One will probably accept as true that in answer to Hamlet’s question, whether to be or not to be, a body swaddled in a cloak of steaming, soapy water, enjoying its being human, will give an answer rather different from the one the Danish Prince himself gave. Perchance the difference between word and deed, perhaps even that infamous divide between ‘words and things’…


In the bathtub a man withdraws from himself, and why not: transcends that self. Not only is the body cleaned while growing red, the possessor thereof meanwhile endeavors to cleanse the soul.

This kneading and rubbing of that transient entity is done best while in the meantime someone beloved roughly brushes the body’s back with rugged bristles of the accurate hardness – tenderly so.

Oh, a thorough Yes! jubilates in excelsis.

Let it be – so and not otherwise. So be it – in ma douce France, in the Netherlands, even in Denmark.


Sierksma, Saumur 2.9 /2015


Author: rjsiersk

Sierksma was born in Friesland, a 'county' in the northern part of the Netherlands with its own language which he does not speak and with an obstinate population to which he both belongs and does not belong. A retired Professor of Social Philosophy and Aesthetics, as a Harkness fellow he taught at Rutgers and Berkeley Universities in the USA, and at GUAmsterdam and TUDelft in the Netherlands. In 1991 he was awarded his PhD from Leiden University on the subject of 'Surveillance and Task: Labour Discipline between Utilitarianism and Pragmatism'. His books include Minima Memoria (1993), Lost View (2002 with Jan van Geest), and Litter Scent (2013). He has published poems and articles in Te Elfder Ure, Nynade, Oasis and the Architectural Annual. Half the year he lives in Haarlem, the other half he spends in la France Profonde, living ‘in his own words’ as the house out there was bought with the winnings from his essay Eternal Sin, written for the ECI Essay Prize (1993). In this blog, Sierksma's Sequences, written in English, he is peeping round his own and other people’s perspectives. Not easily satisfied with answers nor with questions, he turns his wry wit to a number of philosophical and historical issues. His aim in writing: to make parts of the world light up in his perspective - not my will, thine! Not being a thief, he has no cook, one wife, some children, one lover and three cats.

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