Jy blaai in die argief vir 2010 Januarie.

berg op beduiweld

Januarie 19, 2010 in Sonder kategorie


madonna dink dat ons op ‘n ander dag sal doodgaan
dis nie vreeslik bemoedigend driekwart teen ‘n redelike stewige
treadmill berg op nie, maar sy beter reg wees dink ek in my enigheid
terwyl haar woorde in my  en tussen my ore weergalm
en die ritme my daai berg met mening laat klim


dalk, net dalk, help dit wanneer ek ook besef
i need to lay down
fisiese uitputting help glo


en daar is in elkgeval heeltemal te veel goed op die to do list
om nou om te kap…maar berg-op kan mens ten minste jou gedagtes laat loop

hoekom moet ontwikkelaars altyd die aakligste mat-opsies bied as vloerbedekking
wonder ek suur teen die steiltes op
en hoe de duiwel lééf jy met dit in jou huis vir die afsienbare toekoms
ten minste is die teëls mooi(er) troos ek myself
maar wat het geword van die idee dat vensters simmetries
in die middel van mure ingebou word
hoe gaan ek nou ooit al die boekrakke wat ek in daardie kamer
WIL HÊ daar in kry


ek haat onaangename verassings


soos om, na jy AL jou voorbereiding vir ‘n tweede taal klas
reeds vóór die vakansie afgehandel is
‘n week na die skool begin het uitvind
nee, dit gaan nou ‘n eerste taal klas wees


en van wanneer af is daar ‘n spoedkamera in ‘n industriële gebied
dis net trokke en lorries wat die meeste tyd daar aankruie
en dis in elkgeval nie ‘n plek waarheen jy jou oudste dogter in spitsverkeer 
behoort te stuur om ‘n
fan op te laai nie…of was dit nou die dag oppad clifton toe
dalk moet ek myself gelukkig ag dat daardie dekselse ding my nou eers gevang het
ek glip gewoonlik so vinnig moontlik deur paardeneiland
*sug*


drie-letter kragwoorde is onvoldoende status updates
dit sê niks en laat mens net
worry
hoe de hel reageer mens in elkgeval daarop
en nikseggende smse grief my net so
veral as dit my net meer bekommerd laat


en aangesien ek nou on a roll is…
dat party mense die
audacity het om te kla
hulle het te veel werk en kan eenvoudig nie werk betyds klaar hê nie
maar in die volgende asem vertel dat hulle nou die dag
saam met sus-en-so gaan fliek het, gisteraand gaan uiteet het
en vanmiddag
retail therapy nodig het laat my verstom
kners op jou tande en knyp jouself dat daar ‘n blou kol sit help niks
staan maar eerder op en loop


ten minste is daar red roses for a blue lady in die huis


ek dink ek moet die waterkatedraal se kerse gaan aansteek…


Insomnia

Januarie 18, 2010 in Sonder kategorie

Ek herken die patroon

Dis nie soseer die onvermoë om te slaap nie

Eerder die totale gebrek aan die wil om te slaap

Ek is net nie lus nie

Al weet ek ek moet

Jacques Brel is alive and well…

Januarie 17, 2010 in Sonder kategorie


…and living in Paris Long Street


En al wat gisteraand die NewSpace teater méér Montmartre-rig kon maak sou die reuk van Gauloise wees wat deur die lug sweef. Die res was alles daar – swaar fluweel drapeersels, Parisiaanse straatlampe, ‘n accordéon en ‘n glas plaaslike rooiwyn wat geensins hoef terug te staan vir die neefs in Bordeaux nie terwyl Jacques Brel se woorde en wysies ‘n lewe van hul eie kry op die verhoog.

Chrissy Caine


Want dít moet ‘n mens Du Preez Strauss, musical director, ter ere gee…Enige man wat Brel kan laat klink soos Prince se Purple Rain mag maar met verwerkings speel soveel as wat hy lus het. Ek sou nie vir ‘n oomblik waag om voor te stel dat Brel skielik opgewek geraak het nie, maar met behulp van ‘n fantastiese verskeidenheid ballades , tangos, boleros, rock en pop was hy beslis minder melankolies as gewoonlik. En dit sê nogal baie van ‘n man se musiek wat eintlik net melankolies is. En van die kwartet wat onder leiding van Strauss die musikale ruggraat van die performance op die verhoog was.


Die kwartet. Du Preez Strauss links.

Want dit was nié ‘n musiek konsert of ‘n show nie, hierdie was ‘n performance wat met behulp van uitstekende choreography en fyn toneelspel ‘n heel nuwe dimensie toegevoeg het tot die musiek. En natuurlik is die performance net so goed soos die performers self.  Chrissy Caine, Graham Clarke, David Chevers en Daneel Uys is góéd, baie goed. Nie net is elkeen in sy eie reg ‘n sterk stem nie, maar saam komplimenteer hulle mekaar tot so ‘n mate dat dit weereens bewys dat die somtotaal van die geheel groter kan wees.

Ek moet erken, voor gisteraand was my kennis van Brel beperk tot dit wat ek geleer het by Piaf, Laurika Rauch, Jannie du Toit en Herman van Veen. Maar Brel strek baie verder as net dit het ek besef terwyl ek daar gesit het. Die tydloosheid van sy musiek, die universiële taal wat sy lirieke praat, ongeag watter taal jy dit na vertaal, maak dit verseker die moeite werd om meer aandag aan hierdie man se musiek te gee as wat ek tot op hede gedoen het.


Die Cast (vlnr): David Chevers, Graham Clarke, Daneel Uys & Chrissy Caine

Die Taubie Kushlick produksie van Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris van die 1970’s hou steeds die rekord as die langs aaneenlopende musikale produksie in die geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse teater, maar die NewSpace Theatre produksie se speelvlak kom op 13 Februarie tot ‘n einde.


As jy in die Kaap bly of ‘n goeie rede soek om Kaap toe te kom is hierdié waarskynlik een van die heel beste verskonings wat jy kan kry. Daar is tot die 13de Februarie van Maandag tot Saterdag daagliks ‘n vertoning om 8 nm en op Saterdae ‘n vroeër vertoning om 5 nm. (O ja, en op Maandae het hulle ‘n spesiale twee vir die prys van een aanbod.) En net so ‘n handige wenkie – in die NewSpace wil jy verder agtertoe sit in die teater as voor – die klank is uitsonderlik goed daar bo.

Hierdie blog het ook ‘n bedankings paragraaf. En nee, dis nié vir die adorable David Chevers (wat lyk soos Robbie Williams en sing soos Ewan McGreggor in Moulin Rouge) omdat hy so gracious was om na die vertoning tyd te maak vir ‘n geselsie, ‘n paar fotos en my in sy arms vasgehou het nie 😉


Die groot dankies gaan aan die wonderlike dames wat die aand moontlik gemaak het: Original Cin, thanks for the generous offer you made – it is greatly appreciated. To our Giggling Gourmet, Jenny Morris thank you for the courtesy tickets. En dan, natuurlik, is die beste deel van so ‘n wonderlike aand as jy gelukkig genoeg is om dit in goeie geselskap te mag beleef. Dankies Lo-Amms, jy is ‘n vriendin duisend!

 

En dan, ten einde laas, hierdie video vir diegene wat ook ‘n stukkie Brel wil beleef.  

Een van my heel, heel gunstelinge.

 

 

Gedagtes na aanleiding van ‘The Guardian’

Januarie 15, 2010 in Sonder kategorie

Mmm, dit blyk vanaand weer een van dáárdie aande te wees…

Blameer die plotselinge gedagte verskuiwing na die storm en drang van die week se mal gejaag, blameer die feit dat Edith en Emile beurtelings in die agtergrond die toestand van die lewe beween, blameer Die mooiste Afrikaanse liefdesgedigte…. of dalk die glas rooi wyn… 

Hoe dit ookal sy, dit blyk een van daardie seldsame aande van vermurwering te wees wat my geheel en al mushy maak.  As jy dus nie vanaand jou rooskleurige bril dra nie is daar ‘n baie goeie kans dat jy, in die woorde van LieweLettie, so bietjies-bietjies in jou mond gaan kots (ek glimlag altyd as ek aan daardie uitdrukking dink) voordat jy die einde van hierdie blog bereik.

Jy is gewaarsku. Wat jy nou gaan lees, lees jy op eie risiko….


Hierdie foto, getiteld The Guardian wat ek vandag onverwags in my Inbox gevind het sonder die vaagste benul van die oorsprong daarvan, het my weer Marietjie Joubert se Anatomie-les vir verliefde digters laat lees…

Die lieflikheid
van die geliede se lyf
is sedert Salomo
miljard maal beskryf:

Die oë skadu’s spieëls en blinders
die nael ‘n poel ‘n kom ‘n kelk
die hande gewers nemers vlinders
die vel fluweel heuwels melk
vergeet nie van die slape
skouers wimpers tepels

veral die mond geskape
soos klokke vir die lui van klepels.

Ja, ons kan tog o so sinies raak oor die geykte beskrywings van die liefde en die lyflike, hetsy visueel of in woorde. Maar hoeveel maniere kan daar dan nou wees, en hoeveel unieke maniere bly daar na soveel jare van verliefde digters se beryming van beminde bates dan nou oor, om te gebruik wanneer mens die dag uiteindelik so ver kom om ook jou geliefde in woorde te wil verewig?

Verewig… Ja, verewig, soos Shakespeare met sy Sonnet 18 – Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day – so profeties verklaar het in die eindkoeplet So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,/ So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Of Beethoven en sy Immortal Beloved…
Ever thine.
Ever mine.
Ever ours…

Ons het wel nie die vaagste idee wie een van die twee dames was nie, ten spyte van al die spekulasie, maar die feit dat hulle steeds die verbeelding aangryp is onbetwisbaar.

En ten spyte van die feit dat alles wat gesê kán word oor die liefde reeds gesê, en dikwels beter gesê is as waartoe die meeste van ons instaat is…die dag wanneer daardie groot verliefdheid soos Byron se masels jou beetpak kry die meeste van ons die drang om daardie oomblikke van nuutgevonde emosie te probeer vasvang in woorde.

Voel ons ook dikwels soos Antjie Krog wanneer sy sê Ek wil…

Ek wil jou so graag gelukkig maak
ek wil wil vir jou verse skryf
sober en soepel soos jyself


ek wil jou so graag iets gee wat jy kan saamdra
wat by jou sal bly soos ‘n klein akkedissie
eendag as jy oud en allenig in die son sit

Daar is immers, nes in hierdie foto, ‘n mate van geborgenheid wat ons elkeen vind in die ervaring en belewenis van die liefde. En in daardie geborgenheid vind ons ook die vertroue om die boodskap dat ons geliefd en bemind is van die dakke af aan die wêreld te verklaar.

(Ek wonder skielik of dit net vrouens is wat geneig is om aan hul geliefdes te dink as ‘Die Een’ en of dit ook vir mans geld. En dink ‘n mens altyd so oor die geliefdes wat jou pad kruis? Of is ‘n mens soms daartoe instaat om hulle te herken vir dit wat hulle so dikwels is: ‘n interlude in die groter simfoniese ervaring van jou lewe?)

En tog, ten spyte van die sinisme waarmee ons so dikwels die idee van die ‘groot liefdes’ in ‘n mens se lewe bejeen, bly daar iets te sê vir die geborgenheid wat ‘n mens ervaar binne die vesting van ‘n wederkerige liefde.

Dalk is dit omdat die meeste van ons wel beskik oor daardie klein ingeboude programmetjie wat ons laat hunker na die vryheid om ten minste één persoon in ons lewens te hê voor wie ons gestroop kan staan van alle pretensie, alle verweer en alle voorbehoude. Iemand wat jou onvoorwaardelik sal toelaat om 100% net jouself te wees en jou, ten spyte daarvan, as gevolg daarvan of selfs in weerwil daarvan, steeds sal liefhê wanneer jy gestroop en weerloos voor hom of haar staan. Iemand wat,  met klei voete en al, steeds gewillig – selfs gretig – sal wees om jou op daardie eksklusiewe troontjie te plaas van die een wat bo almal bemin word.

Die hoop, versugting dat daar iewers iemand is wat jou ook so lief kan hê.

Iemand wat soos N.P. van Wyk Louw vir jou sal sê: 

Dis altyd jy, net altyd jy;
die een gedagte bly my by

soos skadu’s onder bome bly:
net altyd jy, net altyd jy.

Langs baie weë gaan my smart;
blind is my oë, en verward
is alle dinge in my hart.

Maar dít sal een en enkeld bly,
en aards en diep sy laafnis kry
al staan dit winter-kaal in my:
dié liefde in my, dié liefde in my.

 

Skimme wals

Januarie 14, 2010 in Sonder kategorie

dans op die rand van bewussyn
voel-voel aan die keer-kring
van die spotters se hoon lag

uitlokkend tartend

om die verborge geheime
uit die skatkis van ontkenning

een
vir
een
te grawe

en vol in die oë te staar

‘n intieme ontmoeting
met jou eens bewaarde self

in aanskou van die massas bewerkstellig

ontkenning onmoontlik
ontwyking ongewensd

bloederige reste van jou menswees
woord vir woord
los getorring
en ten toon gestel

geweeg, beredeneer, analiseer
beoordeel en veroordeel

terwyl jy in wanhoop 

na die prentjie van jouself
bly staar

en wonder of jy ooit die eie ek
werklik
ken 


You took the words right out of my mouth

Januarie 13, 2010 in Sonder kategorie

On a hot summer night would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?

 

Will he offer me his mouth?

Yes 

Will he offer me his teeth?

Yes

Will he offer me his jaws?

Yes

Will he offer me his hunger?

Yes

Again, will he offer me his hunger?

Yes!

And will he starve without me?

Yes!

And does he love me?

Yes

Yes

Die hitte van die dag lê steeds in sluimerende omhelsing aangedruk teen jou vel. ‘n Ongemaklike liefkosing waarvoor daar geen verweerbare respons bestaan nie. Gekluister tussen vier mure is daar geen wegkomkans van die verantwoordelikhede en verpligtinge wat steeds voorlê vir hierdie nag nie.

Tensy jy jou gedagtes toelaat om tydelik te ontsnap nie…

Die koel bries wat verligting bring na die drukkendheid van die dag lig jou gedagtes uit die banaliteit van die dag se sleurgang. Ontvoer jou na ‘n onbekende plek waarmee jy vreemd vertroud voel. Amper asof jy hierdie plek al reeds vantevore besoek het, selfs al is die tipografie van die sand duine en die ruising van branders wat breek in die skadu van ‘n donker maan vreemd onbekend. En tog, vreemd gerusstellend.

Weg, ver weg, na ‘n plek wat slegs in drome bestaan…

Dis daar waar jou verbeelding en versugting jou tot rus laat kom. Jy voel veilig hier ten spyte van die feit dat jy glad nie in beheer van die situasie voel nie. Beheer is skielik nie meer dringend noodsaaklik nie, want jy voel geborge in die wete dat dit slegs jou drome en gedagtes, hoop en huiwering is wat jou hier geselskap sal hou.

Dis jou eie wense wat die roete sal bepaal.

Hetsy jy versigtig – voetjie vir voetjie – teen die duine sal afbeweeg of, in ‘n oomblik van onbevange vreugde – ‘n viering van die lewe in al sy wispulturigheid – op die duin sal neersak… jou liggaam ontvanklik sal maak tot die meegee van die sand waarop jy rus en die natuur se momentum sal toelaat om jou van die kruin af vinniger en vinniger teen die helling te laat afrol… tot daar waar die blink fosfor van die skuim jou tegemoed klots…

Lafenis vir die moeë siel, vertroosting vir die wederstrewige gedagtes van ‘n onrustige gemoed, ‘n bevestiging van die inherente eenvoud van die lewe…as jy dit maar net so wou hê.

Maar eenvoud is dikwels té maklik dink jy terwyl die klotsende koelte oor jou uitgesperde liggaam kristal helder introspeksie aanmoedig. Die koue werklikheid van sulke oomblike moet, nes die hitte van die dag omhels en aanvaar word vir wat dit is en nie net, soos daar maar dikwels in die holderstebolder gejaag van die dag gedoen word, weereens op die een of ander gerieflike rak geplaas word met die verskoning dat jy later daaraan sal aandag skenk nie.

Later is ‘n luukse wat die meeste van ons aan die einde van die dag berou omdat dringend noodsaaklike lewenslesse so verontagsaam word.

Maklik is lank reeds gelyk gestel aan onmoontlik, nie waar nie? Nothing worth having in life has ever come easily dink jy wrang aan die aanhaling uit een van die boeke wat jou jeug jare help vorm het. ‘n Filosofie waaraan jy steeds hardnekkig bly klou.

Want eintlik wil jy nie hê dat die lewe maklik moet wees nie. Waarin lê die uitdaging dan?

Waarin is die sin van jou dag tot dag bestaan dan gestel indien dit nie in die fyn web van saamgeflansde lewensdrade is wat jy een vir een moet volg tot sy onvermydelike cul de sac sodat jy weereens die roete vir ‘n tweede keer – net ter wille van vaslegging van die lesse daar geleer – moet volg om weer jou beginpunt te bereik en ‘n nuwe roete gevul met eindelose moontlikhede te volg nie.

Die sandkorrels van die weggeraapde gety klou steeds klam aan die soom van jou romp, die terug gevoude mou en die hals van jou bloes. Ingedagte volg jy die patroon wat deur water en sand op jou liggaam geëts is deur die gety. Volg die roete sonder voorwaarde of voorbehoud. Die skrille kontras van jou dag en nag praatjies ontgaan jou nie vir een ooblik nie. Die doelbewuste greep wat jy op die dag probeer behou laat immers nie sy krampagtige greep so maklik verslap net omdat die donker se uitnodiging daarom vou nie.

Die skadu van ‘n Ingrid dink jy vlietend, maar terselfde tyd ten volle bewus van die feit dat jy nog nie gereed is om moed op te gee nie.

Selfs al is die nag geheul in vreemde skaduwees…selfs al is die maan op hierdie oomblik skaars sigbaar…selfs al weet jy dat hierdie oomblik van vryheid ‘n illusie is wat voor die opkomende son en die hitte van die dag weer sal verdamp in die konstante siklus van werk en bedrywigheid en bekommernisse en die klein beuselagtighede wat soms die somtotaal van ‘n dag skep nie.

Want, selfs dan, ten spyte van die doelbewuste wete dat die illusie tydelik van aard is, ‘n kortstondige ontvlugting uit die realiteit van die werklikheid waarin jy jouself aanstons sal begewe, bly die ewige optimistiese stemmetjie binne jou Scarlett – Tomorrow is another day

En dan, in daardie oomblik van vergetelheid, is die antwoord duidelik:

On a hot summer night would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses?

Yes…


Fully functional, but partially reluctant…

Januarie 12, 2010 in Sonder kategorie

 

Dit was vandag die status update van een van my FB vriende. Wat ook eendag, lank, lank gelede iemand van vlees en bloed was in my lewe. Nou ken ons mekaar deur status, fotos en uit die bloute eposse.

Maar ek het heelhartig begrip vir hierdie sentiment.  Vanaand voel ek presies nes Seb dit vertel – instaat daartoe, maar nie eintlik lus nie.

Veral nie vir môre nie.

En ek het my juis reeds vandag vasgeloop in ‘n klomp verwarde graad aggies wat nie herwaarts of derwaarts wis nie. Arme goed. Ek is nie seker of ek verlig is dat dit nie ek is nie, of depressed raak omdat van daardie gesiggies my die heel jaar lank, en nog ‘n hele paar daarna, in die gesig gaan staar nie.  Wat maak ‘n mens tog met so ‘n kollektiewe sin van die verwarde wat om jou wemel?

63% gemiddeld. Toe uiteindelik vandag gekry. Glad nie sleg vir die ‘weggooi kinders’ nie. Ek knyp my oë styf toe as ek dink aan ‘n paar van die wannabedisastertjies wat van môre af in my klas gaan sit en by hook or by crook deur matriek gedwing, gedreig, forseer en bang gepraat sal moet word.

Ek hoop van harte dat die decibel vlakke in Kamer DK nie weer die jaar sy uiteindelike hoogtes sal bereik wat die moontlik maak vir die Ekonomie juffrou (een vloer op, heel aan die ander kant van die gang) om te hoor hoe absoluut onverantwoordelik die Matrieks van 2010 met hulle toekoms dobbel nie. Ek hoor mos vandag daar word reeds ‘n boek daarvoor oopgemaak aan die hand van die personeelkamer se grootste kansvatter.

I’m the Vampire Lestat, the most potent and lovable vampire ever created, a supernatural knockout…I’m endlessly resourceful, and undeniably charming…
And before I continue with my fantasy let me assure you:
I know damned well how to be a full-fledged, post-Renaissance, post-nineteenth century, post-modern, post-popular writer. I don’t deconstruct nothin’…
I’m going to take care of you. So rest easy and read on…

You’ve got to love him. Selfs al is daar so ‘n fyn lyn tussen arrogansie en selfvertroue wat Anne Rice se Lestat die meeste van die tyd doelbewus oor kruis.

*Sug*

Ek wens ek het daardie tipe selfvertroue voor ‘n klas gehad. Die cribb-notes vir The Kite Runner en 1984 en Lord of the Flies (alweer!) lê die wêreld volgestrooi. Ek voel alweer daardie begin van die jaar, jy is die grootste fraud op aarde DK wat weet jy nou eintlik sindroom wat my pak. Ek hoop van harte dit verdamp voor ek my eerste take vir die universiteit moet skryf. Dis een ding om so te voel, maar die kinders – en veral die proffies! – moet dit tog asseblief nie ook kan uitfigure nie!

Is dit te vroeg in die jaar om weghardloop te oorweeg? Dit voel al reeds asof ek ‘n hele hooimied op my vurk het…werk, swot, huis, partytjie… en die konstante ge-worry oor die mense naaste aan my wie se rollercoaster ups and downs my eie dae na ‘n walk in the park laat lyk.

Dalk is Hamlet vanaad ‘n veiliger opsie… met Shakespeare mag ek immers maak nes ek wil. Dalk so:

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”. – (Act III, Scene II).
“That it should come to this!”. – (Act I, Scene II).
“When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions”. – (Act IV, Scene V).
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.”. – (Act II, Scene II).
“This above all: to thine own self be true”. – (Act I, Scene III). 

BUT

“Brevity is the soul of wit”. – (Act II, Scene II). 

Dalk is dit nou ‘n goeie tyd om op te hou….

Triptyque: Paid in Pearls – Panel III

Januarie 10, 2010 in Sonder kategorie

(foto: DK*)

It was the perfect day for a wedding she thought sardonically surveying the perfect Mediterranean day that enfolded the island. The air was redolent with a mixture of briny ocean and lush flora picked up by the ocean breeze wafting through the open window. Quite a contrast with her previous wedding day, she thought and smiled wryly while she looked towards the small Coptic church where she would be exchanging vows in a few hours’ time. The fact that the guest list from her previous wedding would overflow the island was an ironic after though as she turned away.

And it was exactly how she preferred it.

Not so much for the intimacy and romance of an island wedding; as a matter of fact intimacy and romance were the last things she had on her mind when she accepted the proposal, but for the privacy and security of the island, and the man she would be marrying later in the day, represented.

She was well aware of the fact that there were many prepared to crucify her and her reputation at this moment. A rather ironic twist on the adoration she was so used to before now, but they did not realise, could not even begin to comprehend, the nightmare life has become. The constant worrying has finally been alleviated and she had no intention of giving that up for the sake of others’ sensibilities.

If all she achieves is the peace of mind knowing that her children will be safe from now on, she would gladly leave a trail of blood for the hounds to lap up. But never again does she want to live through the anguish only a mother can experience when one realises that your children may be in danger of losing their lives.

 

***

Her family was being killed around her. The thought that has been refraining through her mind since she received the news of the shooting kept repeating itself like a broken record. Over and over it played. It has become the litany of every hour of her day but became more pronounced when she sat like this, with her children by her side, all three of them still dressed in the mournful black they had donned for the funeral they are leaving.

She didn’t have time to consider conspiracy theories, despite the fact that they were running rampant at the moment. And yet, she could not ignore the fact that, if there was even a modicum of truth vested in them, it may only be a matter of time before her own children became targets.

She could not bear to lose them as well. She has lost so much already, so many of those she had loved. They had always been the main focus of her life and these days, having been relieved of all other responsibilities, they have become even more so. There was nothing more important in her life than her children. The thought that she might lose them was unbearable.

She had to do something to protect them. She had to keep them safe, regardless of the price she might have to pay in order to do so. Hadn’t those designated to keep them safe just, once again, proven that they weren’t capable of doing so?

She was well aware of the fact that her limited resources would definitely not suffice. She’d simply have to find another way. There was no other choice…

 

***
 

She looked at herself in the mirror. The dress was modest and conservative. Rather ridiculous when one considered that it was, after all, her second marriage. It had nothing of the opulence or playful, light-hearted air the first one had exuded. Then again, she wasn’t the young optimistic bride she had been the first time around. Maybe, she thought, her wedding dresses were more a reflection of the men she married than the woman she was. But she was quite confident that her staid, much older husband would approve of her choice once he sees her walking down the aisle.


She had made the right decision she reassured herself, once again, as she walked over to her dressing table. Despite the fact that it was in total contrast with what people had speculated would be a suitable possible second marriage this is what she had wanted.

Despite all the misgivings she knew that this marriage would provide what she needed, sought after in this world. With this marriage she has done all in her power to secure her children’s safety. Her prime objective has been achieved.

Besides, it wasn’t as if she was sacrificing herself completely. She would certainly benefit herself from the marriage she was about to make, even if it was only in terms of material wealth and the sporadic companionship it would provide. In any case, at her age and with her experience, she was far too jaded to believe in love and romance and happily ever after. Even with the shadow of the return of an apparently discarded mistress that loomed upon the horizon. Not that that was anything new either, she thought wryly. She’s experienced and lived with that problem before. And she would do it again.

She should add the final touches now. It was almost time…

For a moment her fingers brushed lightly over the graduating size of the triple strand of pearls that had become her signature accessory in the past few years and, as ever, lay reassuringly close at hand. But she didn’t consider wearing them even for a moment. They represented a life that would be coming to its final end today. And besides she had worn pearls for her first wedding, and almost every day thereafter, and they didn’t bring her much luck back then.

Didn’t Ari once tell her that, according to Greek legend, pearls were the tears of Aphrodite?

Well, she had cried enough tears for a lifetime. Tears for the death of each of her three babies that never had a chance at life, tears for her father, for John, for Bobby… She could have strung these silken cords with her tears and created the chocker by herself.

The time of crisp, cool, ladylike elegance was a thing of the past. She was standing on the threshold of a new life, one in which the past and its pearls had no place. A new life required a new jewel she thought as she closed the jewellery box, hiding the pearls from sight, and placed it in a drawer. Out of sight, out of mind…

 

***


The weight of the 40.42 carat Lesotho III diamond was a heavy weight on the delicate fingers she placed in the upturned hand of her husband to be. Needing the support of his much stronger hand to prevent it from slipping, she fleetingly considered the irony of this awareness.

As if from a distance she heard the priest voicing the age old words which she repeated instinctively:


“I, Jacqueline, take you, Ari…”

(*Net so terloops: dit was amper moeiliker om die foto te neem as wat dit was om die drie panele te skets 🙂

Triptyque: Paid in Pearls – Panel II

Januarie 9, 2010 in Sonder kategorie


The room was cold and dank. It was one of many in the castle that has seemingly been forgotten. Too small to serve any real purpose – no one seems to remember why it had been built in the first place – she had found it quite by accident and, on closer investigation, she discovered it to be an antechamber to a secret passageway out of the castle. It was not ideally suited to the purpose she had put it to use to. The rising dampness has made most of the ground floor apartments quite unsuitable for anything but servant accommodation. But she was adamant to have access to the secret doorway and was prepared to stand against all qualms and protestations made while she singlehandedly, and quite unbefitting to her status, carried carpets and tapestries to the small enclosure she now sat in. She had turned it into a small private reading room not only as a means to escape from the strenuous hustle and bustle of  court life, but also to prevent others from discovering the tunnel and using it.  It was quite handy to have your own portal to the outside world.

Especially on a night like tonight… Especially in desperate times…

Nervously her fingers fluttered over the pages of unread book which lay open on her lap. It was impossible to concentrate on anything as mundane as reading when one was holding on to the last straws of fragile hope. This was her last chance, the final hope. Once again she stared at the candlewick gradually melting the wax away at a leisurely hourly pace before looking over her shoulder at the secreted doorway that remained defiantly closed. How much longer did she have to wait she wondered in frazzled exasperation.

Time was running out. And not only of the night that has already reached its early morning hours. She could not afford to be found missing from her chambers. She was well aware of the precarious rife of speculation that shrouded her. And there were spies all around her. Yes, she knew, she admitted wryly, because she had quite a few of her own between the castle’s walls.

The mere mention of her absence from bed at this hour would certainly spew a host of conjectures, not to mention malicious rumours and spiteful insinuation that would be futile to protest. In these parts the truth was mostly ignored… People preferred their self-made truths to actual facts… Factuality was, after all, such a bore.

Finally!

The triple knock she has been waiting for. The prearranged signal was tapped out lightly, barely perceptible even to one whose ears were strained in anticipation. A final check that the doorway to the corridor was securely latched before the tapestry is pushed aside and the secret doorway opened as quietly as possible. She realised that she was holding her breath, but knew that it would be impossible to exhale before she has heard the news.

It was not going to be good.

Whatever the verdict she was not going to like it. This was unusual for her since most everybody in her life had always done their utmost to give her exactly what she wanted. This time it would appear to be different. Apparently there was no way for her to salvage her future.

In a moment of complete despair she felt her knees buckle, but her ingrained sense of self-preservation refused to allow her to sink back into the chair.

“What is the news?” she asked and marvelled at the determination and steely resolve that echoed in her words.

She had not asked where the only person she still trusted in this world filled with treachery and deceit had gone to find an answer to the question that has overshadowed her whole life. The assurance that this was the only way was motivation enough to follow desperately whatever advice would be given…

“It appears that there is still some hope left. One last chance to ensure posterity and security for us all.”


***

She was surprised by the tears streaming from her eyes. Somehow she had not expected that this would be so difficult. After all, she was prepared to do virtually anything to achieve what was expected of her.  Even this.

Fiercely relieved that the task at hand required of her to turn her back on the single witness to this desecration she allowed the tears to fall unchecked. The haze made it virtually impossible to focus on the actions of her fingers methodically clipping through the silk cord, but perhaps that was the singular reprieve she would receive this night… The inability to see the destruction caused by her own hand, a task she refused to delegate even though the process would have been completed much quicker if she had. Let this, then, be her penance for the sins she has committed.

One by one they dropped into the mortar, their creamy translucence highlighted by the unforgiving black basalt. A chalice commendable of sacrifice to the gods, she thought wryly as the last orb dropped upon the luminous mound. A worthy offering, then, for Heaven’s servant on earth.

A single finger traced the golden shape of what was left of this, her most prized possession. Three pearl drops cascading from the golden B that used to adorn one of the world’s most envied treasures. This she would keep she resolved and slipped the golden trinket into her pomander before slowly grinding the pestle to powder down the rest of the pearls.

“Anne, you know what the prediction was. The gypsy explicitly said that it should be all the pearls.”

“No, mother,” she ground the answer between clenched teeth as she continued to ground down the pearls, “this is all I have left to remind me that there was a time when I was loved for who I am and not a mere breeding vessel for an heir. Do not expect of me to sacrifice this as well.”

Carefully the mortar’s tipped and the pearlescent dust meticulously scraped into the goblet of honey infused red wine.  “To the King’s health,” she made the mock toast before draining the goblet, “and to that of the King to be conceived.” she added as she cradled a protective hand across her womb.

The gypsy only referred to the string of pearls, she tried to reassure herself as she crept back to her room. Surely it was a high enough price to pay, even for the mother of a king.

 

***

“It is a healthy girl, Your Majesty.”

A girl!

As she cradled the baby against her body, she glanced wryly at the mangled trinket in her palm. The salvaged golden B, held as a talisman for good luck and easy birth during labour, became unidentifiably squashed in the process. All that was still discernable of its former glory were the three tear shaped pearls that dangled precariously from its ruins…

 

Triptyque: Paid in Pearls – Panel I

Januarie 9, 2010 in Sonder kategorie

 

 

 

 

The wind had turned unexpectedly. As she surreptitiously weaved her way between the hap hazardously arranged Bedouin tents erected only a short distance from town the infernal gritty wind, made hazy by the accumulation of yellow dessert dust, turned. Depositing the golden dust into the delta, this would eventually assist in creating the slit deposits that would spread along the riverbed before the next irrigation season, the wind picked up the salty residue of the Mediterranean to cool the late afternoon. Quietly she hoped this to be a blessing from the gods on her furtive quest.

 

Moving swiftly, but stealthily between the tents, she kept her eyes peeled for the one with its distinguishing antelope markings on the coarse hide her personal slave had described to her the previous night during her toilet. Both were fully aware of the consequences she would have to face if she were caught by Roman soldiers outside of the city gate.

 

She did not fear the soldiers per se, her rank and stature would prevent them from treating her in the same manner they would a mere slave girl running about unprotected by guards, but they would most certainly escort her back to the Roman Army’s headquarters… The result of which she shuddered contemplating.

 

It was only sheer desperation that had her venturing out by herself. It wasn’t the safest time for a woman to roam unescorted through the dessert. But none of the traditional avenues had been able to provide her with the solution she sought for. She had spent copious hours in prayer and offering the choicest delicacies to the gods. She’s even gone so far as embracing the order of the newly introduced Roman goddess Venus when her attempts to placate and cajole the ugly little dwarf Bastet and the Greek goddess Aphrodite (first introduced to her in her youth by the scholars travelling to the city’s renowned library) proved fruitless.

 

Now it has become a matter of life and death. If she could not carry out the subterfuge to its full extent her initial sacrifice would have been in vain and all would be lost. The missive was undeniably clear. She would have to leave for Tarsus post haste.

 

Finally!

 

On the outskirts of the temporarily pitched village she could clearly see the strange black and white striped markings of the hide described by the slave-girl.  Hurrying now, but still conscious of possible detection even at this late a stage, she glances around the somnolent caravan before slipping behind the heavy entrance flap.

 

The air was heavily perfumed with some exotic and unfamiliar essence burning on top of smouldering coals in the far corner of the tent that was deceptively spacious considering its exterior appearance. Lavishly embroidered rugs prevented the grains of the White Desert’s sand to infiltrate the enclosure and soft cushions were scattered invitingly around a make-shift table.

 

She was expected.

 

The loyal slave girl had made all the necessary arrangements, just as she had promised. At the far end of the table a wizened sooth-sayer waited patiently upon her arrival. Close at hand was a steaming goblet of the fragrant brew, liberally sweetened from the honeycomb that lay next to it, favoured by the peoples from the Euphrates river valley. There was no steam swirling from the heated potion – a silent reprimand that she had been expected much sooner.

 

Without a word the woman waved her closer, indicating that she should take a seat at the table. Removing the fine white linen wraps that had successfully hidden her identity until this moment, she revealed the face that was recognised, and despised, in most of the Known World.

“Your majesty”, the old woman’s voice cracked like fragile papyrus sheets in recognition, “I’ve received a vision from the gods that will, at least, win you some time to secure your future.”

 

***

 

The ultimate sacrifice.

 

That was what was required of her to save her family, the life she had always known, the life of the ones that this farce began for.

 

After everything had transpired just as the Bedouin woman had foreseen she still did not believe that it would eventually come to this… Tilting her head she felt the weight resting in the junction between her neck and shoulder, reminding her that she had worn the jewels deliberately for tonight’s banquet… As a matter of fact, she had brought them all the way from Egypt specifically for this occasion, this moment…

 

“The great tears of the Goddess will be your final alley in the moment when you’ve crossed the great salty waters to face the false accusations of a man – potentially a great ally if you can follow through with this deceit and…” the Bedouin woman favoured her with a subtle brow-lift, a universally acknowledge feminine form of communication “shall we say potentially gifted paramour – in the middle of a hostile state. Disintegrated lunar globes will be the grande finale to conquering at least part of the triumvirate. Remember the words of your one true love: Vini, vidi, vici.

 

Sacrificing the final reminder of an idyllic love that has become a burden to a woman, to a Pharaoh, fighting for the survival of her country, her city, her family and her throne, will provide you, and those you are fighting this battle for, with a new champion. A small sacrifice if one considers all you have to win.

 

This was the moment… Another sacrifice to add to a long list that has been accumulating since the day of her birth… But it’s all worthwhile…In Alexandria there was a young prince whose destiny was written in the stars – a Ptolomey Pharaoh on the combined thrones of Egypt and Rome…

 

She waved over a slave that was waiting for her signal. A goblet of wine vinegar was placed in front of her.

 

“Do not think,” she warned herself, as she resolutely kept eye contact with the attractive, powerful Roman leader next to her. “Only do as the Bedouin woman instructed.”

In a languid, yet fluid motion she pulled the enormous pearl from her exposed earlobe – the tear of the goddess, the value of fifteen countries – and dropped it into the goblet of vinegar which instantly began to dissolve the priceless gem. Still facing the General her hand reached for the other…

 

Cradling the second pearl in her palm a face suddenly flashed in her mind’s eye. The father of her son. The man she had sacrificed her honour and dignity to – for him she was willing to be called ‘The Egyptian Whore’.

 

To be the mother of a son, a Caesar, was a heady thing. But she couldn’t hold him close to her breast late at night when the moon shone its golden path across the desert, nor would she be able to cradle him and remember the face of Julius wherever she went…

 

Without another thought Cleopatra places the second pearl in her lap before methodically stirring the most expensive drink in history.  Once the pearl is fully dissolved she lifts the goblet in ironic salute to the company of Romans staring at her in silent astonishment.

 

“To your health, the great future of your leader Antony and the good fortunes of Egypt and Rome.”

 

Without flinching Cleopatra lifts the goblet and swallows the pearl-infused vinegar in a single breath. Without as much as a grimace she allows the coarse vinegar drink to race down her throat. Replacing the goblet on the table she smiles at the awe-struck Anthony.

 

“I believe I have just won my wager.”

 

She smiles beguilingly, but in her lap she carefully cradles the remaining pearl in her hand. Surely the gods would be willing to grant her a single keepsake of her one true love and secure the future of her son as well…