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Thomas Hood

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In de film ‘The piano’ uit 1993 van Jane Campion (die maar liefst drie Oscars won), met in de hoofdrollen Harvey Keitel, Holly Hunter en Sam Neill, komt het gedicht ‘Silence’ van Thomas Hood (1799 – 1845) voorbij. Thomas Hood was een Engelse dichter, auteur en humorist, vooral bekend van gedichten zoals ‘The Bridge of Sighs’ en ‘The Song of the Shirt’. Hood schreef regelmatig voor The London Magazine, Athenaeum en Punch. Later publiceerde hij een tijdschrift dat grotendeels bestond uit zijn eigen werken. Hood stierf op 45-jarige leeftijd. William Michael Rossetti noemde hem in 1903 ‘de beste Engelse dichter’ tussen de generaties Shelley en Tennyson. 

Het gedicht ‘Silence’ uit The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

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Silence

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There is a silence where hath been no sound,

There is a silence where no sound may be,

In the cold grave—under the deep deep sea,

Or in wide desert where no life is found,

Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;

No voice is hush’d—no life treads silently,

But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free.

That never spoke, over the idle ground:

But in green ruins, in the desolate walls

Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,

Though the dun fox, or wild hyæna, calls,

And owls, that flit continually between,

Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan,—

There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.

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Before sunrise

Poëzie in films

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Het is alweer enige tijd geleden dat ik aandacht gaf aan poëzie in films op dit blog. Vanaf vandaag daarom de komende tijd weer een aantal voorbeelden. Vandaag betreft het de film ‘Before sunrise’ uit 1995 met Ethan Hawke en Julie Delpy. De film gaat over twee jonge mensen die elkaar ontmoeten in de trein en een nacht samen doorbrengen in Wenen waarvan ze beide weten dat dit de enige nacht zal zijn die ze met elkaar doorbrengen.

In het videofragment citeert Hawke een zin uit het gedicht ‘As I walked out one evening’ van W.H. Auden (1907 – 1973). Daarna doet hij Dylan Thomas na die dit gedicht van Auden voordraagt.

Hier het fragment en de hele tekst van het gedicht.

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As I Walked Out One Evening

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As I walked out one evening,
  Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
  Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
  I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
  "Love has no ending.

"I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
  Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
  And the salmon sing in the street,

"I'll love till the ocean
  Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
  Like geese about the sky.

"The years shall run like rabbits,
  For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
  And the first love of the world."

But all the clocks in the city
  Began to whirr and chime:
"O let not Time deceive you,
  You cannot conquer Time.

"In the burrows of the Nightmare
  Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
  And coughs when you would kiss.

"In headaches and in worry
  Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
  Tomorrow or today.

"Into many a green valley
  Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
  And the diver's brilliant bow.

"O plunge your hands in water,
  Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
  And wonder what you've missed.

"The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
  The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the teacup opens
  A lane to the land of the dead.

"Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
  And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
  And Jill goes down on her back.

"O look, look in the mirror,
  O look in your distress;
Life remains a blessing
  Although you cannot bless.

"O stand, stand at the window
  As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbor
  With all your crooked heart."

It was late, late in the evening,
  The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
  And the deep river ran on.

The Waste Land

T.S. Eliot

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Vorige week bezocht ik het filmhuis voor de film ‘Problemski Hotel’ naar het boek van Dimitri Verhulst. Een bijzondere film, dramatisch en komisch tegelijk. In deze film citeert de hoofdpersoon Bipul enige keren een aantal zinnen uit het gedicht ‘The Waste land’ van T.S. Eliot (1888 – 1965) en dan met name de regels uit de eerste strofe  ‘April is the cruelest month’. De eerste 7 regels van de eerste strofe bevatten deze regels. In deze regels noemt T.S. Eliot April een wrede maand terwijl wij hier in het Westen April zien als de maand dat de Lente begint.

In dit gedicht spreekt een getormenteerd mens. Een dichter die aan depressies lijdt. In plaats van het mooie nieuwe te zien voelt de dichter hier een pijnlijke opluchting en brengt dit pijnlijke herinneringen bij hem boven. In de rest van het gedicht werkt hij dit (zijn depressie) verder uit. In de film verwijzen deze regels naar de problemen en uitzichtloosheid van de vluchtelingen in de opvang (het Problemski Hotel).

T.S. Eliot droeg dit gedicht op de dichter Ezra Pound. Het gedicht bestaat uit 5 delen. Als je het gehele gedicht wil lezen kan dat op http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176735 Ik plaats hier het eerste gedeelte.

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The waste Land

              I. The Burial of the Dead

 

 April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

 

  What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
                      Frisch weht der Wind
                      Der Heimat zu
                      Mein Irisch Kind,
                      Wo weilest du?
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Oed’ und leer das Meer.

 

  Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,
Had a bad cold, nevertheless
Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,
With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,
Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,
(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find
The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.
I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.
Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,
Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:
One must be so careful these days.

 

  Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,
To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying: “Stetson!
“You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
“That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
“Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
“Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
“Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,
“Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!
“You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”
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PH.

September 1958: Portrait of American-born poet TS Eliot (1888 - 1965) sitting with a book and reading eyeglasses, around the time of his seventieth birthday. (Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images)

September 1958: Portrait of American-born poet TS Eliot (1888 – 1965) sitting with a book and reading eyeglasses, around the time of his seventieth birthday. (Photo by Express/Express/Getty Images)

Skyfall

Lord Alfred Tennyson

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Soms komen werelden bijeen waarvan je misschien niet zo snel verwacht dat ze bij elkaar komen. Dat gevoel kreeg ik toen ik afgelopen week naar de James Bond film Skyfall zat te kijken. M. het grote opperhoofd van de 00 agenten, citeert tijdens een ‘hearing’ door de,  voor haar verantwoordelijke,  minister een strofe uit het gedicht ‘Ulysses’ van Lord Alfred Tennyson.

Het is overigens niet de eerste keer dat dit gedicht redelijk prominent in een film voorkomt. Al eerder was het te horen in Dead poets society, maar dat is een film (qua titel en inhoud) waar je een dergelijk gedicht eerder verwacht dan in een actiefilm.

Het gebruik van deze strofe sluit echter heel mooi aan bij waar het in deze scene van de film omgaat. Hoewel Ulysses en zijn zeemannen niet meer zo sterk zijn als in hun jeugd, zijn ze “sterk in wil” en worden ondersteund door hun vastberadenheid om verder “meedogenloos te streven, te zoeken, te vinden, en niet toe te geven”.

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Ulysses

 

It little profits that an idle king,

By this still hearth, among these barren crags,

Matched with an aged wife, I mete and dole

Unequal laws unto a savage race,

That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel;

I will drink Life to the lees.

All times I have enjoyed

Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those

That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when

Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades

Vext the dim sea. I am become a name;

For always roaming with a hungry heart

Much have I seen and known–cities of men

And manners, climates, councils, governments,

Myself not least, but honored of them all,–

And drunk delight of battle with my peers,

Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.

I am a part of all that I have met;

Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough

Gleams that untraveled world whose margin fades

For ever and for ever when I move.

How dull it is to pause, to make an end,

To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!

As though to breathe were life! Life piled on life

Were all too little, and of one to me

Little remains; but every hour is saved

From that eternal silence, something more,

A bringer of new things; and vile it were

For some three suns to store and hoard myself,

And this gray spirit yearning in desire

To follow knowledge like a sinking star,

Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,

To whom I leave the scepter and the isle,

Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfill

This labor, by slow prudence to make mild

A rugged people, and through soft degrees

Subdue them to the useful and the good.

Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere

Of common duties, decent not to fail

In offices of tenderness, and pay

Meet adoration to my household gods,

When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail;

There gloom the dark, broad seas.

My mariners, Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me,

That ever with a frolic welcome took

The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed

Free hearts, free foreheads–you and I are old;

Old age hath yet his honor and his toil.

Death closes all; but something ere the end,

Some work of noble note, may yet be done,

Not unbecoming men that strove with gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks;

The long day wanes; the slow moon climbs; the deep

Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite

The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds

To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths

Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down;

It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Though much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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tennyson

Met dank aan http://www.poets.org, sparknotes.com en Youtube.
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