March Offerings – Part XX: Something to Delight both Head and Heart

Welcome, Sweet Spring
aWelcome Spring

American Art – Part I of VI: Bryan Hunt

Artist Statement: “My paintings and prints are the same. They’re maps to use for orienting myself in space.”

Below – “Small Cairn”; “Memnon 2”; “Sedona Precipice”; “Island”; “Phobos”; “Deimos”; “Wind and Thunder.”
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A Poem for Today

[“in Just-“]
BY E. E. CUMMINGS

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and

it’s
spring
and

the

goat-footed

balloonMan whistles
far
and
wee

Below – Anthony Yates: “Just Spring”
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Fancies in Springtime: Anne Bradstreet

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
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American Art – Part II of VI: Robert Hudson

In the words of one writer, “Hudson is mainly a sculptor, and in any work of his there are a lot of accumulated forms, some canceling the effects of others. On his sculptures, for example, he often paints small detailed paintings that give the illusion of flattening or increasing actual volumes in the sculpture.”

Below – “Green and Red Rhyme”; “Out of Orbit”; “River”; Untitled.
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Fancies in Springtime: Rainer Maria Rilke

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
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A Second Poem for Today

“Zippo”
By Judith Slater

I didn’t think ‘handsome’ then, I thought
‘my fathe’r the way he saunters down Main Street,
housewives, shopkeepers, mechanics calling out,
children running up to get Lifesavers. The way
he pauses to chat, flipping his lighter open,
tamping the Lucky Strike on his thumbnail.

I sneak into his den when he’s out, tuck
into the kneehole of his desk and sniff
his Zippo until dizzy, emboldened;
then play little tricks, mixing red and black
inks in his fountain pen, twisting together
paperclips. If I lift the telephone receiver

quietly, I can listen in on our party line.
That’s how I hear two women
talking about him. That’s why my mother
finds me that night sleepwalking, sobbing.
“It’s all right,” she tells me,
“you had a nightmare, come to bed.”
aSlater

Fancies in Springtime: John Lubbock

“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.”

Below – George Hillyard: “Primavera Blossom”
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A Third Poem for Today

“Snapshot”
By Linda Parsons Marion

My mother sends the baby pictures she promised—
egg hunting in Shelby Park, wooden blocks
and Thumbelina tossed on the rug, knotty pine
walls in a house lost to memory. I separate out
the early ones, studying my navel or crumbs
on the tray, taken before my awareness
of Sylvania Superflash. Here I am sitting
on the dinette table, the near birthday cake
striking me dumb. Two places of wedding china,
two glasses of milk, posed for the marvelous
moment: the child squishes the fluted rosettes,
mother claps her hands, father snaps the picture
in the face of time. When the sticky sweet
is washed off the page, we are pasted in an album
of blessed amnesia. The father leaves the pine house
and sees the child on weekends, the mother
stores the china on the top shelf until it’s dull and crazed,
the saucer-eyed girl grips her curved spoon
like there’s no tomorrow.
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Fancies in Springtime: Carl Sagan

“I don’t want to believe. I want to know.”
aSagan

American Art – Part III of VI: Mary Heilmann

Artist Statement: “Painting a line across canvas with a brush is similar to the motion of a wave breaking.”

Below – “Passage”; “Undertow”; “Acid Line Up”; “Graffiti”; “Margot.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Seneca (4 BCE – 65 CE)

“The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject… And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them… Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced.”
aSeneca

A Fourth Poem for Today

“Chiller Pansies”
By Debra Wierenga

Your pansies died again today.
All June I’ve watched them scorch and fall
by noon, their faces folding down
to tissue-paper triangles.
I bring them back with water, words,
a pinch, but they are sick to death
of resurrection. You planted them
last fall, these “Chillers” guaranteed
to come again in spring. They returned
in April—you did not. You who said
‘pick all you want, it just makes more!’
one day in 1963,
and I, a daughter raised on love
and miracles, believed it.
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Fancies in Springtime: A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

“Dream is not that which you see while sleeping; it is something that does not let you sleep.”
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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Family Stories”
By Dorianne Laux

I had a boyfriend who told me stories about his family,
how an argument once ended when his father
seized a lit birthday cake in both hands
and hurled it out a second-story window. That,
I thought, was what a normal family was like: anger
sent out across the sill, landing like a gift
to decorate the sidewalk below. In mine
it was fists and direct hits to the solar plexus,
and nobody ever forgave anyone. But I believed
the people in his stories really loved one another,
even when they yelled and shoved their feet
through cabinet doors, or held a chair like a bottle
of cheap champagne, christening the wall,
rungs exploding from their holes.
I said it sounded harmless, the pomp and fury
of the passionate. He said it was a curse
being born Italian and Catholic and when he
looked from that window what he saw was the moment
rudely crushed. But all I could see was a gorgeous
three-layer cake gliding like a battered ship
down the sidewalk, the smoking candles broken, sunk
deep in the icing, a few still burning.
aLaux

Fancies in Springtime: Margaret Atwood

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
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In the words of one writer, “Katsura Funakoshi, a sculptor who lives in Tokyo, creates figurative sculptures carved from camphor wood that most often depict the subject from the waist up. He is represented by the Arnold Herstand Gallery in New York and represented Japan in the 1988 Venice Biennale and the 1989 Bienal de Sao Paulo.”

Below – Some of Katsura Funakoshi’s prints: “A Hat of Words”; “Before the Moon Rises”; “Smell of Snow”; “The Old Mirror”; “To Keep Watching the Town.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Daniel Kahneman

“A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth. Authoritarian institutions and marketers have always known this fact.”
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American Art – Part IV of VI: Tom Holland

In the words of one writer, “Tom Holland’s work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of America, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco among others.”
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A Sixth Poem for Today

“Marriage”
By Dan Gerber

When you are angry it’s your gentle self
I love until that’s who you are.
In any case, I can’t love this anger any more
than I can warm my heart with ice.
I go on loving your smile
till it finds its way back to your face.
aGerber

Fancies in Springtime: Pablo Neruda

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
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A Seventh Poem for Today

“Loving the Hands”
By Julie Suk

I could make a wardrobe
with tufts of wool
caught on thistle and bracken.

Lost—the scraps
I might have woven whole cloth.

‘Come watch,’ the man says,
shearing sheep
with the precision of long practice,
fleece, removed all of a piece,
rolled in a neat bundle.

I’ve been so clumsy
with people who’ve loved me.

Straddling a ewe,
the man props its head on his foot,
leans down with clippers,
each pass across the coat a caress.

His dogs, lying nearby,
tremble at every move—as I do,
loving the hands that have learned
to gentle the life beneath them.
aSuk

Fancies in Springtime: Isaac Asimov

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
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An Eighth Poem for Today

“Absences”
By Mark Vinz

“Even when you are not in a room,
you are in it, your voice everywhere.” –Bill Holm

The message that’s recorded on the phone
is unmistakably bad news, and then
another call tells us it’s one we love—
a sudden death while traveling, somehow
appropriate for one who always
seized life too completely to stand still.

A door slams shut, a wall has dropped away,
and once again I’m driven back to
empty pages, insufficient words,
to rooms he always filled on entering—
rooms lined with books, piano music, and
good friends who raise their glasses one last time.

And now, as all the lights are blinking off
in every prairie town we’ve ever loved,
when all the toasts are made and songs are sung,
when leaving is the only certainty,
a single voice keeps echoing, along
each dark, untraveled hallway of the heart.
aVinz

Fancies in Springtime: Francis Hodgson Burnett

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
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American Art – Part V of VI: Kim Cogan

In the words of one writer, “Kim Cogan’s oil paintings exploit the expressive nature of the medium to represent the many moods and environs of American cities. Cogan eschews the iconic views of places such as New York, Chicago, and his adopted home of San Francisco in favor of more common sights: alleyways, homes, cemeteries, and residential neighborhoods. Cogan’s work evinces an interest in the properties of light and atmosphere, which take on a heightened effect in his paintings of San Francisco. He uses subtle gradations of paint to suggest specific times of day, allowing individual brushstrokes to cohere into expressionist renderings of urban spaces.”
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A Ninth Poem for Today

“The Silver Fish”
By Shawn Pittard

I killed a great silver fish,
cut him open with a long

thin knife. The river carried
his heart away. I took his

dead eyes home. His red flesh
sang to me on the fire I built

in my backyard. His taste
was the lost memory of my

wildness. Behind amber clouds
of cedar smoke, Orion

drew his bow. A black moon rose
from the night’s dark waters,

a sliver of its bright face
reflecting back into the universe.
aPittard

Fancies in Springtime: A.A. Milne

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
‘Winter is dead.’”
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Back from the Territory – Art: The work of Alaska artist Teri Jo Hedman

In the words of one writer, “Teri Jo’s ideas come from the wildlife she sees in her travels and the scenery that surrounds them. Once the idea is formed, she thinks in terms of flat shapes, line, white spaces, repetition, and color in putting the piece into final form. There is a crispness and clarity to her work. The artist has been an Alaskan resident since 1970, lives in Anchorage with her husband, and has three grown children.”

Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.

Below – “Coming Ashore”; “Scouts”; “Wild Rose”; “Mountain Dawn”; “Hustle.”
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Fancies in Springtime: Vladimir Nabokov

“Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring.”
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A Tenth Poem for Today

“sweet spring…”
By E.E. Cummings

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love

(all the merry little birds are
flying in the floating in the
very spirits singing in
are winging in the blossoming)

lovers go and lovers come
awandering awondering
but any two are perfectly
alone there’s nobody else alive

(such a sky and such a sun
i never knew and neither did you
and everybody never breathed
quite so many kinds of yes)

not a tree can count his leaves
each herself by opening
but shining who by thousands mean
only one amazing thing

(secretly adoring shyly
tiny winging darting floating
merry in the blossoming
always joyful selves are singing)

sweet spring is your
time is my time is our
time for springtime is lovetime
and viva sweet love
aCummingssweet

Fancies in Springtime: Erin Hanson

“Because the birdsong might be pretty,
But it’s not for you they sing,
And if you think my winter is too cold,
You don’t deserve my spring.”

Below – Anita Huffington: “Persephone”
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American Art – Part VI of VI: April Gornik

Artist Statement: “I’ve always talked about my work in terms of it being fictive and artificial. Artificial has a bad connotation in our society…But my feeling about artifice is that artifice is beautiful and is essential to art.”

Below – “Stepped Waterfall”; “Cloud Bringing Night”; “Marsh and Rising Clouds”; “Storm, Light, Ocean”; “Snowfall”; “Radiant Light.”
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Welcome, Radiant Spring

Below – Claude Monet: “An Orchard in Spring”
Againwelcome

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