Food for the Spirit and the Soul

Because the diverse parts of human nature need to be nourished in different ways.

American Muse: Cecilia Woloch



Didn’t I stand there once,
white-knuckled, gripping the just-lit taper,
swearing I’d never go back?
And hadn’t you kissed the rain from my mouth?
And weren’t we gentle and awed and afraid,
knowing we’d stepped from the room of desire
into the further room of love?
And wasn’t it sacred, the sweetness
we licked from each other’s hands?
And were we not lovely, then, were we not
as lovely as thunder, and damp grass, and flame?

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May Offerings – Part XXV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Judy Funk

In the words of one writer, “Judy Funk is a talented realist painter whose love of art and life is conveyed through her work. Her artistic journey evolved from creative tendencies earlier in life to a later formal education at the Schuler School of Fine Art, where she learned the methods and techniques of the Flemish Old Masters. Judy’s paintings integrate her passion for art, innate talent and learned techniques into a disciplined form, producing sophisticated works that are inspired by the intricate details so effortlessly portrayed in nature.”

“Where I come from
Nobody knows;
And where I’m going
Everything goes.
The wind blows,
The sea flows –
And nobody knows.” – From “Portrait of Jennie,” by Robert Nathan, American poet and novelist, who died 25 May 1985.

Some quotes from Robert Nathan:

“There is no distance on this earth as far away as yesterday.”
“How little we have, I thought, between us and the waiting cold, the mystery, death–a strip of beach, a hill, a few walls of wood or stone, a little fire–and tomorrow’s sun, rising and warming us, tomorrow’s hope of peace and better weather . . . What if tomorrow vanished in the storm? What if time stood still? And yesterday–if once we lost our way, blundered in the storm–would we find yesterday again ahead of us, where we had thought tomorrow’s sun would rise?”
“What is it which makes a man and a woman know that they, of all other men and women in the world, belong to each other? Is it no more than chance and meeting? no more than being alive together in the world at the same time? Is it only a curve of the throat, a line of the chin, the way the eyes are set, a way of speaking? Or is it something deeper and stranger, something beyond meeting, something beyond chance and fortune? Are there others, in other times of the world, whom we should have loved, who would have loved us? Is there, perhaps, one soul among all others–among all who have lived, the endless generations, from world’s end to world’s end–who must love us or die? And whom we must love, in turn–whom we must seek all our lives long–headlong and homesick–until the end?”
“Art is a communication informing man of his own dignity, and of the value of his life, whether in joy or grief, whether in laughter or indignation, beauty or terror…Man needs the comfort of his own dignity…And that’s what the artist is for. To give him that comfort.”
“It seems to me that I have always wanted to say the same thing in my books: that life is one, that mystery is all around us, that yesterday, today and tomorrow are all spread out in the pattern of eternity, together, and that although love may wear many faces in the incomprehensible panorama of time, in the heart that loves, it is always the same.”

American Art – Part II of VI: Stan Sakai

Born 25 May 1953 – American cartoonist Stan Sakai, creator of the comic book series “Usagi Yojimbo.”



“In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton, English novelist, poet, playwright, and politician, who was born 25 May 1803.

Some quotes from Edward Bulwer-Lytton:

“A fool flatters himself, a wise man flatters the fool.”
“If you wish to be loved, show more of your faults than your virtues.”
“Anger ventilated often hurries towards forgiveness; anger concealed often hardens into revenge.”
“Love thou the rose, yet leave it on its stem.”
“A good heart is better than all the heads in the world.”
“The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.”
“There is nothing so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the application of a rough truth.”
“It is not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age of the heart.”
“Chance happens to all, but to turn chance to account is the gift of few.”
“When a person is down in the world, an ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching.”
“Remorse is the echo of a lost virtue.”
“What is past is past, there is a future left to all men, who have the virtue to repent and the energy to atone.”
“Genius does what it must, and talent does what it can.”
“Master books, but do not let them master you. Read to live, not live to read.”
“A reform is a correction of abuses; a revolution is a transfer of power.”
“There is no such thing as luck. It’s a fancy name for being always at our duty, and so sure to be ready when good time comes.”
“Truth makes on the ocean of nature no one track of light; every eye, looking on, finds its own.”
“We tell our triumphs to the crowds, but our own hearts are the sole confidants of our sorrows.”
“Art and science have their meeting point in method.”
“Be it jewel or toy, not the prize gives the joy, but the striving to win the prize.”
“The easiest person to deceive is one’s self.”
“The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man’s observation, not overturning it.”
“There is nothing certain in a man’s life but that he must lose it.”
“What ever our wandering our happiness will always be found within a narrow compass, and in the middle of the objects more immediately within our reach.”
“In science, read, by preference, the newest works; in literature, the oldest. The classic literature is always modern.”
“What mankind wants is not talent; it is purpose.”

Portuguese painter Clotilde Fava studied at the University of Fine Arts in Lisbon.



“To live! Without property, but what was that to me? Let them confiscate it – they were brigands anyway, confiscating was their business. They wouldn’t get much good out of mine, a few books and clothes – why, we didn’t even have a radio.” – Yevgenia Ginzburg, Russian writer, who died 25 May 1977.

Yevgenia Ginzburg was arrested during the Stalinist purges of 1937 and sent to the Gulag until her release in 1949. However, she was almost immediately arrested a second time and sent into exile until her rehabilitation in 1955. She tells the harrowing story of her trial, imprisonment, and exile in “Journey into the Whirlwind.”

Above – Ginzburg’s youthful identification photograph.
Below – Ginzburg in 1977; her memoir.

Died 25 May 1968 – Kees van Dongen, a Dutch Fauve painter.

Below – “Femme Fatale”; “The Sphinx”; “Woman with a Large Hat”; “In the Plaza”; “Tango of the Archangel”; “Tableau”; “Woman on the Sofa”; “A Dutch Dairy”; “End of the Road”; “ Self-Portrait as Neptune.”

From the Music Archives – Part I of III: The Isley Brothers

25 May 1962 – The Isley Brothers release “Twist and Shout.”

Died 25 May 1943 – Nils von Dardel, a Swedish post-Impressionist painter.

Below – “Young Man and Girl”; “Young Man in Black, Girl in White”; “Tora von Dardel” (the artist’s wife); “Bar”; “The Waterfall”; “Marthe”; “The Dying Dandy.”

From the Music Archives – Part II of III: Beverly Sills

“My voice had a long, nonstop career. It deserves to be put to bed with quiet and dignity, not yanked out every once in a while to see if it can still do what it used to do. It can’t.” – Beverly Sills, American operatic soprano, who was born 25 May 1929.

In addition to being a world-renowned soprano, Beverly Sills was a wonderful person, and here is one of her most generous performances:

Russian artist Michael Solovyev (born 1972) has many paintings in private collections in Russia, Canada, the United States, Poland, and Germany. He now lives and works in Montreal.

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who was born 25 May 1803.

Emerson’s thinking and writing frequently show the influence of his acquaintance with Asian spiritual traditions, as in the case of this poem:

“Brahma” (1856)

If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.

Far or forgot to me is near,
Shadow and sunlight are the same,
The vanished gods to me appear,
And one to me are shame and fame.

They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.

The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.

Here are two English translations of the passage from the “Bhagavad Gita” (2:19) that inspired “Brahma,” particularly the first stanza:

“He who thinks that the living entity is the slayer or that the entity is slain does not understand. One who is in knowledge knows that the self slays not nor is slain.”

“Anyone who thinks the soul is the slayer and anyone who thinks the soul is slain are both in ignorance; the soul never slays nor is slain.”

American Art – Part III of VI: Fongwei Liu

In the words of one writer, “Fongwei Liu received his BFA degree from the prestigious Fine Art Academy of Yunnan, China in 1994. After graduation, Fongwei chased various ventures but never touched his paint brush again until 2007 when he finally realized that art is his true passion, and returned to art school in the States. Fongwei received his MFA degree from Academy of Art University, San Francisco in 2009.
From 2010, he has worked at Academy of Art University as an art instructor.”

Pulitzer Prize: Theodore Roethke

“What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.” – Theodore Roethke, American poet, recipient of the 1954 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (for “The Waking”), and two-time recipient of the National Book Award for Poetry (in 1959 for “Words for the Wind” and in 1965 [posthumously] for “The Far Field”), who was born 25 May 1908.

“The Geranium”

When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail,
She looked so limp and bedraggled,
So foolish and trusting, like a sick poodle,
Or a wizened aster in late September,
I brought her back in again
For a new routine–
Vitamins, water, and whatever
Sustenance seemed sensible
At the time: she’d lived
So long on gin, bobbie pins, half-smoked cigars, dead beer,
Her shriveled petals falling
On the faded carpet, the stale
Steak grease stuck to her fuzzy leaves.
(Dried-out, she creaked like a tulip.)

The things she endured!–
The dumb dames shrieking half the night
Or the two of us, alone, both seedy,
Me breathing booze at her,
She leaning out of her pot toward the window.

Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me–
And that was scary–
So when that snuffling cretin of a maid
Threw her, pot and all, into the trash-can,
I said nothing.

But I sacked the presumptuous hag the next week,
I was that lonely.

American Art – Part IV of VI: Kerry Dunn

In the words of one writer, “Kerry was awarded a Certificate of Excellence in the Portrait Society of America’s 2009 competition. He earned an Exceptional Merit Award from the society in 2007. A Studio Incamminati instructor, Kerry received Best in Show at the Salmagundi Club’s 2009 annual Juried Painting and Sculpture Exhibition for Non-Members.”

From the Music Archives – Part III of III: George Harrison

25 May 1973 – George Harrison releases “Give Me Love” in the United Kingdom.

Here is the Artist Statement of French sculptor Marie-Helene Vallade: “I model clay figures. This sentence from La Tour du Pin sums up my artistic process: ‘Do you not have within you an immense world? Then be its cry.’
The key for me is to provide my characters a soul, so that they can inhabited. Each new sculpture is a new perilous adventure, according to my moods. I build my sculptures letting them empty, starting from the base, from the feet to the head. I use clay-coil or plates techniques , step by step according to the drying process, without any internal armature. I use large chamotte sandstone, and then finer for the details, from different colors, and finally earth-paper for clothes. Once the clay is dry or made “biscuit”, I apply oxide or engobe juices, like watercolor. I bake my sculptures in an electric oven, at 1230 degrees °C.”

American Art – Part V of VI: Jeanie Tomanek

In the words of one writer, “Jeanie Tomanek was born in 1949 in New York. She began painting full time in 2001 and now lives in Marietta, Georgia.”

A Poem for Today

By Molly Peacock

What if we got outside ourselves and there
really was an outside out there, not just
our insides turned inside out? What if there
really were a you beyond me, not just
the waves off my own fire, like those waves off
the backyard grill you can see the next yard through,
though not well — just enough to know that off
to the right belongs to someone else, not you.
What if, when we said I love you, there were
a you to love as there is a yard beyond
to walk past the grill and get to? To endure
the endless walk through the self, knowing through a bond
that has no basis (for ourselves are all we know)
is altruism: not giving, but coming to know
someone is there through the wavy vision
of the self’s heat, love become a decision.

American Art – Part VI of VI: Donna Cassaro-Hughes

In the words of one writer, “It is rare for painters to have the ability to switch from style and subject with equal talent, but Donna Cassaro- Hughes projects the fact that she is an accomplished artist by her masterful use of contrasting values.
In her landscape paintings, shafts of light penetrate the haunting darkness creating a feeling that hope and renewal, like the first signs of daybreak, will soon overtake the somberness of the scene.
With similar use of light and contrast, complemented by fresh color of the lips and clothing, her portraits capture more than a flattering ‘likeness’ to the sitter. They project an attitude with an edge, an unabashed sense of style and extreme self-confidence.
Donna received her BFA at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts and is a member of the Atlanta Portrait Society.”

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American Muse: Gina Myers



for J

In my life so much happens
that I would like to write about,
but then something else happens
& things are always happening.
You, my friend, are underground
& will always be there. I did not
help you, but you always helped me.
When I was an atheist, I believed
in people. Now as a nihilist, my grief
has no hope. And I could say
there is no reason to keep going,
but then I think of, I think of you.

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May Offerings – Part XXIV: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of III: Helena Nelson-Reed

In the words of one critic, artist Helena Nelson-Reed is a “Visionary painter (whose) primary focus is exploring the collective consciousness and the portrayal of archetypal imagery in the tradition of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell.”

British Art – Part I of VIII: Thomas Duncan

Died 25 May 1807 – Thomas Duncan, a Scottish portrait and historical painter.

Below – “The Waefu’ Heart”; “Salmon Leistering”; “Interior of a Cottage with Figures”; “Braan, a Celebrated Scottish Deerhound”; “Sculpture”; “The Friends – Child and Dog.”
(c) Paintings Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Perth & Kinross Council; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) William Morris Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) National Galleries of Scotland; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation


“If there be some who, though ignorant of all mathematics, dare to reprove this work, because of some passage of Scripture, which they have miserably warped to their purpose, I regard them not, and even despise their rash judgment.” – Nicholas Copernicus, Polish mathematician and astronomer who formulated a heliocentric model of the solar system, who died 24 May 1543.

British Art – Part II of VIII: Frederick Walker

Born 26 May 1840 – Frederick Walker, an English social realist painter.

Below – “The Vagrants”; “Old Letters”; “Mother with Baby and Nursemaid”; “The Bathers”; “The Old Gate.”
Tate; (c) Tate; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Walker Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) The Fitzwilliam Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Lady Lever Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Tate; (c) Tate; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

British Art – Part III of VIII: Ernest Albert Waterlow

Born 24 May 1850 – Ernest Albert Waterlow, an English artist and recipient of the Turner Medal for landscape painting.

Below – “The Harvest Moon”; “Sunset in the Wengen Alps, Switzerland”; “Across the Moor at Sunset”; “Mending the Nets, Newlyn, Cornwall”; “The Introduction”; “Galway Gossips.”

(c) Kirklees Museums and Galleries; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Tate; (c) Tate; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

“An ugly baby is a very nasty object, and the prettiest is frightful when undressed.” – Alexandrina Victoria, later Queen Victoria, Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until 22 January 1901, who was born 24 May 1819.
While there are many reasons to recommend a careful study of the scientific, social, and political revolutions that took place during Victoria’s long reign, I ask readers to ponder the fact that during this era British writers produced what is perhaps the greatest body of fiction in the history of the English language. Consider the work of such Victorian luminaries as Tennyson, Browning, Arnold, Hopkins, the Bronte sisters, Dickens, Eliot, Housman, Hardy, Kipling, Conrad, Meredith, Trollope, Shaw, Yeats, and Wilde, among many others.

British Art – Part IV of VIII: Samuel Palmer

Died 24 May 1881 – Samuel Palmer, a British landscape painter, etcher, and printmaker.

Below – “Oak Trees in Lullingstone Park”; “Garden in Shoreham”; “A Cornfield by Moonlight with the Evening Star”; “A Dream in the Apennine”; “The Gleaning Field”; “Pastoral Scene.”
Tate; (c) Tate; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

British Art – Part V of VIII: Harry Epworth Allen

In the words of one writer, “Harry Epworth Allen (1894 – 1958) was one of the twentieth century’s most distinctive interpreters of landscape.”
Harry Epworth Allen
Harry Epworth Allen
Harry Epworth Allen
Harry Epworth Allen
Harry Epworth Allen
Harry Epworth Allen
Harry Epworth Allen

“Justice is not to be taken by storm. She is to be wooed by slow advances.” – Benjamin Cardozo, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1932-1938), who was born 24 May 1938.Benjamin Cardozo is remembered for his influence on the development of American common law, his elegant prose style, and his modesty.

Some quotes from Benjamin Cardozo:

“Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”
“Law never is, but is always about to be.”
“Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions.”
“Method is much, technique is much, but inspiration is even more.”
“Prophecy, however honest, is generally a poor substitute for experience.”
“The great generalities of the constitution have a content and a significance that vary from age to age.”
“In truth, I am nothing but a plodding mediocrity — please observe, a plodding mediocrity — for a mere mediocrity does not go very far, but a plodding one gets quite a distance. There is joy in that success, and a distinction can come from courage, fidelity and industry.”

British Art – Part VI of VIII: Graham Arnold

Born 24 May 1932 – Graham Arnold, a British painter.

Below – “The Dream Child”; “Ophelia”; “Lift Not the Painted Veil”; “White Horse, Alton, Hampshire”; “Where Is the Key, the Symbol, the Power?”; “Chapel Lawn Venus.”
(c) Graham Arnold; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Graham Arnold; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
(c) Graham Arnold; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

British Art – Part VII of VIII: Colin Fraser

In the words of one writer, “Colin Fraser was born in Glasgow in 1956, studied art in Brighton in his twenties and now lives and paints in Sweden. Any painter is in love with light, but northern painters often savour the muted sunshine of dawns and dusks. That’s Fraser in a nutshell: understated but hungry and grateful for the brightness of the day. This is painting in the much-loved tradition of nineteenth century Scandinavian art.”


British Art – Part VIII of VIII: H. R. Bell

In the words of one writer, “Born 1976 in Berkshire, H R Bell graduated from the Courtauld Institute of Art with a First Class Honours Degree in the History of Art. After graduating she studied Fine Art at the Surikov Institute, Moscow and the Repin Academy of Fine Arts, St Petersburg.”

Nobel Laureate – Part I of II: Mikhail Sholokhov

“In this winter night, long and ample for bitter memories, many a widow who lost her husband in the war and is now left alone will press her palms to her ageing face; and in the nocturnal darkness the burning tears, as bitter as wormwood, will scorch her fingers.” – Mikhail Sholokhov, Russian novelist, author of “And Quiet Flows the Don,” and recipient of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the artistic power and integrity with which, in his epic of the Don, he has given expression to a historic phase in the life of the Russian people,” who was born 24 May 1905.

Some quotes from the work of Nobel Laureate Mikhail Sholokhov:

“And over the village slipped the days, passing into the nights; the weeks flowed by, the months crept on, the wind howled, and, glassified with an autumnal, translucent, greenish-azure, the Don flowed tranquilly down to the sea.”
“When swept out of its normal channel, life scatters into innumerable streams. It is difficult to foresee which it will take in its treacherous and winding course. Where today it flows in shallows, like a rivulet over sandbanks, so shallow that the shoals are visible, to-morrow it will flow richly and fully.”
“Sometimes life played with him, sometimes it hung on him like a stone round the neck of a drowned man.”
“The grass grows over the graves, time overgrows the pain. The wind blew away the traces of those who had departed; time blows away the bloody pain and the memory of those who did not live to see their dear ones again—and will not live, for brief is human life, and not for long is any of us granted to tread the grass.”


Born 24 May 1830 – Alexei Savrasov, a Russian landscape painter.

Below – “The Rooks Have Come Back”; “Winter Night”; “Early Spring, Thaw”; “Sundown Over the Marsh”; “Evening: Migration of Birds”; “Landscape with Rainbow.”

Born 24 May 1933 – Joaquín Vaquero Turcios, a Spanish painter and sculptor.

Below – “Monument to the Discovery of America”; “Northeast”; “Bull”; “Sculptural”; “Neon.”

Here is the Artist Statement of Australian painter Rhonda Goodall-Kirk: “My Love affair is with Oils and canvas, the way the oil paints move across the canvas and the smell that fills the room. The passion I have for painting is insatiable it oozes from my flesh. I am a thematic painter, the telling of the story through pictures is very important. I paint humanity at it’s most vulnerable, attempting to capture, on each canvas, one pure moment of emotion before all is clouded by numerous added emotions to confuse us.”

Nobel Laureate – Part II of II: Joseph Brodsky

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” – Joseph Brodsky, Russian poet, essayist, and recipient of the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature “for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity,” who was born 24 May 1940.

“Stone Villages”

The stone-built villages of England.

A cathedral bottled in a pub window.

Cows dispersed across fields.

Monuments to kings.

A man in a moth-eaten suit

sees a train off heading like everything here

for the sea

smiles at his daughter leaving for the East.

A whistle blows.

And the endless sky over the tiles

grows bluer as swelling birdsong fills.

And the clearer the song is heard 

the smaller the bird.

Nicaraguan painter Roberto Diaz Garcia (born 1953) graduated from the National School of Fine Arts in Managua.

In the words of one writer, “Iranian artist Hosssein Ahmadi Nasab was born in Minab. He started both theater and painting in the city.”


From the Music Archives: Bob Dylan

Born 24 May 1941 – Bob Dylan, an American singer and songwriter.

According to one writer, “Herman Tulp was born in Zwolle in 1955 and completed his training at Academie Minerva, the academy of art in Groningen, in 1980.”


From the American Old West: John Riley Banister

Born 24 May 1854 – John Riley Banister, American law officer and cowboy. While Banister did not garner the same reputation as some of his more famous contemporaries, such as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Wild Bill Hickok, and Bat Masterson, he nonetheless had an illustrious career as a Texas Ranger, railroad detective, cattle inspector, and sheriff during the frontier era of the American West.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Chinese painter Hu Jundi (born 1962): ”His work is different from the oil paintings that we often see. His brilliance is in the harmonious blend of traditional Chinese brushwork with the unmatched depth of oils. His paintings are completely Chinese, with colors of the Sichuan environment. They are harmonious with incomplete borders. So when we first see these paintings, we feel the combination of the light, color and flow of the East, but the oils give them a more universal, lasting appeal. Hu is one of the first and very few Chinese painters that are able to brilliantly meld the two cultures together with complete integrity. Hu’s work is full of dense Chinese colors — the lush atmosphere and Sichuan’s warm moisture are floating in the paintings — and this hooks the audience instantly to his canvas melodies.”

A Poem for Today

By Gina Myers

for J

In my life so much happens
that I would like to write about,
but then something else happens
& things are always happening.
You, my friend, are underground
& will always be there. I did not
help you, but you always helped me.
When I was an atheist, I believed
in people. Now as a nihilist, my grief
has no hope. And I could say
there is no reason to keep going,
but then I think of, I think of you.

American Art – Part II of III: Todd M. Casey

Painter Todd M. Casey studies at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, The Illustration Academy in Sarasota, Florida, The Hudson River School For Landscape in New York, and the Water Street Atelier in New York. He lives, works, and teaches in New York City.
Todd M Casey
Todd M Casey
Todd M Casey
Todd M Casey

A Second Poem for Today

By Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

American Art – Part III of III: Cody Erickson

In the words of one writer, “Cody Erickson is a contemporary painter who graduated with a BFA from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, MI. For Cody, creating paintings with subjects ranging from landscape to portrait, ‘just feels natural.’ Continually inspired by masters from the past and present, he strives to generate work that captures his subjects in a way in which illuminates their inherent beauty and continues the rich qualities of the painting traditions.”

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American Muse: Jane Kenyon



I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

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May Offerings – Part XXIII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of V: Robert Coombs

Artist Robert Coombs (born 1971) is best known for painting portraits of women.

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” – Margaret Fuller, American journalist, critic, and women’s rights advocate, who was born on 23 May 1810.

The brilliant Margaret Fuller had a great-nephew whose career appears to have been guided by her wise example. Here is a typically thought-provoking quote from R. Buckminster Fuller: “It is essential to release humanity from the false fixations of yesterday, which seem now to bind it to a rationale of action leading only to extinction.” Great aunt Margaret would have been proud.


American Art – Part II of V: David Smith

“To me, apples are fruit—to Cezanne they were mountains!” – David Smith, American Abstract Expressionist sculptor and painter, who died 23 May 1963.

Below – “CUBI VI”; “CUBI XII”; “Ancient Household.”


From the Canadian History Archives – Part I of II: The Northwest Mounted Police

23 May 1873 – Canada’s Northwest Mounted Police Force is formed, and the world immediately became a better, safer, and funnier place.

From the Canadian History Archives – Part II of II: The Transcontinental Railroad

23 May 1887 – Canada’s first transcontinental train arrives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Of course, every railroad occasionally experiences unexpected delays.

British Art – Part I of III: Jonathan Yeo

In the words of one writer, “Jonathan Yeo (b 1970) is a British artist specialising in portraiture and collage. He is represented by Eleven in London and Lazarides worldwide. He didn’t go to art school but took up painting while recovering from Hodgkins Disease in his early 20s. He became known as a contemporary portraitist in the late 1990s, exhibiting frequently at the National Portrait Gallery.”

Picture 192

Nobel Laureate: Par Lagerkvist

“It is incomprehensible that he should want to have these futile people here, and still more incomprehensible that he should be able to sit and listen to them and their stupid chatter. I can understand that he may occasionally listen to poets reciting their verses; they can be regarded as buffoons such as are always kept at court. They laud the lofty purity of the human soul, great events and heroic feats, and there is nothing to be said against all that, particularly if their songs flatter him. Human beings need flattery; otherwise they do not fulfill their purpose, not even in their own eyes. And both the present and the past contain much that is beautiful and noble which, without due praise, would have been neither noble nor beautiful. Above all, they sing the praises of love, which is quite as it should be, for nothing else is in such need of transformation into something different. The ladies are filled with melancholy and their breasts heave with sighs; the men gaze vaguely and dreamily into space, for they all know what it is really like and realize that this must be an especially beautiful poem.” ― From “The Dwarf,” by Par Lagerkvist, Swedish writer, author of “The Sibyl,” and recipient of the 1951 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavours in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind,” who was born 23 May 1891.

Some quotes from the work of Nobel Laureate Par Lagerkvist:

“Nothing is more foreign than the world of one’s childhood when one has truly left it.”
“Bitter, too, to be forced to acknowledge in one’s heart how little love has to do with kindness.”
“No, the man said, looking past him with his empty gaze, the realm of the dead isn’t anything. But to those who have been there, nothing else is anything either.”
“And they are deformed though it does not show on the outside. I live only my dwarf life. I never go around tall and smooth-featured. I am ever myself, always the same, I live one life alone. I have no other being inside me. And I recognize everything within me, nothing ever comes up from my inner depths, nothing there is shrouded in mystery. Therefore I do not fear the things which frighten them, the incoherent, the unknown, the mysterious. Such things do not exist for me. There is nothing ‘different’ about me.”

British Art – Part II of III: Alain Choisnet

Here is how British sculptor Alain Choisnet (born 1962) describes his artistic career: “I was born in Britain at the foot of the magnificent castle of Ferns, but it was in a Paris suburb that I grew up. Philosophical studies gave me a solid understanding of the human being. This knowledge helped me tremendously to assert myself as an artist. It is enough to seize a gesture, an emotion, then to set them while preserving the sincerity of moment and the fluidity of the movement.”

From the Music Archives: Iron Butterfly

23 May 1971 – The rock group Iron Butterfly disbands. Psychotropic drug use in the United States immediately drops by 50%.

British Art – Part III of III: Van Renselar

In the words of one writer, “Abstract artist Van Renselar has travelled extensively. He grew up in South Wales, moving to London in his teens, where he now lives and works. After committing himself fully to abstract painting 10 years ago he has rapidly become one of the most original of the emerging contemporary artists in the UK.”


Born 23 May 1710 – Francois-Gaspard Adam, a French rococo sculptor.

Below – “Minerva”; “Flora with Zephyr”; “Apollo.”

“I find nothing more depressing than optimism.” – Paul Fussell, American cultural and literary historian, university professor, and author of “The Great War and Modern Memory” (which won the National Book Award for Arts and Letters, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award of Phi Beta Kappa), “Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War,” and “Abroad: British Literary Travelling Between the Wars,” who died 23 May 2012.

Some quotes from the work of Paul Fussell:

“Americans are the only people in the world known to me whose status anxiety prompts them to advertise their college and university affiliations in the rear window of their automobiles.”
“Every war is ironic because every war is worse than expected. Every war constitutes an irony of situation because its means are so melodramatically disproportionate to its presumed ends.”
“If truth is the main casualty in war, ambiguity is another.”
“Wars damage the civilian society as much as they damage the enemy. Soldiers never get over it.”
“When … asked what I am writing, I have answered, ‘A book about social class in America,’ … It is if I had said, ‘I am working on a book urging the beating to death of baby whales using the dead bodies of baby seals.’”
“If I didn’t have writing, I’d be running down the street hurling grenades in people’s faces.”
“The day after the British entered the war Henry James wrote a friend: ‘The plunge of civilization into this abyss of blood and darkness… is a thing that so gives away the whole long age during which we have supposed the world to be, with whatever abatement, gradually bettering, that to have to take it all now for what the treacherous years were all the while really making for and meaning is too tragic for any words.’”
“So many bright futures consigned to the ashes of the past. So many dreams lost in the madness that had engulfed us. Except for a few widely scattered shouts of joy, the survivors of the abyss sat hollow-eyed and silent, trying to comprehend a world without war.”
“Today the Somme is a peaceful but sullen place, unforgetting and unforgiving. … To wander now over the fields destined to extrude their rusty metal fragments for centuries is to appreciate in the most intimate way the permanent reverberations of July, 1916. When the air is damp you can smell rusted iron everywhere, even though you see only wheat and barley.”

Turkish artist Mustafa Ozbakir (born 1982) has won multiple awards for his paintings.


From the American Old West: Kit Carson

Died 23 May 1868 – Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson, an American frontiersman. In the words of one historian, “The few paying jobs he had during his lifetime included mountain man (fur trapper), wilderness guide, Indian agent, and American Army officer. Carson became a frontier legend in his own lifetime via biographies and news articles. Exaggerated versions of his exploits were the subject of dime novels.”

Above – Kit Carson, circa 1860.
Below – Kit Carson on a visit to Washington, D. C. in 1868.

Mexican painter Carlos Vargas Pons was born in Guadalajara in 1968.

“The poet’s job is to put into words those feelings we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so difficult to name, to tell the truth in such a beautiful way, that people cannot live without it.” – Jane Kenyon, American poet, who was born 32 May 1947.

“Alone for a Week”

I washed a load of clothes
and hung them out to dry.
Then I went up to town
and busied myself all day.
The sleeve of your best shirt
rose ceremonious
when I drove in; our night-
clothes twined and untwined in
a little gust of wind.

For me it was getting late;
for you, where you were, not.
The harvest moon was full
but sparse clouds made its light
not quite reliable.
The bed on your side seemed
as wide and flat as Kansas;
your pillow plump, cool,
and allegorical. . . .


Croatian painter Izvor Pende (born 1968) lives and works in Dusseldorf.

“Those who can’t find anything to live for,
always invent something to die for.
Then they want the rest of us to
die for it, too.” – Lew Welch, American poet associated with the Beat generation, who died 23 May 1971.

Some quotes and three poems from the work of Lew Welch:

The Quotes:

“We invent ourselves out of ingredients we didn’t choose, by a process we can’t control.”
“Living is made up of these little things – a day to day business punctuated with things seen, seen best when we weren’t looking for them, or things that just happened to us while we were walking “dully along” and that we ought to notice these things. It is very easy to bandage the eyes and tell everyone that life is dull. But I am called odd by these people because I really don’t think so. I try to make the day have a THING in it, and it usually does whether I try or not. And that makes the day. Period. But I am purposeless.
I am talking of this far too seriously, but it rather hurts when I think that I was once very vulnerable to the charges that come my way. I have tried so damned hard to put a thing as simply as it appeared to me, and tried too damned hard not to let myself blow up a simple happening into a symbol of unrequited love but to leave it as it is. shit.”
“Christ, will I ever find someone who is not crying inside?”
“I am a Beginner. What the others are I don’t really know. All I know is I am wiped out every six months or so. I die. I have died hundreds and hundreds of times. It is always the same death. I do not know what dies. Why must I always begin again and again – always the same high hopes, the identical death?”
“You can’t fix it. You can’t make it go away. I don’t know what you’re going to do about it, but I know what I’m going to do about it. I’m just going to walk away from it. Maybe a small part of it will die if I’m not around feeding it anymore.”

The Poems:

“Not yet 40, my beard is already white”

Not yet 40, my beard is already white.

Not yet awake, my eyes are puffy and red,

like a child who has cried too much.

What is more disagreeable

than last night’s wine?

I’ll shave.

I’ll stick my head in the cold spring and

look around at the pebbles.

Maybe I can eat a can of peaches.

Then I can finish the rest of the wine,

write poems ’til I’m drunk again,

and when the afternoon breeze comes up

I’ll sleep until I see the moon

and the dark trees

and the nibbling deer

and hear

the quarreling coons

“The Image, as in a Hexagram”

The image, as in a Hexagram:

The hermit locks his door against the blizzard.

He keeps the cabin warm.

All winter long he sorts out all he has.

What was well started shall be finished.

What was not, should be thrown away.

In spring he emerges with one garment

and a single book.

The cabin is very clean.

Except for that, you’d never guess

anyone lived there.

“I Saw Myself”

I saw myself

a ring of bone

in the clear stream

of all of it

and vowed

always to be open to it

that all of it

might flow through

and then heard

“ring of bone” where

ring is what a

bell does

American Art – Part III of V: Claudia Olivos

Artist Statement: “I am an artist who is perpetually engaged in the creation of a seemingly ethereal novel….: my life lived among others with the help of H/She who created me in love while simultaneously condemning me by imbedding within me the soul of an artist (as Jung stated:‘the artist is a blessing unto others-a curse unto himself’).”

A Poem for Today

“Philosophy and the Sunday Funnies,”
By Rachel Sherwood

The perfect satisfaction
of wine, cigarettes, the sun
at an afternoon angle
passes through flesh
as if flesh were a sieve
to the direct point
the soul of matter.

Things fix time
although the sun moves
lazily, creating an image
that seems like motive
the wine transmutes
and becomes blood
cigarettes dissolve
to blue threads and ash
but the sun continues
in constant repetition
of its slow and rather boring dance.

American Art – Part IV of V: Eric Pedersen

In the words of one writer, “Eric Pedersen was born in the Detroit metro area of Michigan in 1981. Twenty- three years later he moved to Los Angeles where he currently lives and works. Eric has studied at various institutions primarily focusing on the visual arts, in 2009 he graduated from the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art where he continues to teach.”

A Second Poem for Today

By Jonathan Galassi

The backyard apple tree gets sad so soon,
takes on a used-up, feather-duster look
within a week.

The ivy’s spring reconnaissance campaign
sends red feelers out and up and down
to find the sun.

Ivy from last summer clogs the pool,
brewing a loamy, wormy, tea-leaf mulch
soft to the touch

and rank with interface of rut and rot.
The month after the month they say is cruel
is and is not.

American Art – Part V of V: Lyndall Bass

In the words of one writer, “Lyndall Bass began studying art at age eleven with private teachers, eventually gaining admission to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Her work is a reflection of classical traditions, focused on visionary modern interpretations in the mediums of oil paint and graphite pencil.”

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American Muse: T. R. Hummer


“Whitman’s Pantry”

Dried beans in a muslin sack, tied shut with greasy string.
An ounce of ginger root to brew digestif,
Procured on physician’s advice from an “Oriental” grocer
at remarkable expense, desiccated now almost
Past recognition. Half a pound of sowbelly wrapped
in cheesecloth. Hard cheese. A licorice twist.
A box of sugar cubes to meliorate bitter tea—with these
you could construct a model of the odd granite tomb
He insisted on for his own final habitation.
There in his beloved Camden he rests in a blank box.
You may count there twelve thoracic vertebrae,
two lunate bones, two trapeziums, a coccyx,
And all the rest, to the final mystic number two hundred and six.
His book is a homemade Bible. His tomb is a homemade Blake.
Here is the skull-cup that held the brain his doctors lifted.
He was the catalog of his perfect body. In love with health,
He ate grim food. Behold his ounce of flour, cut with weevils.
Behold his dried orange peel, studded with a sorry clove.
This pantry is a compost now. It is small; it contains millipedes.
The bottom shelf reveals this lunar dust, a Kosmos in it
Writ in groceries. “Here,” as he never said. I hold it toward you.


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May Offerings – Part XXII: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of VI: Mary Cassatt

“I doubt if you know the effort it is to paint! The concentration it requires, to compose your picture, the difficulty of posing the models, of choosing the color scheme, of expressing the sentiment and telling your story! The trying and trying again and again and oh, the failures, when you have to begin all over again! The long months spent in effort upon effort, making sketch after sketch. Oh, my dear! No one but those who have painted a picture know what it costs in time and strength!” – Mary Cassatt, American painter and printmaker, who was born 22 May 1844.

Below – “Self-Portrait”; “The Boating Party”; “Cup of Tea”; “Summertime”; “Lydia Leaning on Her Arms”; “Young Woman in Green, Outdoors in the Sun.”

“To me art is a form of manifest revolt, total and complete.” – Jean Tinguely, Swiss painter and sculptor best known for his kinetic art satirizing the mindless overproduction of material goods in advanced industrial society, who was born 22 May 1925.

Below – “Meta Harmony IV – Fatamorgana”; “”Heureka”; “Baluba III.”

“To err is human; to loaf, Parisian.” – Victor Hugo, French poet, novelist, dramatist, and author of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Les Miserables,” who died 22 May 1885.

Some quotes from Victor Hugo:

“To love beauty is to see light.”
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”
“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”
“Intelligence is the wife, imagination is the mistress, memory is the servant.”
“All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.”
“The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring.”
“Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.”
“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.”
“Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters.”
“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”
“Fashions have done more harm than revolutions.”
“When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.”
“When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.”
“An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.”

Born 22 May 1911 – Minoru Kawabata, a Japanese artist.

American Art – Part II of VI: Sal Villagran

Painter Sal Villagran has earned a BFA from the Laguna College of Art and Design and an MFA from the New York Academy of Fine Art.


“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” – Sherlock Holmes in “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish writer, who was born 22 May 1859.

While Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was sometimes far too gullible – he was a devotee of Spiritualism, for example, and he fell for the ridiculous Cottingley fairies hoax perpetrated by two young girls – Sherlock Holmes remains both a beacon of reason in a frequently irrational world and the greatest amateur consulting detective in literary history.

Some quotes from Sherlock Holmes:

“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.”
“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.”
“I’m not a psychopath, I’m a fully functioning sociopath. Do your research.”
“Don’t talk, Anderson. You lower the IQ of the entire street every time you open your mouth.”
“It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but that you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.”
“The game is afoot.”

American Art – Part III of VI: Katy Unger

In the words of one writer, “Katy Unger was born in 1981 in Boulder, Colorado. She received her BFA from the Pacific NW College of Art in Portland, Oregon in 2003 and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Her work is celebrated for her representational use of acrylics to capture the depth of light and skin.”

Here is how one critic describes the artistry of Spanish painter Jose Royo (born 1941): “The sweeping brush strokes, bold swaths of color, and heavy impasto capture the eye and draws one inward until that final absolute moment of awareness that one is actually there in the scene feeling the light and heat of the sun, the salt and sea spray, and hearing the crashing surf. Royo conveys not merely image, but mood and atmosphere as well.”


“There is still a difference between something and nothing, but it is purely geometrical and there is nothing behind the geometry.” – Martin Gardner, American mathematician, science writer, stage magician, and author of “Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus” and “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science” (1952), about which one critic has written, “Modern skepticism has developed into a science-based movement, beginning with Martin Gardner’s 1952 classic,” who died 22 May 2010.

Martin Gardner was a man of wide-ranging interests who devoted much of his career to debunking pseudoscience. One of his successors in this worthy endeavor is Robert L. Park, whose “Voodoo Science: The Road From Foolishness To Fraud” exposes the fallacies behind such things as magnet therapy, “free energy” machines, Deepak Chopra’s “quantum alternative to growing old,” cold fusion, and homeopathy. In the words of one reviewer, “Scientists, (Park) observes, insist that the cure for voodoo science is to raise the general scientific literacy. But what is it that a scientifically literate society should know? It is not specific knowledge of science the public needs, Park argues, so much as a scientific world view–an understanding that we live in an orderly universe governed by natural laws that cannot be circumvented by magic or miracles.” Another of Gardner’s intellectual heirs is Michael Shermer, whose “Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time” is required reading for individuals who are skeptical about received opinion and conventional wisdom. Please obtain the second edition of this edifying book, because in it Shermer devotes a chapter to addressing an intriguing puzzle: “Why Smart People Believe Weird Things.” In short, smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.

A few quotes from Martin Gardner:

“A god whose creation is so imperfect that he must be continually adjusting it to make it work properly seems to me a god of relatively low order, hardly worthy of any worship.”
“If God creates a world of particles and waves, dancing in obedience to mathematical and physical laws, who are we to say that he cannot make use of those laws to cover the surface of a small planet with living creatures?”
“Her constant orders for beheading are shocking to those modern critics of children’s literature who feel that juvenile fiction should be free of all violence and especially violence with Freudian undertones. Even the Oz books of L. Frank Baum, so singularly free of the horrors to be found in Grimm and Andersen, contain many scenes of decapitation. As far as I know, there have been no empirical studies of how children react to such scenes and what harm if any is done to their psyche. My guess is that the normal child finds it all very amusing and is not damaged in the least, but that books like ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ should not be allowed to circulate indiscriminately among adults who are undergoing analysis.”

In the words of one writer, Natasha Milashevich “was born in 1967 in Dushanbe in the former Soviet Union. She started her studies locally, graduating from the Art College of Dushanbe in 1989.
She continued her studies in St. Petersburg in the studio of the renowned artist Vasili V. Sokolov at the Repin Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture—widely considered the finest art academy in Russia—from which she graduated in 1995. Since that time, she has been a member of the Russian Fine Artist’s Association. Her work has been included in more than 30 exhibitions in Russia, Finland, Holland, France, Chile and Kazakhstan.”


Polish artist Andrzej Malinowski (born 1947) is a painter, art director, and illustrator.”

From the American History Archives: Lassen Peak

22 May 1915 – Lassen Peak in Northern California erupts, and it is the only mountain other than Mount St. Helens to erupt in the contiguous United States in the 20th century.

Above: The “Great Explosion” eruption column of 22 May 1915 was seen as far as 150 miles away (photograph by R.E. Stinson).
Below – Lassen Peak today, with devastated area from cinder cone.

Chinese painter Guorun Wen (born 1955) is a graduate of the Shanghai Theater Academy (1982) with a degree in stage design.

“Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.” – Joseph Wood Krutch, American writer, critic, naturalist, and author of “The Desert Year,” who died 22 May 1970.

“The Desert Year,” which won the Burroughs Award, is sometimes referred to as “The Cactus Walden” – and for good reasons. Like Thoreau, Krutch had a keen eye for observing seasonal transformations in the natural world and an elegant style with which to describe them.

Some quotes from Joseph Wood Krutch:

“If people destroy something replaceable made by mankind, they are called vandals; if they destroy something irreplaceable made by God, they are called developers.”
“When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal. When he destroys one of the works of god we call him a sportsman.”
“It is not ignorance but knowledge which is the mother of wonder.”
“If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either.”
“Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude.
“The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only.”
“Any euphemism ceases to be euphemistic after a time and the true meaning begins to show through. It’s a losing game, but we keep on trying.”
“It is sometimes easier to head an institute for the study of child guidance than it is to turn one brat into a decent human being.
“Both the cockroach and the bird would get along very well without us, although the cockroach would miss us most.”
“Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.”
“Few people have ever seriously wished to be exclusively rational. The good life which most desire is a life warmed by passions and touched with that ceremonial grace which is impossible without some affectionate loyalty to traditional form and ceremonies.”
“Only those within whose own consciousness the sun rise and set, the leaves burgeon and wither, can be said to be aware of what living is.”
“Security depends not so much upon how much you have, as upon how much you can do without.”
“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.”
“There is no such thing as a dangerous woman; there are only susceptible men.”
“Though many have tried, no one has ever yet explained away the decisive fact that science, which can do so much, cannot decide what it ought to do.”
“What a man knows is everywhere at war with what he wants.”
“As machines get to be more and more like men, men will come to be more like machines. ”
“For a real glimpse into an almost vanished world, one should look…at a scorpion who so obviously has no business lingering into the twentieth century. He is not shaped like a spider and he has too many legs to be an insect. Plainly, he is a discontinued model–still running but very difficult, one imagines, to get spare parts for.” “The world of poetry, mythology, and religion represents the world as a man would like to have it, while science represents the world as he gradually comes to discover it.”
“The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit.”

American Art – Part IV of VI: Jaxon Northon

In the words of one writer, “Jaxon Northon is a self-taught oil painter specializing in realistic portraiture. As a full-time artist, he has exhibited his work between San Francisco, California and his hometown of Reno, Nevada. Jaxon’s portraits present women who seem to be growing out of their surroundings. His representational works confront the viewer with a realistic subject interacting with elements of unreality.”

A Poem for Today

“Whitman’s Pantry,”
by T.R. Hummer

Dried beans in a muslin sack, tied shut with greasy string.
An ounce of ginger root to brew digestif,
Procured on physician’s advice from an “Oriental” grocer
at remarkable expense, desiccated now almost
Past recognition. Half a pound of sowbelly wrapped
in cheesecloth. Hard cheese. A licorice twist.
A box of sugar cubes to meliorate bitter tea—with these
you could construct a model of the odd granite tomb
He insisted on for his own final habitation.
There in his beloved Camden he rests in a blank box.
You may count there twelve thoracic vertebrae,
two lunate bones, two trapeziums, a coccyx,
And all the rest, to the final mystic number two hundred and six.
His book is a homemade Bible. His tomb is a homemade Blake.
Here is the skull-cup that held the brain his doctors lifted.
He was the catalog of his perfect body. In love with health,
He ate grim food. Behold his ounce of flour, cut with weevils.
Behold his dried orange peel, studded with a sorry clove.
This pantry is a compost now. It is small; it contains millipedes.
The bottom shelf reveals this lunar dust, a Kosmos in it
Writ in groceries. “Here,” as he never said. I hold it toward you.

American Art – Part V of VI: Martha Mayer Erlebacher

In the words of one writer, “Martha Mayer received her MFA from Pratt Institute in 1963. Since her graduation, she has become a major figure in contemporary representational art.
As a leading American Realist painter, Erlebacher has shown extensively in many principal galleries in New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia throughout the past four decades. She has also been included in numerous museum exhibitions across the nation, surveying such subjects as figurative art, American women artists, and the Philadelphia art scene. In addition to being included in many prestigious private collections, her work is also featured in over a dozen national museums, including such institutions as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Cleveland Museum of Art, among others.”


A Second Poem for Today

“After Ikkyu #23,”
By Jim Harrison

It certainly wasn’t fish who discovered water
or birds the air. Men built houses in part
out of embarrassment by the stars
and raised their children on trivialities
because they had butchered the god within themselves.
The politician standing on the church steps thrives
within the grandeur of this stupidity,
a burnt out lamp who never imagined the sun.
Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum

American Art – Part VI of VI: John Nieto

Artist Statement: “I paint native American themes so I can step back in time and shine some light on those people – that culture. Through my artwork, I hope to show their humanity and their dignity.”

Below – “Wolf Tag with Red-Tailed Hawk”; “Coyote in Tune with the Cosmos”; “Petition for Wakan Tanka”; “Buffalo with Blue Horn”; “Trickster Coyote”; “Chaparral (Roadrunner)”; “Man Who Packs Eagle Visits Matisse”; “Coyote in Monument Valley”; “Portrait of a Young Coyote”; “Pony Express”; “Medicine Man”; “Chief Red Cloud.”

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American Muse: Stephen Crane


“A Man Said to the Universe”

A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”

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May Offerings – Part XXI: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

American Art – Part I of V: Charmaine Olivia

Artist Statement: “I’m an artist. I spend the majority of my days continually teaching myself how to paint and draw. I am extremely curious and passionate about life, beautiful things, and creativity.”

“The world is so disgracefully managed, one hardly knows to whom to complain.” – Ronald Firbank, British novelist, who died 21 May 1926, expressing an opinion that all thoughtful people at least occasionally entertain.

American Art – Part II of V: James Rieck

Painter James Rieck has earned both a BFA and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

American Art – Part III of V: Hamid Zavareei

In the words of one writer, “Zavareei received his BS degree from the West Virginia Institute of Technology, but later switched from computer programming to full-time art and took residency in the Lantern of the East Art Camp. His work has been shown at numerous galleries including William Traver Gallery, WA and the Seattle Art Museum Rental/Sales Gallery, and he has participated in many faculty art shows at Gage, including the 2006 Convention Center exhibition. He is currently represented by the Linda Warren Gallery in Chicago. He also teaches painting and drawing classes at the Kirkland Arts Center.”

Nobel Peace Prize – Part I of II: Jane Addams

“The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself.” – Jane Addams, pioneer settlement worker, founder of Hull House in Chicago, public philosopher, sociologist, author, leader in the causes of women’s suffrage and world peace, and recipient of the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize, who died 21 May 1935.

Some quotes from Nobel Laureate Jane Addams:

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”
“Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.”
“Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men.”
“Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.”
“Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics.”

British Art – Part I of II: Laurence Kell

Here is the Artist Statement of British painter Laurence Kell: “My interest in painting portraits became the main focus in 2003, while I was helping to run the family business. We ran a Georgian hotel/ restaurant located on the wild north coast of Cornwall. I painted in my room and used the hotel as a gallery for my work. One of these paintings was a portrait of the chef which was exhibited at the BP Portrait awards at the National Portrait Gallery.
Since then I have exhibited regularly with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters at the Mall Galleries and have been commissioned by London Business School and Bristol University as well as painting numerous private portraits.
Earlier this year I relocated to Bristol with my wife and baby.”

Laurence Kell


Nobel Peace Prize – Part II of II: Andrei Sakharov

“Thousands of years ago tribes of human beings suffered great privations in the struggle to survive. In this struggle it was important not only to be able to handle a club, but also to possess the ability to think reasonably, to take care of the knowledge and experience garnered by the tribe, and to develop the links that would provide cooperation with other tribes. Today the entire human race is faced with a similar test. In infinite space many civilizations are bound to exist, among them civilizations that are also wiser and more “successful” than ours. I support the cosmological hypothesis which states that the development of the universe is repeated in its basic features an infinite number of times. In accordance with this, other civilizations, including more “successful” ones, should exist an infinite number of times on the “preceding” and the “following” pages of the Book of the Universe. Yet this should not minimize our sacred endeavors in this world of ours, where, like faint glimmers of light in the dark, we have emerged for a moment from the nothingness of dark unconsciousness of material existence. We must make good the demands of reason and create a life worthy of ourselves and of the goals we only dimly perceive.” – Andrei Sakharov, Russian nuclear physicist, political dissident, human rights activist, and recipient of the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize, who was born 21 May 1921.

Some quotes from Nobel Laureate Andrei Sakharov:

“Both now and for always, I intend to hold fast to my belief in the hidden strength of the human spirit.”
“For me, the moral difficulties lie in the continual pressure brought to bear on my friends and immediate family, pressure which is not directed against me personally but which at the same time is all around me.”
“In and after 1964 when I began to concern myself with the biological issues, and particularly from 1967 onwards, the extent of the problems over which I felt uneasy increased to such a point that in 1968 I felt a compelling urge to make my views public.”
“Our country, like every modern state, needs profound democratic reforms. It needs political and ideological pluralism, a mixed economy and protection of human rights and the opening up of society.”

British Art – Part II of II: Andrew Tift

In the words of one writer, “Tift has also won many awards, including The Japan Festival Award, The European Painting Award at the Frissiras Museum in Athens and the Emerson Group Award at the Manchester Academy of fine Art. He has painted portraits of a number of prominent sitters including Tony Benn, Neil And Glenys Kinnock, Lord Chief Justice Woolf and Cormac McCarthy amongst many others and is currently working on a new commission for the National Portrait Gallery.
Tift has exhibited at commercial and public galleries and museums in London, Paris, Tokyo, New York, Athens and Santa Fe and has work in many public and private collections including, the National Portrait Gallery (London), The Smithsonian Institution (Washington D.C), The House of Commons (London), The Frissiras Museum (Athens), The New Art Gallery – Walsall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Sunderland Museum and Art Gallery.”


A Reminder for the Current Crop of Republican Presidential Candidates:

“As empty vessels make the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest blabbers.” – Plato, Greek philosopher born on 21 May 427 B.C.E.

Interviewer: “Why did you paint a couch in the middle of the jungle?”

Henri Rousseau: “Because one has a right to paint one’s dreams.”

Born 21 May 1844 – Henri Rousseau, French Post-Impressionist painter in the Naïve or Primitive manner.

Below – “The Dream”; “The Sleeping Gypsy”; “The Snake Charmer”; “The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope”; “Tiger in a Tropical Storm”; “Carnival Evening”; “War, or the Ride of Discord”; “The Mill”; “Self-Portrait.”



A Reminder for Fox News:

“It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked bottles: the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out.” – Alexander Pope, English poet, who was born 21 May 1688.

Here is one critic describing the artistry of Australian painter Peter H. Marshall: “Peter was born in Western Victoria in 1964 and was raised on a property at Kanya until the age of seven. This environment ignited his life long interest in drawing, particularly the trees growing on and around the property. Peter was encouraged by artists and his parents from a young age to paint, first in watercolours age four and oils at age nine. After attending the Ronald Crawford School of Painting’ (Meldrum School of Tonal Impressionism) in Melbourne for one year, age seventeen, Peter moved to Sydney in 1989 to study drawing and etching full time at the Julian Ashton Art School, where he won the Inaugural Sir William Dobell Scholarship for Drawing in 1990. In the same year he became an assistant Tutor at the school, was awarded the Robert LeGay Brereton Prize for drawing at the Art Gallery of NSW and selected as a finalist in the Victorian Young Achiever Awards.”

From the American History Archives – Part I of II: Charles Lindbergh

21 May 1927: Charles Lindbergh touches down at Le Bourget Field in Paris, completing the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

In the words of one writer, “Alberto Gálvez is a contemporary Spanish painter whose inspiration is derived from identifiable archetypal imagery found in classic history painting. Gálvez is a leader among his generation of artists in Europe who have returned to the figurative tradition, where a precise delineation of figures and objects project onto the canvas with a complex narration and allegorical overtones. The artist’s ability to displace familiar objects and reinvent them within an innovative and contemporized context compels the viewer to perceive a new reality.”

From the American History Archives – Part II of II: Amelia Earhart

21 May 1932: Bad weather forces Amelia Earhart to land in a pasture in Derry, Northern Ireland, and she thereby becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

“He loves to create a romantic setting, using the impressionistic play of light to synthesize the beauty of a woman . . .” – A critic describing the artistry of Russian painter Mstislav Pavlov.

“Still, no one finally knows what a poet is supposed either to be or to do. Especially in this country, one takes on the job—because all that one does in America is considered a ‘job’—with no clear sense as to what is required or where one will ultimately be led. In that respect, it is as particular an instance of a ‘calling’ as one might point to. For years I’ve kept in mind, ‘Many are called but few are chosen.’ Even so ‘called,’ there were no assurances that one would be answered.” – Robert Creeley, American poet, who was born 21 May 1926.

Robert Creeley is the author of what critic Cid Corman calls “some of the unhappiest love poems of our time.”

“A Form of Women”

I have come far enough

from where I was not before

to have seen the things

looking in at me from through the open door

and have walked tonight

by myself

to see the moonlight

and see it as trees

and shapes more fearful

because I feared

what I did not know

but have wanted to know.

My face is my own, I thought.

But you have seen it

turn into a thousand years.

I watched you cry.

I could not touch you.

I wanted very much to

touch you

but could not.

If it is dark

when this is given to you,

have care for its content

when the moon shines.

My face is my own.

My hands are my own.

My mouth is my own

but I am not. 

Moon, moon,

when you leave me alone

all the darkness is

an utter blackness, 

a pit of fear,

a stench,

hands unreasonable

never to touch.

But I love you.

Do you love me.

What to say

when you see me.


American Art – Part IV of V: James Carter

In the words of one writer, “James Carter, the contemporary American artist, combines the dream images of surrealism with the techniques of superrealism to create still lifes with distinctly American roots. His acrylic airbrush paintings and his original prints give us a fresh view of familiar situations.
He likes to employ the underlying humor of the surreal. Like Magritte, Carter delights in juxtaposing unexpected objects. By placing real objects in abstract environments, James can make them dissolve, fade, float or move in any way he wishes. James emphasizes his subject matter by depicting it in a superreal style. The objects become icons or symbols.”

A Poem for Today

“Before Dawn on Bluff Road,”
By August Kleinzahler

The crow’s raw hectoring cry
scoops clean an oval divot
of sky, its fading echo
among the oaks and poplars swallowed
first by a jet banking west
then the Erie-Lackawanna
sounding its horn as it comes through the tunnel
through the cliffs to the river
and around the bend of King’s Cove Bluff,
full of timber, Ford chassis, rock salt.

You can hear it in the dark
from beyond what was once the amusement park.
And the wind carries along as well,
from down by the river,
when the tide’s just so,
the drainage just so,
the chemical ghost of old factories,
the rotted piers and warehouses:
lye, pigfat, copra from Lever Bros.,
formaldehyde from the coffee plant,
dyes, unimaginable solvents—
a soup of polymers, oxides,
tailings fifty years old
seeping through the mud, the aroma
almost comforting by now, like food,
wafting into my childhood room
with its fevers and dreams.
My old parents asleep,
only a few yards across the hall,
door open—lest I cry?
I remember
almost nothing of my life.

American Art – Part V of V: Brett Amory

In the words of one writer, “Brett Amory was born in 1975 in Chesapeake, Virginia. He has lived in the Bay Area of California for the past 15 years, living in San Francisco for 15 years before relocating to Oakland in 2009, where he is currently based. . In the past year he’s had solo shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, New York and San Jose.”


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