A hand | Anna Kamieńska, 1962

Hand of Akhenaten making an offering to Aten - Sandstone from Ashmunein,
Egypt, 18th Dynasty, ca. 1540 - 1300 BCE



This thing is called a hand.
This thing brought closer to the eyes
covers the world.
Bigger than the sun, a horse, a house,
a cloud, a fly.
This thing of fingers.
This thing with a lovely pink surface.
It is me myself.
It’s not merely lovely.
It grabs, holds, pulls, rips off
and its other works are numberless.
It’s not merely lovely.
It directs armies,
works the soil,
murders with an axe,
spreads women’s thighs
and its other works are numberless.
Its five fingers—five crimes.
Its five fingers—one merit.


Anna Kamienska
tr. Grazyna Drabik & David Curzon


Mica Hand, Hopewell, Ross County, Ohio, ca. 100 BCE - 500 CE


Also: 

Book//mark - Chance | Joseph Conrad, 1912

Joseph Conrad, Chance: a tale in two parts, 1912                                                                                                   Joseph Conrad


Those that hold that all things are governed by Fortune had not erred, had they not persisted there

Sir Thomas Browne

''I believe he had seen us out of the window coming off to dine in the dinghy of a fourteen-ton yawl belonging to Marlow my host and skipper. We helped the boy we had with us to haul the boat up on the landing-stage before we went up to the riverside inn, where we found our new acquaintance eating his dinner in dignified loneliness at the head of a long table, white and inhospitable like a snow bank.''

''This was the first I ever heard of it. I had never suspected that Mrs. Fyne had taken the trouble to distinguish in me the signs of sagacity or folly. The few words we had exchanged last night in the excitement--or the bother--of the girl's disappearance, were the first moderately significant words which had ever passed between us. I had felt myself always to be in Mrs. Fyne's view her husband's chess-player and nothing else--a convenience--almost an implement.
"I am highly flattered," I said. "I have always heard that there are nolimits to feminine intuition; and now I am half inclined to believe it is so. But still I fail to see in what way my sagacity, practical or otherwise, can be of any service to Mrs. Fyne. One man's sagacity is very much like any other man's sagacity. And with you at hand--"Fyne, manifestly not attending to what I was saying, directed straight at me his worried solemn eyes and struck in: "Yes, yes. Very likely. But you will come--won't you?"'

''What they said to each other in private we can imagine. She came out of her own sitting-room with red spots on her cheek-bones, which having provoked a question from her "beloved" charge, were accounted for by a curt "I have a headache coming on." But we may be certain that the talk being over she must have said to that young blackguard: "You had better take her out for a ride as usual." We have proof positive of this in Fyne and Mrs. Fyne observing them mount at the door and pass under the windows of their sitting-room, talking together, and the poor girl all smiles; because she enjoyed in all innocence the company of Charley.''

''I said perfunctorily, "Do you?" And we remained gazing at each other. The uniform paleness of her complexion was not that of an anaemic girl. It had a transparent vitality and at that particular moment the faintest possible rosy tinge, the merest suspicion of colour; an equivalent, I suppose, in any other girl to blushing like a peony while she told me that Captain Anthony had arranged to show her the ship that morning.

It was easy to understand that she did not want to meet Fyne. And when I mentioned in a discreet murmur that he had come because of her letter she glanced at the hotel door quickly, and moved off a few steps to a position where she could watch the entrance without being seen. I followed her. At the junction of the two thoroughfares she stopped in the thin traffic of the broad pavement and turned to me with an air of challenge. "And so you know."'

''The morning was clear, colourless, grey overhead; the dock like a sheet of darkling glass crowded with upside-down reflections of warehouses, of hulls and masts of silent ships. Rare figures moved here and there on the distant quays. A knot of men stood alongside with clothes-bags and wooden chests at their feet. Others were coming down the lane between tall, blind walls, surrounding a hand-cart loaded with more bags and boxes. It was the crew of the Ferndale. They began to come on board. He scanned their faces as they passed forward filling the roomy deck with the shuffle of their footsteps and the murmur of voices, like the awakening to life of a world about to be launched into space.''

''I called out to the captain that his lady was coming aboard. He answered me, but as I didn't see him coming, I went down the gangway myself to help her alight. She jumps out excitedly without touching my arm, or as much as saying "thank you" or "good morning" or anything, turns back to the cab, and then that old joker comes out slowly. I hadn't noticed him inside. I hadn't expected to see anybody. It gave me a start. She says: "My father--Mr. Franklin." He was staring at me like an owl. "How do you do, sir?" says I. Both of them looked funny. It was as if something had happened to them on the way. Neither of them moved, and I stood by waiting. The captain showed himself on the poop; and I saw him at the side looking over, and then he disappeared; on the way to meet them on shore, I expected. But he just went down below again. ''

''Devil only knows what was up between them. There she was, pale as death, talking to him very fast. He got as red as a turkey-cock--dash me if he didn't. A bad-tempered old bloke, I can tellyou. And a bad lot, too. Never mind. I couldn't hear what she was saying to him, but she put force enough into it to shake her. It seemed —it seemed, mind!—that he didn't want to go on board. ''

''There are on earth no actors too humble and obscure not to have a gallery; that gallery which envenoms the play by stealthy jeers, counsels of anger, amused comments or words of perfidious compassion. However, the Anthonys were free from all demoralizing influences. At sea, you know, there is no gallery. You hear no tormenting echoes of your own littleness there, where either a great elemental voice roars defiantly under the sky or else an elemental silence seems to be part of the infinite stillness of the universe.''

''All the warmth went out of her emotion. The very last tears turned cold on her cheek. But their work was done. She had found courage, resolution, as women do, in a good cry. With his hand covering the upper part of his face whether to conceal his eyes or to shut out an unbearable sight, he was stiffening up in his corner to his usual poker-like consistency. She regarded him in silence. His thin obstinate lips moved. He uttered the name of the cousin--the man, you remember, who did not approve of the Fynes, and whom rightly or wrongly little Fyne suspected of interested motives, in view of de Barral having possibly put away some plunder, somewhere before the smash.''

 ''It was one of those dewy, clear, starry nights, oppressing our spirit, crushing our pride, by the brilliant evidence of the awful loneliness, of the hopeless obscure insignificance of our globe lost in the splendid revelation of a glittering, soulless universe. ''

 ''Young Powell had settled down to the regular officer-of-the-watch tramp in the dense shadow of the world decorated with stars high above his head, and on earth only a few gleams of light about the ship. The lamp in the after skylight was kept burning through the night. There were also the dead-lights of the stern-cabins glimmering dully in the deck far aft, catching his eye when he turned to walk that way. The brasses of the wheel glittered too, with the dimly lit figure of the man detached, as if phosphorescent, against the black and spangled background of the horizon.
 Young Powell, in the silence of the ship, reinforced by the great silent stillness of the world, said to himself that there was something mysterious in such beings as the absurd Franklin, and even in such beings as himself. It was a strange and almost improper thought to occur to the officer of the watch of a ship on the high seas on no matter how quiet a night. Why on earth was he bothering his head? Why couldn't he dismiss all these people from his mind? It was as if the mate had infected him with his own diseased devotion. He would not have believed it possible that he should be so foolish. But he was--clearly. He was foolish in a way totally unforeseen by himself. Pushing this self-analysis further, he reflected that the springs of his conduct were just as obscure. ''

'' Luckily, people, whether mature or not mature (and who really is ever mature?), are for the most part quite incapable of understanding what is happening to them: a merciful provision of nature to preserve an average amount of sanity for working purposes in this world. ''

 ''But we, my dear Marlow, have the inestimable advantage of understanding what is happening to others,” I struck in. “Or at least some of us seem to. Is that too a provision of nature? And what is it for? Is it that we may amuse ourselves gossiping about each other’s affairs? You, for instance, seem—''

'''This was yesterday,'' added Marlow, lolling in the arm-chair lazily. “I haven’t heard yet; but I expect to hear at any moment. . . . What on earth are you grinning at in this sarcastic manner? I am not afraid of going to church with a friend. Hang it all, for all my belief in Chance I am not exactly a pagan. . . .''


Joseph Conrad, Chance: a tale in two parts / The Damsel & The Damsel Knight, 1912

[originally entitled "Dynamite" and first published by installments in the New York Herald]


J[A-Z]Z / p1ck ( Popo | Shorty Rogers & Art Pepper, 1951

Cover Photo: Don Schlitten


Recorded December 27, 1951 in Los Angeles, CA 
It was first released on LP in 1980 by Don Schlitten on his Xanadu label.

Shorty Rogers & Art Pepper, Popo, 1951


Shorty Rogers - trumpet 
Art Pepper - alto saxophone 
Frank Patchen - piano 
Howard Rumsey - bass 
Shelly Manne - drums

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