Akira Kurosawa (b. 1910) – Japanese film director, screenwriter – Rashomon (1950)
Lawrence Ferlinghetti (b. 1919) – U.S. poet –A Vast Confusion
Long long I lay in the sands
Sound of trains in the surf
in subways of the sea
And an even greater undersound
of a vast confusion in the universe
a rumbling and a roaring
as if some enormous creature turning
under sea and earth
a billion sotto voices murmuring
a vast muttering
a swelling stuttering
in ocean’s speakers
world’s voice-box heard with ear to sand
a shocked echoing
a shocking shouting
of all life’s voices lost in night
And the tape of it
someow running backwards now
through the Moog Synthesizer of time and sea
back to the first harmonies
And the first light
Wednesday March 25
Thom Loverro (b. 1954) – U.S. sportswriter, columnist – Hail Victory: An Oral History of the Washington Redskins (2006)
Robert Frost (b. 1874) – U.S. poet
The Woodpile (1914)
Out walking in the frozen swamp one gray day
I paused and said, ‘I will turn back from here.
No, I will go on farther- and we shall see’.
The hard snow held me, save where now and then
One foot went through. The view was all in lines
Straight up and down of tail slim trees
Too much alike to mark or name a place by
So as to say for certain I was here
Or somewhere else: I was just far from home.
A small bird flew before me. He was careful
To put a tree between us when he lighted,
And say no word to tell me who he was
Who was so foolish as to think what he thought.
He thought that I was after him for a feather-
The white one in his tail; like one who takes
Everything said as personal to himself.
One flight out sideways would have undeceived him.
And then there was a pile of wood for which
I forgot him and let his little fear
Carry him off the way I might have gone,
Without so much as wishing him good-night.
He went behind it to make his last stand.
It was a cord of maple, cut and split
And piled- and measured, four by four by eight.
And not another like it could I see.
No runner tracks in this year’s snow looped near it.
And it was older sure than this year’s cutting,
Or even last year’s or the year’s before.
The wood was gray and the bark warping off it
And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis
Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle.
What held it though on one side was a tree
Still growing, and on one a stake and prop,
These latter about to fall. I thought that only
Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks
Could so forget his handiwork on which
He spent himself the labor of his axe,
And leave it there far from a useful fireplace
To warm the frozen swamp as best it could With the slow smokeless burning of decay.
Tennessee Williams (b. 1911) – U.S. playwright, short story writer – A Streetcar Named Desire
Friday March 27
Abelardo Castillo (b. 1935) – Argentine novelist, playwright, and short story writer
Saturday March 28
Maxim Gorky (Aleksey Maksimovich Peshkov) (b. 1868) – Russian novelist, short story writer, and playwright in the socialist realism genre – Mother
Read about Gorky:
Excerpt from Chapter 4 of Mother
Other people came from the city, oftenest among them a tall, well-built young girl with large eyes set in a thin, pale face. She was called Sashenka. There was something manly in her walk and movements; she knit her thick, dark eyebrows in a frown, and when she spoke the thin nostrils of her straight nose quivered.
She was the first to say, “We are socialists!” Her voice when she said it was loud and strident.
When the mother heard this word, she stared in dumb fright into the girl’s face. But Sashenka, half closing her eyes, said sternly and resolutely: “We must give up all our forces to the cause of the regeneration of life; we must realize that we will receive no recompense.”
The mother understood that the socialists had killed the Czar. It had happened in the days of her youth; and people had then said that the landlords, wishing to revenge themselves on the Czar for liberating the peasant serfs, had vowed not to cut their hair until the Czar should be killed. These were the persons who had been called socialists. And now she could not understand why it was that her son and his friends were socialists.
When they had all departed, she asked Pavel:
“Pavlusha, are you a socialist?”
“Yes,” he said, standing before her, straight and stalwart as always. “Why?”
The mother heaved a heavy sigh, and lowering her eyes, said:
“So, Pavlusha? Why, they are against the Czar; they killed one.”
Pavel walked up and down the room, ran his hand across his face, and, smiling, said:
“We don’t need to do that!”
He spoke to her for a long while in a low, serious voice. She looked into his face and thought:
“He will do nothing bad; he is incapable of doing bad!”
And thereafter the terrible word was repeated with increasing frequency; its sharpness wore off, and it became as familiar to her ear as scores of other words unintelligible to her. But Sashenka did not please her, and when she came the mother felt troubled and ill at ease.