Maisie Houghton

Thoughts on Holly

Olga Davidson has been in my life since 1964 when we were both members of families living in Zurich. I knew her first as light-hearted Holly and that spirit is still her essence through Holly’s diverse roles as writer, teacher, political activist and of course devoted wife, parent and grandmother has expanded her scope somewhat.

Holly has the ability to revel in whatever pursuit she chooses, from working as a Persian scholar to a night out decked in a swish leather jacket, off on a movie date with me.

It is in that mode that I see her, as a symbol of companionship and enjoyment of the present, fully aware of life’s challenges but always ready to play, the poet and the hero of the moment.

Her husband Greg’s translation from the Odyssey 9.3-11 (included here) best encapsulates for me the pleasure of Holly.

It is indeed a good thing to listen to a poet
such as this one before us, who is like the gods in speech.
For I think there is no occasion accomplished that is more pleasing
than when mirth holds sway among all the community [dēmos],
and the feasters up and down the house are sitting in order and
listening to the singer,
and beside them the tables are loaded
with bread and meats, and from the mixing bowls the wine steward
draws the wine and carries it about and fills the cups.
This seems to my mind to be the best of occasions.

Odyssey 9.3-11