From the Pacific Northwest – Part XXXIII

Musings in Autumn: Roger A. Caras

“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.”

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A Poem for Today

“Traveling Light”
By Linda Pastan

I’m only leaving you
for a handful of days,
but it feels as though
I’ll be gone forever—
the way the door closes

behind me with such solidity,
the way my suitcase
carries everything
I’d need for an eternity
of traveling light.

I’ve left my hotel number
on your desk, instructions
about the dog
and heating dinner. But
like the weather front

they warn is on its way
with its switchblades
of wind and ice,
our lives have minds
of their own.

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Art for November – Part I of II: Joseph Sydney Hallam

Below – “Indian Harbour”

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Musings in Autumn: Willie Nelson

“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

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Canadian Art – Alexander Young Jackson

In the words of one writer, “Born in Montreal in 1882, Alexander Young Jackson left school at the age of twelve and began work at a Montreal printing firm. In 1906, he undertook art studies at the Art Institute in Chicago. The following year he enrolled at the Academie Julian in Paris and remained in France until 1912. During this period, his painting was strongly influenced by the Impressionists.
After his return to Canada, Jackson took up residence in Montreal and made many sketching trips to the surrounding countryside. Lawren Harris and J.E.H. MacDonald were impressed by Jackson’s work and, in 1913, persuaded him to move to Toronto. Jackson’s great sense of adventure carried him from the east coast across Canada to the Rocky Mountains of the west. Every spring, he made regular sketching trips to Quebec and travelled to the far regions of Canada during the summer, including the Canadian Arctic. In the fall, he returned to the Studio Building in Toronto where he lived until 1955, spending his winters painting. He continued this active lifestyle until he was in his eighties. “

Below -“Laurentian Farm”; “Meeting of the Rivers”; “Jack Pine”; “Birch and Maple”; “West Bay Fault, Yellowknife”; “Camsell Portage.”

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A Second Poem for Today

“Souvenir of the Ancient World”
By Carlos Drummond de Andrade

Clara strolled in the garden with the children.
The sky was green over the grass,
the water was golden under the bridges,
other elements were blue and rose and orange,
a policeman smiled, bicycles passed,
a girl stepped onto the lawn to catch a bird,
the whole world—Germany, China—
all was quiet around Clara.

The children looked at the sky: it was not forbidden.
Mouth, nose, eyes were open. There was no danger.
What Clara feared were the flu, the heat, the insects.
Clara feared missing the eleven o’clock trolley:
She waited for letters slow to arrive,
She couldn’t always wear a new dress. But she strolled in the garden, in the morning!
They had gardens, they had mornings in those days!

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“I know not why any one but a schoolboy in his declamation should whine over the Commonwealth of Rome, which grew great only by the misery of the rest of mankind. The Romans, like others, as soon as they grew rich, grew corrupt; and in their corruption sold the lives and freedoms of themselves, and of one another.”

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Art for November – Part II of II: Peter Haworth

Below – “Sky to Sea”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Famous”
By Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

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Musings in Autumn: Mary Wollstonecraft

“England and America owe their liberty to commerce, which created a new species of power to undermine the feudal system. But let them beware of the consequences: the tyranny of wealth is still more galling and debasing than that of rank.”

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American Art – Part I of II: Jacob Lawrence

Artist Statement: “If at times my works do not express the conventionally beautiful, there is always an effort to express the universal beauty of man’s continuous struggle to lift his social position and add dimension to his spiritual being.”

Below – “Artist in Studio”; “Builders Three”; “Market Flora”; “On the Way”; “Tools”; “Builders.”

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William Hazlitt (1778-1830) was an English writer, literary critic, painter, social commentator, and philosopher.

Some quotes from the work of William Hazlitt:

“Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be.”
“The world loves to be amused by hollow professions, to be deceived by flattering appearances, to live in a state of hallucination; and can forgive everything but the plain, downright, simple, honest truth.”
“He who has a contempt for poetry cannot have much respect for himself or for anything else.” “The idea of what the public will think prevents the public from ever thinking at all, and acts as a spell on the exercise of private judgment, so that, in short, the public ear is at the mercy of the first impudent pretender who chooses to fill it with noisy assertions, or false surmises, or secret whispers. What is said by one is heard by all; the supposition that a thing is known to all the world makes all the world believe it, and the hollow repetition of a vague report drowns the ‘still, small voice’ of reason.”
“Those who make their dress a principal part of themselves, will, in general, become of no more value than their dress.”
“The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and endure very much.”
“We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.”
“Travel’s greatest purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
“Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life has a beginning as well as an end. There was a time when we were not: this gives us no concern. Why, then, should it trouble us that a time will come when we shall cease to be?”

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A Fourth Poem for Today

“Done With”
By Ann Stanford

My house is torn down–
Plaster sifting, the pillars broken,
Beams jagged, the wall crushed by the bulldozer.
The whole roof has fallen
On the hall and the kitchen
The bedrooms, the parlor.

They are trampling the garden–
My mother’s lilac, my father’s grapevine,
The freesias, the jonquils, the grasses.
Hot asphalt goes down
Over the torn stems, and hardens.

What will they do in springtime
Those bulbs and stems groping upward
That drown in earth under the paving,
Thick with sap, pale in the dark
As they try the unrolling of green.

May they double themselves
Pushing together up to the sunlight,
May they break through the seal stretched above them
Open and flower and cry we are living.

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Musings in Autumn: Thomas Cole

“Though American scenery is destitute of many of those circumstances that give value to the European, still it has features, and glorious ones, unknown to Europe…the most distinctive, and perhaps the most impressive, characteristic of American scenery is its wildness.”

Below – Thomas Cole: “View of the Round-Top in the Catskill Mountains”

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American Art – Part II of II: Ed Musante

Artist Statement: “I paint images of birds on cigar boxes. There is actually a tradition of artists painting on cigar boxes. In the late 19th century the Nabis in France painted on cigar boxes in order to reject the standard notion of easel painting. I like painting on cigar boxes because the graphics of the boxes frame my paintings and in many cases echo the patterns and colors of the birds I paint.
 Why birds? I am a birder, but these paintings are not scientific illustrations. The birds have attitude and hidden character. The sweet looking Barn Owl is a deadly silent hunter. The diminutive Rufous Hummingbird is notoriously mercurial and territorial.
 The box is repurposed. It is no longer a collector but an object to be looked at.”

Below – “Dusky Flycatcher/Santa Fe”; “Blue Jay/San Felice”; “Falcon/Double Chatea”; “Goldfinch/John Ruskin”; “Alder Flycatcher/Elisardo.”

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