Underwater

There are those who have been prematurely forgotten… and those who too few people ever heard of in the first place… and also some people who just can’t be celebrated enough. This is a page for those people.

1. SOLVEIG VON SCHOULTZ

Solveig von Schoultz (1907-1996) was a great Swedish-language poet from Finland. This (below) is one of her poems (translated by Anne Born) from a collection called Snow and Summers (Publisher: Forest Books) which sadly seems now to be out of print:

You Always Thought

You always thought dull fields were radiant green.
Believed more good was in store for you.
That earth welcomed the thunder of your hooves.
That there was room for your shining mane.

The sun dwelt in your great body.
Your flanks shone with life’s sweat.
Your muzzle was strength’s tenderness
and mares fell silent at your call.

Unsuspicious one, what did you know of boundaries?
What did you know of envy’s barbs,
of mean fences that tore at your leaping hooves?

No accusation in your mute eye.
Richly
your warm death runs out into the grass.

Your sun streams out of you
And your end is as your beginning:
trust

2. SENGAI

Information about the Japanese calligrapher (and Zen monk) Sengai Gibon (1750 – 1837) can be found here and here. This is one of the most famous of his works, entitled The Universe:

sengai_universe

3. MITSU SUZUKI / GWEN JOHN

I came across a book of translations (Temple Dusk: Zen Haiku) of haikus by the Japanese poet Mitsu Suzuki many years ago in the Poetry Library in London. Her writing is muted and delicate in a way that for some reason reminds me of the British painter Gwen John (whose painting of a girl holding a cat is a favourite of mine). Here’s a haiku from Mitsu Suzuki (the long dash before the final line is my attempt to replicate the original layout):

Spring
lingering cold
———I’m hurt with my own words

4. ANJU MIRA

Anju Mira (安寿ミラ) was an otokoyaku or male role player in the Japanese all-female theatre company Takarazuka. This is an institution in Japan but little known in the UK. I saw her when she starred in a Takarazuka production at the London Coliseum in 1994. I didn’t sleep for days afterwards, such was her impact on me. The following year she retired from Takarazuka and became an ‘ordinary’ female actress and dancer. This is a shot of her during that early period of her new ‘female career’:

miral

5. MORECAMBE & WISE / LAUREL & HARDY

Morecambe & Wise were the most popular comedy double act Britain has ever seen – and one of the longest-lasting (1941-1984). Along with Laurel & Hardy they’re my all-time favourite feel-good comedy stars.

Morecambe & Wise do their dance2

6. URSULA HOWELLS

Ursula Howells (1922-2005) was an English actress and the daughter of the composer Herbert Howells. I remember her primarily as an old lady, for example as Miss Blacklock in “A Murder Is Announced”, an episode of (the definitive version of) Miss Marple which starred Joan Hickson. Always elegant, intelligent, talented and more beautiful old than young:

Ursula_Howells_Cazalets

7. HASSAN MASSOUDY

Hassan Massoudy is an Iraqi calligrapher. See below for an example of his work or find out more at his web page.

massoudy1

Advertisements