and The Raft of Poverty
In the Circus
A Steam Engine
for a Piano
Rhapsody: a failure
to Saint Frambourg - Dawn
étions et n’avions qu’un cœur ».
François Villon. (‘We were two
with but one heart’).
an Egyptian, born in Rome. Soleilka
means ‘sun’. Not that I’m being pretentious:
the name was given to me by my parents
just like yours was. My father used
to say laughingly, "You’re a daughter
of the sun, Soleilka, and you will rise
used to tell me that the rulers of Ancient
Egypt were our ancestors and that I
should be proud to be a daughter of
the sun. And so I was – very proud.
for fun, I would go out into the garden
and call out to the sun, "Shine!"
Since we lived in Rome, it shone. That
was easy. I would call to the wind,
"Bring us some rain!" and
it rained. If it didn’t, it was just
that the trees weren’t thirsty. There’s
a simple explanation for everything
if you don’t want to lose heart.
married Georges Cziffra, a Hungarian,
in 1942. With him I lived through war
and peace; he played for the living
and the dead. We experienced death,
fire, art, love and, above all, faith
and resurrection. Then we lost our son.
Then I lost my husband.
this moment I, daughter of the sun and
of the puszta, am in dark, damp crypt
of the Chapel in Senlis. Surrounded
by the collapsing pillars of the Carolingian
monument, I am kneeling on the mud floor
at the foot of the statue of the Bishop
of Saint Frambourg. Sharp bits of gravel
cut into my knees while my hands are
busy collecting the flowers, strewn
here and there by the anonymous faith
of visitors, and putting them into vases.
tokens of a reviving cult, the fresh
wreathes bow gently over the ribbed
sides of the stone chasuble. For an
instant, my fingers brush against the
feet of the statue, fixed in their eternal,
holy expectancy. The rough surface recalls
the cold earth I had clawed at on impulse
like a terrier until there appeared,
wrapped in decaying rags, the statue
now standing before me. I looked up,
instinctively hiding my hands covered
in earth and gravel. The Saint gazes
through me dreamily to Eternity. From
his blank stone eyes I feel a warm,
appeasing dark wave coming from afar
as if in answer to a prayer.
often go into the Chapel to walk down
the nave a little and relax. I walk
with all my sorrows, dreams, hopes and
faith. Over the speakers, the sound
of the Rachmaninov concerto announces
the start of the next visit. I sit for
an instant on the hard-backed bench
and listen: I feel within me the warm,
appeasing, dark wave which shone in
the statue’s blank eyes. The dreamy
gaze passing through me to eternity
is the message of Saint Frambourg: "Your
deeds shall be accounted for in the
realms of the living and the dead."
and I lived through war and peace; he
played for the living and the dead.
We experienced fire, art, love and,
above all, faith and resurrection.