Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Fragment of truth

Alfred Gregory Eagers

Born and educated in Yorkshire.

Major Exhibitions include London & U.K.Provinces, Paris, Brussells, Budapest. I.O.M. Spirit of Mannanan Royal Commission. R.A.F. Documentary Film 'Insite'. British Watercolourist on tour.
British Lecture Tour.
Pembrokeshire Revealed. Haverfordwest Murals. St. Davids. Studio Gallery. Artist at the Cathedral. Calender for Romania. Le du Bonne Award Paris. The 'Crux' major work Commenced.

Poetry & Writings

Alfred's writings and poetry has been published and recorded in an eclectic form, sometimes written in conjunction with his paintings and in some cases the one has been the catalyst for the other.
Curently he is working on the illustrations of the complete collection.
Some of his work has been broadcast by interview and in some cases, as with 'The Terezim Poem' and 'Never to see the morning' as a poetry reading.
He has broadcast with B.B.C. World Service from Eastern Europe (Bucuresti), Radio Wien, Radio 1 (Ireland), Manx Radio, B.B.C. H/W.

Currently lives in West Wales ( Studio) and Worcester.


Fragment of Truth,
Cought in Transient Delicacy
On Sullen Grey Barb of Circumstance.
How you stir and move
To Every Whim of Breeze
Contained you are now
As ne'er before, curtailed
And hindered in effort vain,
To once more belong
Where once, you did,
A part of me long time passed.
Time alone will tell,
As elements wear you
At their will, to nothing,
If nothing you could ever be.
The evidence of your being
A less corroded barb,
Amongst the whispering grass,
of life.

Alfred Gregory Eagers

Composed in May 1987 late evening as Contemplating the no man's land between Western and
Eastern Europe.


What is now, if then
Wounds Bleed, Unhealed
By time which is to be
Unending past.
Vain treasure; taunting,
A hollow recompense
Of memory's uncast shadow,
Upon that sacred plot
Which is for ever past.

What is now, if then
Still vain shadow,
Shields me not
From future's light.

Alfred Gregory Eagers.
Blank verse composed in Bucuresti City- considering past, present and future as a social conscience and a tenuous moral obligation.
June '92

 Mihaela Despa, Alfred Gregory Eagrers,  Silviu Despa 

They have worked together for rescueing the life of nobody's children abandoned  on the streets or in the communist orphanages after the revolution in Romanian. It was than that we saw together terrifying images with dyeing children, forgotten by the world in railway stations and orphanages:

photo: Irina Brodeala, 1990, Bucharest


This has been read and published in Romania on Radio Bucuresti (Radio Romania Bucharest) and on BBC World Service. it was also quoted in
the Romanian Democratic Parliamentary Declaration by Minister Prof. Ioan Alexandru.

Cover Illustration by the Author -
After Nicolae Grigorescu. ‘Sleeping Child’ -
- Bucuresti Child Study. A.G. Eagers

This story is based on true real life experience.
In some cases names and locations are fictitious.


The atmosphere of the echoing dimness seemed dulled into submission by the sub-zero cold. Huddled shadows moved, hunched in essential movement yet going nowhere. Grimy, ceramic columns reached into high vaulted darkness, their bases like sculptured conglomerate of human form … human islands of misery, exhaustion, alcoholic stupor or waiting. Waiting to wait. Flotsam and jetsam abandoned by an uncertain tide of circumstance, upon the timeless sands of passing night at the Gara De Nord, Bucuresti, Romania.
She could only have been 9 years old but so streetwise … an Ancient of days … and nights. Her large eyes, in haunted intensity, stared down and round, scanning the transient scene of coming and going, arrival and departure, a myriad of human insularity in passing. From where she stood in the corner shadow near the Buffe, a cabin dispensing coffee and coke, she was conducting a casual repartee with another girl of similar age and intent. They were available, totally and to whoever, for probably less than we would pay for tea and scone in a U.K. Railway Bar. In the seated shadows of the Cabana, behind the glass paned condensation of the door, client potential eyes, piercing yet dulled in animal anticipation of sick scented male gratification preyed upon them.
My friend and guide moved towards her and she watched him approach, streetwise eyes unmoving, discerning in one glance every eventuality potential as he approached. She responded to general chit chat and I was introduced. I felt as conspicuous as a celibate shopping in “Mothercare”, intruding, yet the intrusion of itself was welcome for its own sake. In the ensuing minutes I learned her name and age, though both were probably fictitious. I would place her around 9 years. She was ill. Whatever else she was, she was most certainly very ill. Her hands and feet and general skin pallor were of a lesser hue of health colour. She was cold but clearly she did not fully realise it. Perhaps she was still in post-inhalative diminution, less sensitive to cold and pain, less sensitive to hunger. Her friend of about 12 years was impatiently less communicative, much less interested in anything but the potential male clientele inside the Buffet Cabana. She spoke in soft urgency as she pushed open the glass paned doors. Together they moved through into the steamy smoke. The 9 year old of our closer encounter turned, stopped for a moment and looked back at me. That glance, that face, forever etched upon my mind. Those eyes, those haunted pools of eternal youth in paradox, were… never to see the morning… The door closed behind them as they moved into the closer company of the male addendum of the night.
We walked away slowly, unspeaking …

A November night in The Gara De Nord (North Railway Station, Bucuresti) is a carousel of paradox. At one and the same time it is stagnancy in transit; a spectrum of contradiction in terms of Romania arriving, having never been there, yet hurrying en masse in both directions to leave. Dim to dark Waiting Rooms cocoon every size and shape of human form which drape inadequate grimy P.V.C. upholstery which has long ago seen better days and nights.
We move around the station, being as discreet and inconspicuous as we knew we were not. As the night progresses into deep night, movement en bloc slows to small eddies of activity, lesser occasion of comment yet sometimes this humdrum quietness is pierced by a sudden staccato voice and response. Intermittent small booths, lit by varying efficiencies of neon tube, sell a variety of commodities from questionable, dry, curled salami sandwiches to Kent cigarettes and pseudo Pepsi from questionable origins. This is a large station terminal. Its alhambric monolith design accentuates the dispensability of human feeling and experience, with the muffled sensitivity of a dormant suffering Panther’s Moon, totally unpredictable yet with a certain unchanging mood of resilience so vulnerable.

The children of the street are settling to their nocturnal sojourn, all in various situations, shapes and sizes, curled in an invisible womb cocoon of fatalism, a Nirvana of abandonment. Sleep is a necessity. Night is the transient expedient. The corners, the empty, long-since abandoned left luggage lockers are nearest. The darkened corners of the waiting room are assumed privacy by the very absence of sensitivity to intrusion. You do not intrude on Nitrolac induced abandon, cast on the beach of night to let the tide be.

We moved past and on. It is time to move out into the city night of misty stillness, of concentrated Dacia Taxi activity, of the occasional tram clanking its grinding way as if lost in its own predictability of system. It clanks on and recedes into the long, stilled boulevard of the night, out into the city precincts, its passing registered perhaps with a tossing of uncertain counterpane sleep beind the mosaic of the tenement block windows tight closed and stale still. It is winter, and winter cold in the cold, cold tenements brings intimacy never considered in more acceptable climes. We move out beyond the station towards the Piata Obor, one of Bucuresti’s many markets…

… Another place of sojourn for the children of the streets.

Far across the city Dr. Dan Catana is exhausted, yet sleep is far from his mind.
His tall, regal frame inclines in intensity of concentration, every facet of his relatively early years as a surgeon directed through eyes and hands as he works with surgical intricacy on the upper limb of the small frailty of life before him. The theatre staff around him watch and move, responding to his quietly spoken demands.
It is 1.45 a.m. The operation is at the halfway stage. Daniel, the small, still, pale body almost translucent under the operating light, is 9 years old The operation is the third attempt to create some form of mobility in the femoral region of his legs. His thigh muscles are almost non-existent.
Several years ago, after contracting an infection, Penicillin was injected into his thigh muscles but in error of dosage and frequency, resulting in accelerated deterioration of the muscle.
Three years ago Daniel was found by the police on the streets on the point of death. He had been abandoned by his parents and had survived till then by begging, moving around in a shuffling, seal-like movement, dragging his useless legs behind him. The police took him to Budimex Hospital and the care of Dr. Catana where he has remained ever since. Dr. Catana seeks by sheer dedication and skill to create something of a more acceptable life for him. Daniel is just one of many such cases who remain at the hospital in protracted limbo. There is nowhere for them to go to from here. They come from the streets. Their home is the streets and the present law does not accommodate their pitiful and sometimes tragic need.
Dr. Catana steps back and stretches straight. The group move and relax. The “tired” and dangerously inefficient anaesthetic equipment sighs its agreement that the operation is over. Soon Daniel is wheeled out of the theatre into a small post-operative recovery room The morning will come and he will begin another day, the beginning of the rest of his life, a life of considerable struggle but one day he WILL stand and he WILL walk, through the skill and dedication of Dr. Dan Catana.
Dr. Catana moves out into the dimly lit corridor towards his room and welcome pillow. In the boulevard below a tram trundles and clanks by but there is no stirring or tossing of the counterpane here. It is 4.50 a.m. The past day and past night’s intensity draw its own conclusion. He may sleep beyond the coming dawn for tomorrow is now today and today he will soon be back in the operating theatre, the tide of need ever increasing …

Dawn does not break in winter Bucuresti. It steals away the night. Imperceptibly, yet no less surely, silhouettes change into monochrome tones. There is a fleeting moistness of the air … no less cold.
The Gara De Nord is already hastening to meet the new day. It is the only new thing here. The day emerges almost reluctantly, new and different for not very long. We approach this quickly changing scene. There are more sounds now than when we left. As we move to the main platform area an early morning train disgorges a myriad of “Slept in transit” humanity, yawning. The sound of morning increasingly echoes around the night darkness of the high ceilings. Some figures move slowly, lethargic, uncertain, reluctant to acknowledge another day which the night experience obscured for a time. But it is day. The night is far spent. This is the dawning. It is the certain tomorrow of the past night.
Perhaps subconsciously, we move in the direct of the Buffe Cabana area, now an increasing hub of eating and drinking and unknowing preoccupation with the curled salami sandwiches. Street children are seldom in high profile early in the day. They remain sleeping away whatever the night was. We glance into the Cabana Buffe. She is not there; naturally she would not be there. She would be wherever her night sojourn had taken her … to where I wondered? We moved under the great looming archways, pigeon accentuated, disinterested in lofty grandeur of grim, to the dank, wet, main platform area. It seemed we were gradually distancing ourselves from any intimacy the past night may have presumed, away from the constancy of confrontation of that which creates its own “Noblesse oblige”, to the onlooker. Where did she go? Where was she now?
The answer came suddenly unannounced, almost offensively. Beyond the archways, near the open precinct, the stationary vehicle with its faded red cross and attendant Politia, looked ominous. Then I saw her leaning against the police car. It was not “Her” but her friend clearly being questioned and still reluctant to communicate, almost sullen, almost disinterested. The night had passed and her friend with it. Is there not to be another night, another friend?

The doors of the ambulance were open. We moved to the position to see inside. Obviously seeing something, my companion turned towards me, his face paled, his eyes a combination of sadness and pity. Coming closer to where he stood I could see the small plastic covered form of our night encounter, the worn soles of her shoes still glistening wet. Most of us, when confronted with such a circumstance, require or wish for an inner assurance of innocence or exoneration from guilt. But there is no innocence here. Of what are we innocent? Of what could we possibly be guilty? Is just being there a crime?
It was cold, a winter dawn cold and deep within me I felt an empty coldness, pity, sadness and silent anger at that whichever was the final reason for such an end to her life. A sadness that this should ever be in a world which flaunted such voluptuous, opulent over-indulgence and material wealth yet had passed her by on the other side of the street.
We were suddenly conspicuous in our considerations. The Politia waved us on. I looked once more at the lifeless form of she whom I had known in that eternity of intimacy, a glance in passing in the night … The little girl of Gara De Nord, Bucuresti, Romania who was …
… never to see the morning.

‘A leading contemporary British Watercolourist’.
‘His work is Exhibited Annually in UK’.
‘With Royal Commission and Major Works in UK and International Collections and over many years’.
‘A long standing experience of working in Eastern Europe and in particular Romania’.
‘Pending a major one man show in Bucuresti, April/May 1993’.
‘Has written a number of published features concerning Eastern Europe’.
‘His prose/blank verse has been Cf. with Conrad/Elliott’ and usually is related to a particular painting study or painting situation.
‘Lives in Romania and West Wales’.
‘Co. Founder of VEE/VRD -
Director of Venturomana the business agency concerned with the resourcing of the VRD projects.
Reproduction in whole or part prohibited unless under written authorization.

Alfred Gregory Eagers and Dr. Dan Catana with a child who was saved from the street 15 years ago.


Alfred continued to visit Romania on visits to friends around
the country. In 2003/4 the constraint of cancer and spinal injury incurred in a R.T.A. curtailed his traveling, however he resumed his visits in 2005.
A proposed documentary concerning his past times in Romania, visiting the many areas of his contacts and friends of the past, drawing and painting in situ with MSS remains a positive consideration. The documentary would take the form in film and published book.
Presently he lives in Wales where he continues to write and paint.
Currently he is working on a major piece, `The Crux' .
A collection of his illustrated poems is being formulated and will include `The Girl Of Terezin', Celestina, and the Monologue, The Wolf and the Seagull Quark.

Cleft Publishing. U.K.
October. 2007.