym c. 1320 – c. 1370