In the Louvre, in one of the alcoves of Dutch painting, near the Bruegels can be found a painting in the corner of which is a painting of a sulphur crested cockatoo. This painting is dated 1632, Anvers (Antwerp, modern Belgium). Abel Tasman visited Australia 1642-1644. Earlier Dutch landings were ill-fated. At first I thought it evidence for earlier landings but Sulphur Crested Cockatoos could have been traded up through the ‘East Indies’ to the Dutch, possibly through Macassan traders. This kind of Cockatoo is also in New Guinea which both the Dutch and Portuguese knew of well before Australia. There was an even older medieval trade in Bird of Paradise pelts from New Guinea on Malay, Chinese, Indian and Arabic routes. (The other parrot looks somewhat like a Crimson Rosella but is certainly a Red Macaw.)
Some may be familiar with L’Altro Figlio (The Other Son) from the Taviani brothers’ rendition of this Pirandello play in their beautiful film Kaos. If the play were a short story, it would be one of the best short stories ever written. This is a short clip. I wish the rest of this version could be found. For those who don’t know ‘the other son’ (SPOILER) this woman is illiterate and has just learned that the reason her son in America never returns her letters is that the young woman scribing her letters is also illiterate and was just scribbling. The young woman says she is mad because her son lives in the village but she acts as if he doesn’t exist even though he’s kind and leaves her gifts of food from afar. Here the old woman explains why she can’t bring herself to acknowledge this other son. He looks just like his father, a criminal released by the revolutionary Garibaldi when he liberated both good and bad from prisons, and who raped her and murdered her husband.
Congratulations Ryan O’Neill – longlisted for the Miles Franklin award
and shortlisted on the Christina Stead, NSW Premier’s Literary Award
Winter kept us warm.
To Silence from Subhash Jaireth at Puncher & Wattmann. A beautiful book. Here is the author talking:
Wise ones, I see the world is mad.
If I tell the truth they rush to beat me,
if I lie they trust me.
-Kabir, Sabda 4
New essay: Songs Of Surburban Malaise