From the Pacific Northwest – Part XXIII

Musings in Autumn: Frank Lloyd Wright

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

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A Poem for Today

“Orfordville”
By Lisa Fishman

Jonah found
a frog in the currants
thirsty, he said, so we flicked water on it
& it sat still    throat pulsing
bright-greener than the stem, feet spread, attached to the stem
Three people one frog thousands of currants
Basho, anyone, why write it down
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American Art – Carl Rungius

In the words of one writer, “Carl Clemens Moritz Rungius was a leading American wildlife artist. He was born in Germany though he immigrated to the United States and he spent his career painting in the western United States and Canada. Active primarily in the first half of the 20th century, he earned a reputation as the most important big game painter and the first career wildlife artist in North America.”

Below – “Mt. Cascade”; “Big Horn Sheep on Wilcox Pass”; “Bear”; “Caribou, North of Banff”; “Bow Valley”; “Red Fox.”

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Musings in Autumn: Henry David Thoreau

“AI think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least–and it is commonly more than that–sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“A Jelly-Fish”
By Marianne Moore

Visible, invisible,
A fluctuating charm,
An amber-colored amethyst
Inhabits it; your arm
Approaches, and
It opens and
It closes;
You have meant
To catch it,
And it shrivels;
You abandon
Your intent—
It opens, and it
Closes and you
Reach for it—
The blue
Surrounding it
Grows cloudy, and
It floats away
From you.

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Art for November – Part I of II: Karen Margulis

Below – “November on Edisto Island”

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Musings in Autumn: Rumi

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“OH NATURE”
By Bruce Weigl

  Today some things worked as they were meant to.
A big spring wind came up and blew down
     from the verdant neighborhood trees,
millions of those little spinning things,
     with seeds inside, and my heart woke up alive again too,
as if the brain could be erased of its angry hurt;
     fat chance of that, yet
things sometimes work as they were meant,
     like the torturer who finally can’t sleep,
or the god damn moon
     who sees everything we do
and who still comes up behind clouds
     spread out like hands to keep the light away.

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Art for November – Part II of II: Sheryl Knight

Below – “November in Sonoma”

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Musings in Autumn: Edward Abbey

“Wilderness is  not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Song for the Turtles in the Gulf”
By Linda Hogan

We had been together so very long,
you willing to swim with me
just last month, myself merely small
in the ocean of splendor and light,
the reflections and distortions of us,
and now when I see the man from British Petroleum
lift you up dead from the plastic
bin of death,
he with a smile, you burned
and covered with red-black oil, torched
and pained, all I can think is that I loved your life,
the very air you exhaled when you rose,
old great mother, the beautiful swimmer,
the mosaic growth of shell
so detailed, no part of you
simple, meaningless,
or able to be created
by any human,
only destroyed.
How can they learn
the secret importance
of your beaten heart,
the eyes of another intelligence
than ours, maybe greater,
with claws, flippers, plastron.
Forgive us for being thrown off true,
for our trespasses,
in the eddies of the water
where we first walked.

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William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature.

Some quotes from the work of William Butler Yeats:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”
“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”
“Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”
“What can be explained is not poetry.”
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”
“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that but simply growth, We are happy when we are growing.”
“Let us go forth, the tellers of tales, and seize whatever prey the heart longs for, and have no fear. Everything exists, everything is true, and the earth is only a little dust under our feet.” “Life is a long preparation for something that never happens.”
“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
“How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart.”
“There is another world, but it is in this one.”

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Musings in Autumn: William Wordsworth

“Come forth into the light of things. Let Nature be your teacher.”

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A Fifth Poem for Today

“Crows”
By Marilyn Nelson

What if to taste and see, to notice things,
to stand each is up against emptiness
for a moment or an eternity—
images collected in consciousness
like a tree alone on the horizon—
is the main reason we’re on the planet.
The food’s here of the first crow to arrive,
numbers two and three at a safe distance,
then approaching the hand-created taste
of leftover coconut macaroons.
The instant sparks in the earth’s awareness.

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Canadian Art – Part I: Allen Sapp

In the words of one writer, “Allen Sapp was born in his grandparent’s log cabin on the Red Pheasant Reserve in Saskatchewan. Allen’s mother died when he was quite young, and his grandmother, Nokum, raised him. Their relationship was very close and despite Nokum’s passing, she was a great influence on Allen’s life.
Allen Sapp was Plains Cree, descended from Chief Poundmaker, who is one of the Great Chiefs and is still honoured by his people today. In his early years, Allen’s health was poor. During a serious illness when he was about eight years old, his grandmother’s sister said that unless Allen was given a new Indian name, he would die. Allen received his Cree name, Kiskayetum; translated it means “He perceives it.” It was the first of many spiritual experiences in his life. When he was in his early teens Allen was bedridden with meningitis, which prevented him from attending school. Unable to read or write, Allen spent the hours of solitude sketching and drawing, which suited his shy temperament. A self-taught artist, when Allen first started working in oils his pallet was restricted by his budget to only a few colours. His early paintings were done in white, brown and black.
Allen Sapp later moved to North Battleford, Saskatchewan, where he painted at night and walked the streets during the day to find buyers for his work. When he was in his mid-thirties, he met Dr. Allan Gonor, who became a very good friend and patron. Dr. Gonor encouraged Allen to paint what he remembered of life growing up on the reserve. He promised to buy much of Allen’s work and arranged the sale of other paintings so that Allen could make a living as an artist without having to rely on welfare. With Dr. Gonor’s support, Allen never looked back. Allen’s art is a window to life on the reserve as it was when he was growing up in the 1930’s and 40’s. Many of these scenes have disappeared from current reserve life. Allen’s paintings depict the struggle for survival by a proud people in a harsh environment.”

“Nookum Making Bannock”; “Cooking Chokecherries”; “They All Came to Visit”; “Those Were Happy Times”; “A Nice Day for Playing Hockey”; Untitled (Haling Logs, Winter).

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A Sixth Poem for Today

“Prairie Dawn”
By Willa Cather

A crimson fire that vanquishes the stars;
A pungent odor from the dusty sage;
A sudden stirring of the huddled herds;
A breaking of the distant table-lands
Through purple mists ascending, and the flare
Of water ditches silver in the light;
A swift, bright lance hurled low across the world;
A sudden sickness for the hills of home.

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Musings in Autumn: Rainer Maria Rilke

“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.”

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A Seventh Poem for Today

“To Bring the Horse Home”
By Julie Bruck

after Philip Larkin

Is all I’ve wanted past wanting
since I was six and delirious with fever,
an infinitive forged from a night
when giant ladybugs with toothpick
antennae patrolled my wicker nightstand.
Yes, I’ve been with horses since, 
travelled illegally with them in trailers,
known certain landscapes only framed
by alert ears, and with one in particular,
spent whole afternoons with her big jaw
heavy on my shoulder. Still, I hatched
plots to bring a horse to the house, to ride 
to school, to pasture one or even three
in the garden, shaded by that decorative
willow, which could have used a purpose.
But there were city bylaws in two languages,
and over the years, a dog, stray cats,
turtles, and many fish. They lived, they died.
It wasn’t the same. Fast-forward, I brought
the baby home in a molded bucket seat, but she
lacked difference, attuned as I was, checking
her twenty-four-seven. Now that she’s 
grown, I’m reduced to walking city parks
with this corrosive envy of mounted police,
though I’m too old for the ropes test,
wouldn’t know what to do with a gun.
If there’s a second act, let me live
like the racetrack rat in a small room
up the narrow stairs from the stalls,
the horse shifting comfortably below,
browsing and chewing sweet hay.
A single bed with blanket the color
of factory-sweepings will suffice,
each day shaped to the same arc, 
because days can only end when
the lock slides free on the stall’s
Dutch door, and I lead the horse in,
then muscle the corroded bolt shut.
That’s what days are for: I cannot rest
until the horse comes home.

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Canadian Art – Part II: Dieter Schlatter

Artist Statement: “One of the main foundations of my work is my interest in history, the impact we have on the environment, the traces and scars we leave behind and the energy being reflected by these scars.
I like to juxtapose past and present often symbolized by herds of buffalos and railway tracks, or by my use of technique, which is the combination of the old medium of oil painting and the relatively new technology of photography pictures that have been altered either with paint or a laser copier. Paint often drips freely, dark umbers and yellowing reddish siennas reminiscent of petroleum soaked rail beams or the rust on locomotives, railcars and tracks.
While being a schoolboy in Switzerland I was fascinated by a never-ending flood of more or less relevant ‘cowboys and Indians”’literature and Jack London’s gold rush depictions. So it is quite possible that a small part of me still sees Western Canada through the eyes of this boy in Switzerland. Or as a fellow painter pointed it out: ‘It takes a foreigner to appreciate Canadiana.’
Although the imagery may come across as Canadiana at first sight it’s not quite like that. Of course the pictures have been taken in Canada but it could have been anywhere. At a closer look most of my depictions of railways, buffalos, log piles, cattle brandings or hay bales take on a deeper meaning: It’s about mysticism. It’s about symbolism. The railway tracks and disappearing horizons are synonymous for life. It’s about how urbanity is interwoven with the non-urban. That’s why in some of my paintings I choose a rather graffiti-like painting style to depict strictly rural scenes like wheat or cattle farming or oil and gas exploration.
And most times while in progress my work takes on a life of itself. It all comes down to composition and colour. Things of little or no importance can be treated or depicted in a way that they become important.
All photography used in my work is my own. I make long road trips through British Columbia and Alberta taking pictures of anything that captures my eye. Sometimes these photographs are kept in my studio for months or even years until I am inspired and decide to use them.

Below – “Great Plains Encounter”; “Below Mt. Rundle/Alberta”; “On the Way Back”; “Foothills/Alberta”; “Three Sisters Canmore/Alberta”; “Approaching Moraine Lake/Alberta”; “Banff Avenue, Mt. Cascade, Banff”; “Roaming”; “Bow Lake”; “9 Sisters/Alberta #4”; “Castle Mountain/Alberta.”

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