Thursday, July 30, 2009

« Notwendigkeit ist da, der Zweifel flieht,
Nacht musst es sein wo Friedland’s Sterne strahlen.
(Doubt flees in the face of necessity: it must be night for Friedland’s stars to shine.)

Things have to be grim when I bring out Wallenstein. (Schiller’s grandiose play about the 30-Year War.) The words above have followed me through life and have been brought out of their hiding place and polished to be used many times when things have been seemingly impossible. When Wallenstein’s stars are shining, I pick up and continue, sticking two fingers up at life. After all, what else is there to do? Where else is there to go? I am not going to give up and go back to Ladbroke Grove, am I?? »

That is what I wrote on 14 October last year.
What on earth did I know about hardship then? It now seems risible to have brought out Wallenstein. He must have been turning in his grave to have been disturbed on such unimportant matters. What problems did I have then? I can't even recall now. It was still raining? Papa had put too much pepper in the sauce?
October last year now seems like the Halcyon days before the fall, before the expulsion from Paradise. Keita was still well and the generator was working
And there we have the two matters that are now too grim to contemplate and enduces me to spend the last 2 days escaping into the sex life of lizards.
Keita is languishing in Bamako under constant and costly medical care, and the generator has once more broken down, on the eve of the arrival of a flood of guests. I am waking up and finally shaking myself out of the pleasant lizard reverie, something must be done. The seriousness of the situation is dawning on me and descending on me like a big chill. These guests are simply going to have to stay. They MUST be enticed by some scheme charming enough to keep them at the hotel, even without electricity.
SO; While the generator parts are already on their way to Bamako, I trawl the market with Beigna on the hunt for Mosquito tents. These will be placed on the roof, and have mattresses and good sheets and pillows prepared, just like in the rooms. The rooms will be given in combination with a mosquito tent on the roof. It will be presented as an African Adventure. If it starts raining, the guests will simply go down to their room, and the guardian will pick up the mattresses sheets etc. If it rains the heat will have gone out of the air anyway so the rooms will be cooler. There will be oil lamps everywhere in the garden, on the steps to the roof etc. The hotel and garden will be magnificent. So this is what we will try. The first guests are arriving this afternoon... More later.


Blogger David said...

Very eloquently put, Sophie. Whatever else, crisis still brings out the poet in you. Coraggio!


12:41 PM  
Blogger George Ross said...

Were't possible? Could I no more, as I wished?

No more return, as't pleases me? I must

Perform the deed, because I thought of it,

Drove the temptation not from me — my heart

Did nourish with this dream, for an uncertain

Accomplishment have laid aside the means,

Have merely kept my pathways to it open? — 

By the great God o'th' Heavens!
I was not
In earnest, 'twas ne'er a decided thing.

Myself I merely flattered with the thought;

The freedom and capacity enticed me.

Was it not right, for me to take delight
In the deceptive hope of royalty?

Did not free will remain within my breast,

And saw I not the good path at my side,

Which always kept return open to me?

Schiller: Act I. Scene 4 of Wallenstein's Death

Sorry, I don't know it by heart in German and couldn't find the German text, either. But you see, Wallenstein - and the great Schiller - point out options to you!
The 30-year War was the making of modern Europe. With uncanny wisdom, Pope Leon X foresaw the calamitous consequences of the Treaty of Westfalia!
Like the true Renaissance woman that you are (you would have easily fitted into the court of Rudolf II, just before the 30-year war), you naturally combine in you the chatelaine of Mali and the poet!
Courage ma brave!
Much love,

11:49 AM  
Blogger toubab said...

Oh, George,
I read this again a year and a half after you have left us all. I miss you dear friend! It is difficult to imagine I will never see you again...

10:48 PM  

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