by John Francis.
Published by Scottish Esperanto Association (SC042398). 47 Airbles Cr, Motherwell, Scotland, UK
Serio Skota Literaturo
John Francis (1924-2012) estis verkabunda skota poeto kaj romanisto en Esperanto. Profesie instruisto de la angla lingvo, li lernis Esperanton en 1942. Liaj fruaj verkoj estis plej ofte poeziaj. La poemo "La Kosmo" aperis en la kolekto de poemoj "Kvaropo" el kiu establiĝis la tiel nomata Skota Skolo de Esperanta literaturo (Auld, Dinwoodie. Francis, Rossetti).
John Francis kontribuis al la Angla Antologio kaj publikigis kolekton de mallongaj rakontoj; Vitralo. Sekvis Misio sen Alveno, Tri rakontoj pri la Miljara Paco, La Kastelo de Vitro kaj Kronprincedzino. Lia ĉefa romano. eldonita en 1978, estas "La Granda Kaldrono".
Ni fieras, en liu ĉi libro, eldoni poeman kolekton de John Francis, kiu inkluzivas multajn ne-antaŭe publikigitajn poemojn, sub la titolo "Danco de Vivo".
Al Malfruantaj Solenontoj
Se Perfekto Estus Belo
La Glavo kaj la Fibulo
Ombroj en Mateno
Eliro en Dilemon
Rikolto Sin Resemos Do
Himno al Laboro
Re vi do
Danco de Vivo
La Kosmo (Reviziita)
Ne, Sed Kaprice
A P R I L A
Bremsu la Jarojn
En Amo Denove
John Francis was one of the most outstanding authors in the Esperanto world. He wrote poetry initially, but is better known for his prose work.
His best friend at school, William Auld, convinced him to learn Esperanto. John wanted to learn Spanish, as he had been impressed by it as a language in the Cowboys novels which he read avidly. He tried to persuade Auld to learn Spanish. Auld agreed to learn it if John first learned Esperanto. John kept his part of the bargain, but we don't know if Auld ever kept his. Nevertheless, having learned Esperanto John was to become one of its greatest authors.
Both John and William Auld served in the RAF during WWII and afterwards their friendship rekindled when they joined with two other Esperanto poets, John Dinwoodie and Reto Rosetti to write poems which would eventually be published in the seminal work "Kvaropo" (A Foursome). John's contribution to that was a single long poem in five chapters, "La Kosmo" (The Cosmos).
"La Kosmo" describes in verse the origin of the Universe from a "vakua firmamento" (an empty firmament) through the birth of stars and galaxies, the formation of planets, the evolution of life leading to the dominion of mankind, onto the inevitable death of our sun and the Universe itself. The cycle with the opening line of the poem "senvive sin etendas vakua firmamento" (an empty firmament stretches out lifelessly).
John described how he, Auld and Rosetti would gather at weekends in one or other of their homes to talk about their poetry, the language Esperanto, and to try out ideas on one another. They would regularly stay up all night with their discussions, smoking and drinking coffee to keep them going.
John moved on to prose and in 1960 he published "Vitralo" (Stained Glass Window), a collection of sharply satirical short stories set in an imaginary country, Juglando (Yokeland), and its neighbour, Ruz (Sly).
In 1982 he published "Misio sen Alveno" (Mission without End) a enjoyable science fiction adventure which, as one would expect from such an accomplished author, uses the fictional setting to deal with many of the mysteries of the human condition.
In 1997 he published "Tri Rakontoj pri la Miljara Paco" (Three Stories of the Thousand Year Peace), humorous political satires in which he revisits Juglando and Ruz.
John once said that it bothered him that while there were original novels in Esperanto for adults and also for young children, there were none for older children and young teenagers. He simply set about writing one and in 2004 "La Kastelo de Vitro" (The Castle of Glass), a magical fantasy adventure in a parallel world, was published. It is a tribute to John as an author that his mastery covered so many different genres so successfully.
His book "Kronprincedzino" (Crown Prince's Wife) has been published by Flandra Esperanto-Ligo.
His masterpiece, however, was "La Granda Kaldrono" (The Great Cauldron) published in 1978. The novel deals with the lives of two Glasgow families over two generations spanning the two World Wars. It is a beautifully written and thoroughly readable piece. John shows a deep understanding of the human heart, of the desires and needs which motivate us to do the things we do and make us the way we are; from the frivolous fussing of a young women picking a dress for her first date, to the selfless refusal of a soldier in the trenches to take a promotion which would save him from his eventual death under enemy fire. Reading it one thinks of a very televisable story along the lines of the period dramas which the BBC does so well.
John was well known among Esperantists internationally often attending World Congresses. For many years, however, he wasn't at all active in the movement until in 2004, virtually unannounced he turned up at the Glasgow Esperanto Society. Although reserved those who got to know him found John to be a deeply human, compassionate and humorous man.
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[EAB Book Service Catalogue]