γράμμα από το μέτωπο

July the 14th, 1861

Washington D.C.

My very dear Sarah:

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days—perhaps tomorrow. Lest I should not be able to write you again, I feel impelled to write lines that may fall under your eye when I shall be no more.

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure—and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine O God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows—when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children—is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country.

Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me to you with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly on with all these chains to the battlefield.

The memories of the blissful moments I have spent with you come creeping over me, and I feel most gratified to God and to you that I have enjoyed them so long. And hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes of future years, when God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our sons grow up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me—perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar—that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless and foolish I have often been! How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more.

But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the brightest day and in the darkest night—amidst your happiest scenes and gloomiest hours—always, always; and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath; or the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

Sarah, do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father’s love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God’s blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.

Sullivan

το γράμμα παραδόθηκε στην Sarah μετά τον θάνατο του Sullivan

The Three Ravens

English folk ballad by Thomas Ravenscroft

There were three rauens sat on a tree,
downe a downe, hay downe, hay downe,
There were three rauens sat on a tree,
with a downe,
There were three rauens sat on a tree,
They were as blacke as they might be.
With a downe, derrie, derrie, derrie, downe, downe.

The one of them said to his mate,
Where shall we our breakfast take?

Downe in yonder greene field,
There lies a Knight slain under his shield,

His hounds they lie downe at his feete,
So well they can their Master keepe,

His Hawkes they flie so eagerly,
There’s no fowle dare him come nie

Downe there comes a fallow Doe,
As great with yong as she might goe,

She lift up his bloudy head,
And kist his wounds that were so red,

She got him up upon her backe,
And carried him to earthen lake,

She buried him before the prime,
She was dead her self ere euen-song time.

God send euery gentleman,
Such haukes, such hounds, and such a Leman.

λάδι στην άσφαλτο

Όταν διάβαζα την “Πείνα” του Κνουτ Χάμσουν, τη διάβαζα χορτάτος.
Και, ως χορτάτος, συμφωνούσα με τις συνταρακτικές περιγραφές του μεγάλου Νορβηγού συγγραφέα.

Ναι, έλεγα, έτσι θα πρέπει να αισθάνεται ένας πεινασμένος.
Και, φυσικά, όταν διάβαζα την “Πείνα” – ήμουν παιδί ακόμα –
ούτε που το φανταζόμουν ότι θα ερχόταν κάποτε η εποχή που θα ζούσα κι εγώ, την περιπέτεια του χαμσουνικού ήρωα.

Η εποχή αυτή ήρθε.

Μόνο που εγώ δεν πείνασα αλητεύοντας στην παγωνιά της νορβηγικής υπαίθρου.
Πείνασα εδώ, στην Αθήνα, που τους κατοχικούς χειμώνες δεν ήταν λιγότερο παγερή από τη Νορβηγία.
Η πείνα δεν ήρθε από τη μια στιγμή στην άλλη.

Σιγά – σιγά άρχισαν να εξαφανίζονται τα αγαθά από την αγορά.
Στα μπακάλικα, που άδειασαν όλα τα ράφια τους, δε μπορούσε πια κανείς να βρει παρά μόνο σκούπες, λουλάκι και λουμίνια.
Στα μανάβικα, το πολύ – πολύ καμιά πλεξούδα σκόρδα.
Και στα χασάπικα τίποτα.

Θυμάμαι, μάλιστα, μια μέρα που ο χασάπης της γειτονιάς μας πουλούσε σπανάκι.
Ακόμα, όμως, κι όταν εξαφανίστηκαν τα τρόφιμα, δεν πέσαμε αμέσως στο έλεος της νερόβραστης λαχανίδας.
Βγήκαν, βλέπετε, στην πιάτσα οι μαυραγορίτες και μπορούσε να βρει κανείς λίγο ακριβοπληρωμένο λαδάκι, λίγο τυράκι, καμιά κονσέρβα ή κάτι άλλο φαγώσιμο.
Ύστερα χάθηκαν και οι μαυραγορίτες.

Χάθηκαν, δηλαδή, για μας, τη συντριπτική πλειοψηφία των πειναλέων, που δεν είχε την οικονομική ευχέρεια να αντιμετωπίσει τις τιμές, στις οποίες είχαν φτάσει τα παντός είδους τρόφιμα.
Και πέσαμε στη λαχανίδα και στο ρεβύθι.

ΠΕΙΝΑ…
πείνα και των γονέων,
που λένε.

Ο Αττίκ έγραφε πως “ξέχασε το χρώμα των ματιών της”.
Εμείς είχαμε ξεχάσει τη γεύση όλων των γνωστών φαγητών.
Λαχανίδα, ρεβύθι, πού και πού λίγη σταφίδα.
Και δεν ήταν μόνο η πείνα.
Ήταν και ο φόβος.
Δε ζητάγαμε τροφή μόνο επειδή πεινούσαμε.
Τη ζητάγαμε πιο πολύ από φόβο μήπως από την πείνα τα τινάξουμε.

Θυμάμαι μια φορά στην Ομόνοια, που κάποιος κουβαλούσε,
τυλιγμένη μέσα σε μια εφημερίδα, μια μπουκάλα λάδι.
Σε μια στιγμή, δεν ξέρω πως έγινε,
του γλίστρησε από τα χέρια, έπεσε κάτω στην άσφαλτο
κι έσπασε.
Και, τότε, όσοι το πήραν χαμπάρι
έπεσαν στον δρόμο με τα τέσσερα
και έγλειφαν το λάδι από την άσφαλτο.

Αλέκος Σακελλάριος, απόσπασμα από το βιβλίο: “Λες και ήταν χθες”

are you a roman history documentary?

cause I can’t take my eyes off you…*

[πηγή: youtube Nero | Ancient Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire | BBC Documentary]
[πηγή: youtube Caesar | Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall Of An Empire | BBC Documentary]
[πηγή: youtube Constantine | Ancient Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire | BBC Documentary]
[πηγή: youtube The Fall Of Rome | Ancient Rome: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire | BBC Documentary]

* flirty quote by outsidetheegg