“Maar doodslaan deed hij niet, want tusschen droom en daad
staan wetten in de weg en praktische bezwaren,
en ook weemoedigheid, die niemand kan verklaren,
en die des avonds komt, wanneer men slapen gaat.”
Willem Elsschot, ‘Het Huwelijk’, Verzameld Werk, Van Kampen en Zoon NV, 1957, p. 737.
[Amateuristic English translation: “But slaying her he did not do, for between dream and deed laws stand in the way and practical concerns, and melancholy, which no-one can explain, and which comes at night, when one goes to sleep.”]
[Re-posted from The Old Site, original DD 29/02/09. What can I say, Read The Bloody Poem!]
Something in the above will forever bug me, so let me respond in kind (alas, not
– at all – in quality).
Sometimes, between going-to and falling-a sleep, there is that instant (lying horizontally) when you, elsewhere, are tall in a world ever so small; a giant but far from a tyrant. That is the moment (rising vertically) you only just succeed in fighting of sleep, barely awake but having a ball, fucking fuzzlessly brilliant.
That moment all is perfect, all is silent. Day-dream at night, no struggle, fright or fight. All is explanation, 18 carats imagination. Unfelt then, the shadow of it felt at dawn of having felt, if only faintly, god damned fantastic.
Then it dawned, indeed it dawned. Nobody damned, not even to brilliance. The epiphany an anomaly, a black hole, computing error, divide by zero and you: no hero.
Romance is rotten, melancholy mental masturbation!
Left to your own devices you produce your worst advises. You were sound asleep. Now you are back to everyday’s upkeep. Uphill again, not necessarily steep; of no use to heed that instant of being a born-again infant.
Not close and certainly no cigar: a bit of prose to say ‘but still’.
‘But still one needs to take every moment of inspiration. The problem is only there if one makes it into a mystery (‘weemoed’ isn’t quite melancholy). When intention and action get separated, this becomes a problem for any marriage and not in the least for the marriage between your passion and your reason (The marriage that you call ‘I’).
But that is all in the quoted poem and it is not in the quoting poem so you’d do well to get familiar with Elsschot. He did not die a bitter man as he considered it & dismissed the case because he could imagine it without only imagining himself.
[Whilst writing this I was listening to: Davie Allan & The Arrows, Cycle Breed and Fred Lane, ‘from the one that cut you’.]