American Art – Part I of IV: Thomas Colletta
In the words of one writer, “Inspired by the visually saturated designs of American culture, American artist Thomas Colletta represents the innumerable varieties of vernacular objects and architectural facades in his meticulous portrayals of the cultural fabric surrounding us. Colletta is a discriminating observer of the world, transforming his visual recordings into a sensitive constellation of distinctions and lustrous textures expose an amazing stylistic accuracy, which Colletta achieves in a focused realism.”
“Look twice before you leap.” – Charlotte Bronte, English novelist, poet, and author of “Jane Eyre,” who died 31 March 1855.
Some quotes from “Jane Eyre”:
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
“I have for the first time found what I can truly love–I have found you. You are my sympathy–my better self–my good angel–I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you–and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.”
“‘No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,’ he began, ‘especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?’
‘They go to hell,’ was my ready and orthodox answer.
‘And what is hell? Can you tell me that?’
‘A pit full of fire.’
‘And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?
‘What must you do to avoid it?’
I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: ‘I must keep in good health and not die.’”
“I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.”
“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”
“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”
“Flirting is a woman’s trade, one must keep in practice.”
“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.”
“It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it. Millions are condemned to a stiller doom than mine, and millions are in silent revolt against their lot. Nobody knows how many rebellions besides political rebellions ferment in the masses of life which people earth. Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex.”
Fancies in Springtime: Arthur Schopenhauer
American Art – Part II of IV: Bonnie Marris
In the words of one critic, artist Bonnie Marris “has been studying and painting wolves, foxes, dogs and horses since childhood. She remembers her family home as a refuge for anyone in trouble, human or animal. ‘At one time we had two wolves and a three-month-old coyote living with us,’ she recalls with a smile. Always, when Marris wasn’t around animals, she was painting them, and this love led her to pursue degrees in zoology and animal behavior.
Animals are an integral part of both her life and her art.
The passion Bonnie Marris has for wilderness, for animals, and for light and color come together in her art, and she feels her work has accomplished its purpose when a viewer feels that same passion.”
“Never doubt that you can change history. You already have.” – Marge Piercy, American poet, novelist, and social activist, who was born 31 March 1936.
“More Than Enough”
The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.
The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly
Fancies in Springtime: Victor Hugo
Spanish Art – Part I of III: Fernando Pascual Lopez
A Poem for Today
By Tim Nolan
How can we believe he did it—
every day—for all those years?
We remember how the musicians
gathered for him—and the prostitutes
arranged themselves the way he wanted—
and even the helmeted monkeys
with their little toy car cerebella—
posed—and the fish on the plate—
remained after he ate the fish—
Bones—What do we do with this
life?—except announce: ‘Joy.
Joy. Joy’—from the lead—
to the oil—to the stretch of bright
canvas—stretched—to the end of it all.
“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Sir Isaac Newton, English physicist and mathematician who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time and who played an important role in the scientific revolution, who died 31 March 1727.
Some quotes from the work of Sir Isaac Newton:
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
“Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.”
“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies but not the madness of people.”
“And to every action there is always an equal and opposite or contrary, reaction.”
“A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true.”
“Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things.”
“No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.”
“If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent.”
“Live your life as an Exclamation rather than an Explanation.”
Fancies in Springtime: Rumi
A Second Poem for Today
“The Thrift Shop Dresses”
By Frannie Lindsay
I slid the white louvers shut so I could stand in your closet
a little while among the throng of flowered dresses
you hadn’t worn in years, and touch the creases
on each of their sleeves that smelled of forgiveness
and even though you would still be alive a few more days
I knew they were ready to let themselves be
packed into liquor store boxes simply
because you had asked that of them,
and dropped at the door of the Salvation Army
without having noticed me
wrapping my arms around so many at once
that one slipped a big padded shoulder off of its hanger
as if to return the embrace.
“It’s a story about justice for victims.” – Brandon Lee, American actor and martial artist, who died 31 March 1993, commenting during the making of the movie “The Crow.”
“The Crow” achieved cult status thanks in large part to Brandon Lee’s portrayal of Eric Draven.
Fancies in Springtime: W.C. Fields
“No Man Is An Island”
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
Spanish Art – Part II of III: Monica Castanys
Spanish artist Monica Castanys (born 1973) graduated from the School of Arts and Crafts of Barcelona in 1993. She specializes in painting scenes from what one critic calls an “imagined metropolis,” recording the lives of individuals without their noticing.
Fancies in Springtime: Charles Sherington
A Third Poem for Today
“For My Wife Cutting My Hair”
By Bruce Guernsey
You move around me expertly like the good, round
Italian barber I went to in Florence,
years before we met, his scissors
a razor he sharpened on a belt.
But at first when you were learning, I feared
for my neck, saw my ears like sliced fruit
on the newspapered floor. Taking us back in time,
you cleverly clipped my head in a flat-top.
The years in between were styles no one had ever seen,
or should see again: when the wind rose
half my hair floated off in feathers,
the other half bristling, brief as a brush.
“I am fated to journey hand in hand with my strange heroes and to survey the surging immensity of life, to survey it through the laughter that all can see and through the tears unseen and unknown by anyone.” – Nikolai Gogol, Ukrainian-born Russian novelist, humorist, dramatist, and author of “Dead Souls,” who was born 31 March 1809.
Some quotes from the work of Nikolai Gogol:
“But wise is the man who disdains no character, but with searching glance explores him to the root and cause of all.”
“The longer and more carefully we look at a funny story, the sadder it becomes.”
“We have the marvelous gift of making everything insignificant.”
“However stupid a fools words may be, they are sometimes enough to confound an intelligent man.”
“Perfect nonsense goes on in the world. Sometimes there is no plausibility at all”
“There are occasions when a woman, no matter how weak and impotent in character she may be in comparison with a man, will yet suddenly become not only harder than any man, but even harder than anything and everything in the world.”
“What is stronger in us — passion or habit? Or are all the violent impulses, all the whirl of our desires and turbulent passions, only the consequence of our ardent age, and is it only through youth that they seem deep and shattering?”
“Everywhere across whatever sorrows of which our life is woven, some radiant joy will gaily flash past.”
“Let me warn you, if you start chasing after views, you’ll be left without bread and without views”
“It is no use to blame the looking glass if your face is awry.”
“Man is such a wondrous being that it is never possible to count up all his merits at once. The more you study him, the more new particulars appear, and their description would be endless.”
“What are you laughing at? You are laughing at yourself.”
Fancies in Springtime: Arne Tiselius
“We live in a world where unfortunately the distinction between true and false appears to become increasingly blurred by manipulation of facts, by exploitation of uncritical minds, and by the pollution of the language.”
“Music, the mosaic of the air.” – Andrew Marvell, English metaphysical poet and politician, who was born 31 March 1621.
“To His Coy Mistress”
Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.
Fancies in Springtime: Vladimir Nabokov
In the words of one writer, “Spanish artist Manel Anoro’s paintings vibrate with color, transporting us to a world of glittering blue water, sun-baked villas, and voluptuous beauties surrounded by lush vegetation and flowers.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“Tomato Pies, 25 Cents”
By Grace Cavalieri
Tomato pies are what we called them, those days,
before Pizza came in,
at my Grandmother’s restaurant,
in Trenton New Jersey.
My grandfather is rolling meatballs
in the back. He studied to be a priest in Sicily but
saved his sister Maggie from marrying a bad guy
by coming to America.
Uncle Joey is rolling dough and spooning sauce.
Uncle Joey, is always scrubbed clean,
sobered up, in a white starched shirt, after
cops delivered him home just hours before.
The waitresses are helping
themselves to handfuls of cash out of the drawer,
playing the numbers with Moon Mullin
and Shad, sent in from Broad Street. 1942,
tomato pies with cheese, 25 cents.
With anchovies, large, 50 cents.
A whole dinner is 60 cents (before 6 pm).
How the soldiers, bussed in from Fort Dix,
would stand outside all the way down Warren Street,
waiting for this new taste treat,
young guys in uniform,
lined up and laughing, learning Italian,
before being shipped out to fight the last great war.
Fancies in Springtime: Rachel Carson
“Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is… we cannot expect things to be much better in this world… We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity.”
31 March 1988 – The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction is awarded to Toni Morrison for “Beloved.”
Some quotes from “Beloved”:
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
“Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be.”
“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”
“There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship’s, smoothes and contains the rocker. It’s an inside kind–wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one’s own feet going seem to come from a far-off place.”
“He wants to put his story next to hers.”
“Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place–the picture of it–stays, and not just in my memory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think if, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.”
Fancies in Springtime: Robert A. Heinlein
“There is only one valuable thing in art: the thing you cannot explain.” – George Braque, French painter, collagist, draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, who died 31 March 1963.
Fancies in Springtime: Anatole France
“It’s ironic that those who till the soil, cultivate and harvest the fruits, vegetables, and other foods that fill your tables with abundance have nothing left for themselves.” – Cesar Chavez, Mexican-American farm worker, labor leader, civil rights activist, and co-founder of the United Farm Workers Union, who was born 31 March 1927.
Some quotes from the work of Cesar Chavez:
“It’s amazing how people can get so excited about a rocket to the moon and not give a damn about smog, oil leaks, the devastation of the environment with pesticides, hunger, disease. When the poor share some of the power that the affluent now monopolize, we will give a damn.”
“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… The people who give you their food give you their heart.”
“I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice.”
“Perhaps we can bring the day when children will learn from their earliest days that being fully man and fully woman means to give one’s life to the liberation of the brother who suffers.”
“Our opponents in the agricultural industry are very powerful and farm workers are still weak in money and influence. But we have another kind of power that comes from the justice of our cause. So long as we are willing to sacrifice for that cause, so long as we persist in non-violence and work to spread the message of our struggle, then millions of people around the world will respond from their heart, will support our efforts…and in the end we will overcome.”
Fancies in Springtime: Mya Robarts
“Real love ought to be more like a tree and less like a flower. That’s the kind of love my parents had. Not so consuming and more everlasting. And you see that tree over there? Now it’s only showing green leaves, but during the spring it’s covered in flowers. Because as reliable as trees are, they can also speak of beauty and passion.”
“In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.” – John Fowles, English novelist and author of “The Magus,” who was born 31 March 1926.
Some quotes from the work of John Fowles:
“There are only two races on this planet – the intelligent and the stupid.”
“Men love war because it allows them to look serious. Because they imagine it is the one thing that stops women laughing at them. In it they can reduce women to the status of objects. That is the great distinction between the sexes. Men see objects, women see relationship between objects. Whether the objects love each other, need each other, match each other. It is an extra dimension of feeling we men are without and one that makes war abhorrent to all real women – and absurd. I will tell you what war is. War is a psychosis caused by an inability to see relationships. Our relationship with our fellow-men. Our relationship with our economic and historical situation. And above all our relationship to nothingness. To death.”
“The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.”
“Our accepting what we are must always inhibit our being what we ought to be.”
“Duty largely consists of pretending that the trivial is critical.”
“In essence the Renaissance was simply the green end of one of civilization’s hardest winters.”
“Most marriages recognize this paradox: Passion destroys passion; we want what puts an end to wanting what we want.”
“Duty largely consists of pretending that the trivial is critical.”
“We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.”
A Fifth Poem for Today
“Eating Them As He Came”
By Christopher Todd Matthews
Dark by five, the day gives up and so do I,
stalled at the top of the stairs I forget what for,
adrift in a scrap of dream that’s not a dream
exactly but a stupor, unrefined. I go astray
in old routines, I dare myself to reconstruct
the rules of old invented games—that one
of throwing snowballs at the roof, to watch them
shrink as they rolled down, spinning to their pits,
to see the force that made them briefly a thing
so neatly undone. Today an old friend’s tiny boy
lobbied me to pitch some snowballs at him. I bowed
to his dense little will. But planned to miss.
As I packed and flung each one to its unpacking,
he hunted down the humble bits and crumbs
of every impact, as they ran from him along
the icy slope, and gathered and carried them
back to me at the top. Eating them as he came.
So that’s how you get to the marrow of breakdown.
I forgot. That you could put what’s left to your lips.
Fancies in Springtime: Suzanne Palmieri
“Trees down south have a difference to them, a subtle, slinking movement, mile by mile- a gracefulness, a swagger. Lanky trees stretching out their wiry thin, Spanish moss-covered branches, moss that sways and beckons … come here, come here, it says.”
“Deserve your dream.” – Octavio Paz, Mexican poet, writer, diplomat, and recipient of the 1960 Nobel Prize in Literature “for impassioned writing with wide horizons, characterized by sensuous intelligence and humanistic integrity,” who was born 31 March 1914.
“As One Listens to the Rain”
Listen to me as one listens to the rain,
not attentive, not distracted,
light footsteps, thin drizzle,
water that is air, air that is time,
the day is still leaving,
the night has yet to arrive,
figurations of mist
at the turn of the corner,
figurations of time
at the bend in this pause,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
without listening, hear what I say
with eyes open inward, asleep
with all five senses awake,
it’s raining, light footsteps, a murmur of syllables,
air and water, words with no weight:
what we are and are,
the days and years, this moment,
weightless time and heavy sorrow,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
wet asphalt is shining,
steam rises and walks away,
night unfolds and looks at me,
you are you and your body of steam,
you and your face of night,
you and your hair, unhurried lightning,
you cross the street and enter my forehead,
footsteps of water across my eyes,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the asphalt’s shining, you cross the street,
it is the mist, wandering in the night,
it is the night, asleep in your bed,
it is the surge of waves in your breath,
your fingers of water dampen my forehead,
your fingers of flame burn my eyes,
your fingers of air open eyelids of time,
a spring of visions and resurrections,
listen to me as one listens to the rain,
the years go by, the moments return,
do you hear the footsteps in the next room?
not here, not there: you hear them
in another time that is now,
listen to the footsteps of time,
inventor of places with no weight, nowhere,
listen to the rain running over the terrace,
the night is now more night in the grove,
lightning has nestled among the leaves,
a restless garden adrift-go in,
your shadow covers this page.
Fancies in Springtime: Walt Whitman
“I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self contained;
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition;
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins;
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God;
Not one is dissatisfied-not one is demented with the mania of owning things;
Not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago;
Not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth.”
American Art – Part III of IV: Ryan Jones
In the words of one writer, “Ryan Jones’s arresting paintings immerse us in stories featuring beautiful women and mysterious, luxurious settings—secluded swimming pools, shadowy rooms with ornate furniture—images infused with fantasy and a hint of noir. Rather than frame faces as in ordinary portraiture, Jones gives us tantalizing glimpses of his subjects, directing our focus toward finer nuances of a scene. As he has noted, his work is a unique ‘fusion of the real and surreal.’”
Fancies in Springtime: Thomas Pynchon
“Laboring through a world every day more stultified, which expected salvation in codes and governments, ever more willing to settle for suburban narratives and diminished payoffs–what were the chances of finding anyone else seeking to transcend that, and not even particularly aware of it?”
A Sixth Poem for Today
By Molly Fisk
Early December, dusk, and the sky
slips down the rungs of its blue ladder
into indigo. A late-quarter moon hangs
in the air above the ridge like a broken plate
and shines on us all, on the new deputy
almost asleep in his four-by-four,
lulled by the crackling song of the dispatcher,
on the bartender, slowly wiping a glass
and racking it, one eye checking the game.
It shines down on the fox’s red and grey life,
as he stills, a shadow beside someone’s gate,
listening to winter. Its pale gaze caresses
the lovers, curled together under a quilt,
dreaming alone, and shines on the scattered
ashes of terrible fires, on the owl’s black flight,
on the whelks, on the murmuring kelp,
on the whale that washed up six weeks ago
at the base of the dunes, and it shines
on the backhoe that buried her.
Back from the Territory – Art: The work of Alaska artist Rei Munoz
In the words of one writer, “An Alaskan for 65 years, Rie is known for her bright, colorful paintings and good cheer. Her watercolors captured the spirit of her subjects. She loved people, and it showed in her work: Alaskans doing Alaska-type things, fishermen working, children at play, village life, legends, and dogs. Rie once said she never met a dog she didn’t like.
While living in California in 1950, she decided to plan a trip. Looking at a map, she drew a line to the farthest and most interesting place she could afford on a shoestring budget. Rie chose Alaska, traveling up the Inside Passage by steamship. She fell in love with Juneau immediately and gave herself one day – until the boat was scheduled to return to the Lower 48 – to find a job and a place to live. Rie found both, and Alaska became her home.”
Back from the Territory, I share this with you, before I light out again.
Fancies in Springtime: Ann Druyan
“Science has carried us to the gateway to the universe. And yet our conception of our surroundings remains the disproportionate view of the still-small child. We are spiritually and culturally paralyzed, unable to face the vastness, to embrace our lack of centrality and find our actual place in the fabric of nature. We batter this planet as if we had someplace else to go. That we even do science is a hopeful glimmer of mental health. However, it’s not enough merely to accept these insights intellectually while we cling to a spiritual ideology that is not only rootless in nature but also, in many ways, contemptuous of what is natural.”
A Seventh Poem for Today
“Great Blue Heron”
By T. Alan Broughton
I drive past him each day in the swamp where he stands
on one leg, hunched as if dreaming of his own form
the surface reflects. Often I nearly forget to turn left,
buy fish and wine, be home in time to cook and chill.
Today the bird stays with me, as if I am moving through
the heron’s dream to share his sky or water—places
he will rise into on slow flapping wings or where
his long bill darts to catch unwary frogs. I’ve seen
his slate blue feathers lift him as dangling legs
fold back, I’ve seen him fly through the dying sun
and out again, entering night, entering my own sleep.
I only know this bird by a name we’ve wrapped him in,
and when I stand on my porch, fish in the broiler,
wine glass sweating against my palm, glint of sailboats
tacking home on dusky water, I try to imagine him
slowly descending to his nest, wise as he was
or ever will be, filling each moment with that moment’s
act or silence, and the evening folds itself around me.
Fancies in Springtime: Richard Payment
American Art – Part IV of IV: Gregory Kondos
In the words of one writer, “Gregory Kondos has spent decades depicting California’s unique, majestic beauty, from its rolling farmland to its varied coastline, to the forests and peaks of Yosemite, where he has often served as artist-in-residence. He has been drawn as well to the deserts around Santa Fe, and to Europe, especially Greece, the country from which his parents emigrated. Now in his nineties, he is celebrated as one of the world’s foremost landscape painters, known for his light-filled palette and intuitive, organic forms that seem like effortless extensions of nature.”