Musings in Autumn: Carl Sagan
“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”
A Poem for Today
“The Prairie Town”
By Helen Santmyer
Lovers of beauty laugh at this grey town,
Where dust lies thick on ragged curb-side trees,
And compass-needle streets lead up and down
And lose themselves in empty prairie seas.
Here is no winding scented lane, no hill
Crowned with a steepled church, no garden wall
Of old grey stone where lilacs bloom, and fill
The air with fragrance when the May rains fall.
But here is the unsoftened majesty
Of the wide earth where all the wide streets end,
And from the dusty corner one may see
The full moon rise, and flaming sun descend.
The long main street, whence farmers’ teams go forth,
Lies like an old sea road, star-pointed north.
American Art – William Cumming
In the words of one writer, “William Cumming’s works walk the boundary between realism and abstraction. Though he was a figurative painter, his interest was not in photographic detail but rather in recording a moment in time. He was known particularly for his talent at capturing movement: the physical gesture of bodies in motion and the animated spaces between them. He elided or omitted details and often obscured the faces of his figures in some way. The subjects of Cumming’s works often reflect his daily life.
The figurative paintings by renowned Northwest Master William Cumming are a fantastic celebration of color and life here in the great Northwest. He continues to capture people and animals in motion. His loose brush strokes of vibrant color define forms in light and shadow, coaxing the viewer into a conversation of invigorating life.”
Below – “First Day of Spring, Mother and Daughters”; “Summer Afternoon in the Park”; “Winter Afternoon”; “Man on Bike”; “Street Corner, (Seattle Park Series).”
Musings in Autumn: Barbara Kingsolver
“You know what the issue is? Do you want to know? It’s what these guys have decided to call America. They have the audacity to say, ‘There, you sons of bitches, don’t lay a finger on it. That is a finished product.’
But any country is still in the making. Always. That’s just history, people have to see that.”
A Second Poem for Today
By Stephanie Gray
“Viewers may think that they can process it all”
but they are fooling themselves, if there’s a window open you might have a chance, if you hadn’t all gone to Holy Name, if the world didn’t change, if you only bent the laws of physics so much, if the tides weren’t so strong on the Hudson, if you didn’t have to go, if it wasn’t a dream you still believed in, if that different kind of memory didn’t take hold, if your muscle memory didn’t steady you, if you didn’t have orders you couldn’t ship, if you didn’t see what you saw, if the crawl wasn’t always hungry, if there weren’t celebrities in every sphere, if you didn’t know all the criminals in the neighborhood, if nothing ever happened here, if it wasn’t a country club, if there wasn’t magic in actuality, if you didn’t dislocate the phrase, if you didn’t grind the blue sky, if it hadn’t been a downward trajectory, if the shadow didn’t undo itself, if you all weren’t all on break, if everyone didn’t shut down, if Canada wasn’t in the escape plans, if the future wasn’t sparkling with nostalgia
Art for November – Part I of II: Kenneth Callahan
Below – “Family (Figures with Horses)”
Musings in Autumn: Andy Warhol
“Everybody has their own America, and then they have pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can’t see…So the fantasy corners of America…you’ve pieced them together from scenes in movies and music and lines from books. And you live in your dream America that you’ve custom-made from art and schmaltz and emotions just as much as you live in your real one.”
A Third Poem for Today
By Daniel Waters
All eyes are fearful of the spotted hawk,
whose dappled wingspread opens to a phrase
that only victims gaping in the gaze
of Death Occurring can recite. To stalk;
to plunge; to harvest; the denial-squawk
of dying’s struggle; these are but a day’s
rebuke to hunger for the hawk, whose glazed
accord with Death admits no show of shock.
Death’s users know it is not theirs to own,
nor can they fathom all it means to die—
for young to know a different Death from old.
But when the spotted hawk’s last flight is flown,
he too becomes a novice, fear-struck by
the certain plummet once these feathers fold.
Art for November – Part II of II: Ansel Adams
Below – “Mt. Williamson, Sierra Nevada, Manzanar, CA”
Musings in Autumn: Eric Weiner
“A simple question to identify your true home: Where do you want to die?”
A Fourth Poem for Today
By Linda Pastan
You tell me to live each day
as if it were my last. This is in the kitchen
where before coffee I complain
of the day ahead—that obstacle race
of minutes and hours,
grocery stores and doctors.
But why the last? I ask. Why not
live each day as if it were the first—
all raw astonishment, Eve rubbing
her eyes awake that first morning,
the sun coming up
like an ingénue in the east?
You grind the coffee
with the small roar of a mind
trying to clear itself. I set
the table, glance out the window
where dew has baptized every
Canadian Art – Janice Iniskim-Aki Tanton: Part I
Artist Statement (partial): “I am an artist working in paint, sculpture, installation and film. My work examines relationships through a spiritual, cross-cultural and intergenerational framework. My research interests lie in examining how practice and process in the arts can influence our core humanity so we can co-exist in more sustainable ways. The ugly narrative of racism is looming larger in the Canadian lexicon. I hold that it is still Britishly difficult for us to talk openly about such things. Art is one way to have that conversation. Deep relational development and understanding are what I consider the key to this research. I am keenly interested in exploring my own life experiences and connectivity to indigenous traditional knowledge, language, spiritual practice and ways of knowing. I seek ways of reconciliation in the spaces in between my art practice, the teachings of Elders, ceremony and comparative analysis with my Euro-centric, colonistic roots.”
Below – “Ponokamitaa – The Spirit Of The Horse”; “Dreaming Lake”; “The Black And Blues”; “Dream Of T’anuu”; “Muskwa – Between The Worlds”; “One And The Same”; “Home Range.”
Musings in Autumn: Amy Goodman
“I really do think that if for one week in the United States we saw the true face of war, we saw people’s limbs sheared off, we saw kids blown apart, for one week, war would be eradicated. Instead, what we see in the U.S. media is the video war game. ”
A Fifth Poem for Today
By James Wright
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Musings in Autumn: Henry David Thoreau
“The question is not what you look at but what you see.”
Canadian Art – Janice Iniskim-Aki Tanton: Part II
Artist Statement (partial): “My work is always underpinned with a contemplative connection to the land, the Creator, and all other beings I encounter, for I have a deep relational connection to all of these elemental mysteries. Spanning the spectrum from structured, detailed and traditional to conceptual, spiritual and contemporary, visibly juxtaposing key elements from each cultural tradition to which I belong, I create works which have resonance to our shared core humanity.”
Below – “Seven Sacred Horses”; “Good Hunter Lodge”; “Iinii Skim (Buffalo-She)”; “P’aaksikoyii (Healing Grizzly)”; “Iinii Naapii (Old Man Buffalo)”; “Mayokii Itsikin (Wolf Shoe/Moccasin)”; “Beyond A Shadow Of A Doubt.”