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Seamus Heaney

Ierse dichtersweek

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In een Ierse dichtersweek zijn er twee zekerheden: W.B. Yeats en Seamus Heaney (1939 – 2013). Yeats was gister aan de beurt en vandaag Seamus Heaney. Deze dichter, toneelschrijver, vertaler en docent  ontving in 1995 de Nobelprijs voor de Literatuur. In 1966 debuteerde Heaney met  ‘Death of a Naturalist’ dat achtereenvolgens de Cholmondeley Award, de Gregory Award, de Somerset Maugham Award en de Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Uit zijn debuutbundel ‘Death of a naturalist’ uit 1966 het gedicht ‘Follower’.

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Follower

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My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horse strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Seamus Heaney in 1970
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Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)

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Op woensdag 28 mei overleed, op 86 jarige leeftijd, Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou werd ook wel “America’s most visible black female autobiographer” genoemd en al in de jaren tachtig las ik boeken van haar. In die tijd vooral verhalen en pas veel later gedichten want Maya Angelou was behalve schrijfster van autobiografieën (zeven!) ook schrijfster van essays, televisieshows, toneelstukken en films. Kortom een zeer inspirerende en belangrijke schrijfster. Ze ontving in haar lange loopbaan verschillende keren awards en meer dan 30! eredoctoraten.

Met haar eerste biografie ‘I know why the caged bird sings’ kreeg ze internationale bekendheid. Van haar hand verscheen ook een gedicht met deze titel.

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I know why the caged bird sings

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

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maya

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