A Poem for Today
By Jane Hirshfield
When his ship first came to Australia,
Cook wrote, the natives
continued fishing, without looking up.
Unable, it seems, to fear what was too large to be comprehended
Art for December – Part I of IV: Gloria Muriel
Below – “Mr. Spirit Fox”
Musings in December: Carol Emshwiller
“Maybe it’s animalness that will make the world right again: the wisdom of elephants, the enthusiasm of canines, the grace of snakes, the mildness of anteaters. Perhaps being human needs some diluting.”
Art for December – Part II of IV: Joe Palasi
Below – “One Afternoon”
Musings in December: J. Richard Singleton
“Los Angeles is a city made up of refugees from better cities.”
Serbian Art – Di Vogo – Dragan Ilic
Artist Statement (partial): “Boundaries of art have no shape, colour and smell; therefore, even if they existed, we would not be able to know that we have stepped on them. If you seek art, you may find it in everything around you. Mainly in style, since man is style.
The art is always one and the same, though it may be more or less present at a particular moment and in particular place. The art does not progress or regress, it only goes through transformations.The consciousness about art does not progress either, although we wish it would. The need for art does not grow or decrease.”
A Second Poem for Today
“In a cornfield at the bottom of a sandstone canyon”
By Sherwin Bitsui
In a cornfield at the bottom of a sandstone canyon,
wearing the gloves of this song tightly over closed ears;
the bursting sun presses licks of flame
into our throats swelling with ghost dogs
nibbling on hands that roped off our footprints
keeping what is outside ours tucked
beneath the warmth of their feet cooling to zero,
as they swarm luminous landmines like gnats,
as thunder shakes white sand from wet hair,
as police sirens trickle from water jars onto squash blossoms,
as starlight, opened inside a darkened room,
begins to tell its story from end to beginning again.
Art for December – Part III of IV: Anna Stump
Below – “Nude with Scarf”
Musings in December: Mark Carwardine
“In every remote corner of the world there are people like Carl Jones and Don Merton who have devoted their lives to saving threatened species. Very often, their determination is all that stands between an endangered species and extinction.
But why do they bother? Does it really matter if the Yangtze river dolphin, or the kakapo, or the northern white rhino, or any other species live on only in scientists’ notebooks?
Well, yes, it does. Every animal and plant is an integral part of its environment: even Komodo dragons have a major role to play in maintaining the ecological stability of their delicate island homes. If they disappear, so could many other species. And conservation is very much in tune with our survival. Animals and plants provide us with life-saving drugs and food, they pollinate crops and provide important ingredients or many industrial processes. Ironically, it is often not the big and beautiful creatures, but the ugly and less dramatic ones, that we need most.
Even so, the loss of a few species may seem irrelevant compared to major environmental problems such as global warming or the destruction of the ozone layer. But while nature has considerable resilience, there is a limit to how far that resilience can be stretched. No one knows how close to the limit we are getting. The darker it gets, the faster we’re driving.
There is one last reason for caring, and I believe that no other is necessary. It is certainly the reason why so many people have devoted their lives to protecting the likes of rhinos, parakeets, kakapos, and dolphins. And it is simply this: the world would be a poorer, darker, lonelier place without them.”
Art for December – Part IV of IV: Laura Ball
Below – “Pegasus Mandala”
Musings in December: David B. Lentz
“Only love can endure this random life.”
A Third Poem for Today
“A Person Protests to Fate”
By Jane Hirshfield
A person protests to fate:
“The things you have caused
me most to want
are those that furthest elude me.”
Fate is sympathetic.
To tie the shoes, button a shirt,
for only the very young,
the very old.
During the long middle:
conjugating a rivet
training the cat to stay off the table
preserving a single moment longer than this one
continuing to wake whatever has happened the day before
and the penmanships love practices inside the body.
Canadian Art – Part I of II: Heather Haynes
In the words of one critic, “Heather Haynes’ first shows were bi-annual exhibitions held at her studio. These were met with great enthusiasm by local collectors, and the young artist soon developed an ardent following across Canada, Britain, and the United States. Her paintings reflects the rural landscapes around her home in the Thousands Islands district in Ontario.”
Below – “Waiting Watching”; untitled; untitled; “Split Bow”; untitled; “The Soul of the Earth.”
Musings in December: Chief Luther Standing Bear
“Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them… The animals had rights – the right of man’s protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man’s indebtedness. This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.”
Canadian Art – Part II of II: Tom Kerwin
In the words of one writer, “Tom Kerwin’s passion for the fine arts to continues the tradition of capturing the beauty and spirit of Canada. Tom’s goal is to convey ‘the essence of Canada’ – traditional Canadian landscapes with a new spirit.”
Below – “Shadow Bay”; “Reaching Out”; “River Birch”; “Wild Sumac”; “Shimmering Bay”; “Blue Birch.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
By Wislawa Szymborska
Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.
Even if there is no one dumber,
if you’re the planet’s biggest dunce,
you can’t repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.
No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with precisely the same kisses.
One day, perhaps some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
into the room, all hue and scent.
The next day, though you’re here with me,
I can’t help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?
Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It’s in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.
With smiles and kisses, we prefer
to seek accord beneath our star,
although we’re different (we concur)
just as two drops of water are.
Musings in December: Rebecca McNutt
“I guess if there’s one thing I can say about the 21st century, it’s that the 21st century is all flash and no substance… everything is digital, nothing but files of invisible electronic data on computers and mindless zombies on their cellular phones… it’s sad how because of the digital age, society is ultimately doomed. Nothing in the digital age is real anymore, and you know, they say celluloid film and ray tube televisions and maybe even paper might become obsolete in this century? …What’s most annoying is that nobody cares, they’ve just learned to accept the digital age and get addicted to it… none of them are ever going to step up and say to the world, “you’re all a bunch of sheep!” and even if they did say anything, I doubt anyone would listen… they’re all too obsessed and attached to their cellular phones and overly big televisions and whatever other moronic things they’ve got these days… it almost makes me want an apocalypse to happen, to erase digital technology and force the world to start over again.”
American Art – Frank Licsko
Artist Statement: “I love to paint light, particularly light on water. I use traditional oils on linen or cotton canvas, and classical brush techniques. I do not use computers, or other mechanical means to create my paintings. I paint about twelve hours a day, happily willing to take the time necessary to achieve the vision I see.”
Below – “Tree of Life”; “Eucalyptus”; “Real Gold”; “Red Tails in the Sunset”; “Solid Oak”; “Arbutus Hill”; “Blue Moon”; “Cypress.”