Musings in the New Year: T.S. Eliot
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.”
A Poem for Today
“A New Law”
By Greg Delanty
Let there be a ban on every holiday.
No ringing in the new year.
No fireworks doodling the warm night air.
No holly on the door. I say
let there be no more.
For many are not here who were here before.
Art for Winter – Part I of III: Monika Wright
Below – “A Crack of Light in the Darkness”
Musings in Winter: Aaron Blaylock
“Our plump predicament comes from the way we think. In America life has
become a daily quest for instant gratification. Do we think about the long term? Rarely. We ask ourselves, ‘What sounds good?’ That’s where we get into trouble focusing on what we want rather than what we need. Then we invent new ways to satisfy ourselves.”
Art for Winter – Part II of III: Pei Yang
Below – “Facing Pacific”
Musings in the New Year: Ellen Goodman
“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
Art for Winter – Part III of III: Carl Gordon Cutler
Below – “Seascape”
A Second Poem for Today
By Joy Harjo
Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is.
Remember the sun’s birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother’s, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life, also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe.
Remember you are all people and all people
Remember you are this universe and this
universe is you.
Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember language comes from this.
Remember the dance language is, that life is.
British Art – Graham Little
Painter Graham Little studied at Goldsmiths College, London.
Musings in Winter: Alden Bell
“To stop. To cease, just for a moment. To turn your back on the world, to close your eyes – to see the nothing that is not rather than the nothing that is everywhere around you. To just be quiet in your mind for a little minute.
There are paradises even yet on the abandoned plains of the earth — and they are not filled with fecund flowering Edens but rather just with sweet unerring silences.”
Serbian Art – Vasilije Dolovacki
Painter Vasilije Dolovacki is a graduate of the University of Belgrade.
A Third Poem for Today
By Ada Limon
After the birthing of bombs of forks and fear,
the frantic automatic weapons unleashed,
the spray of bullets into a crowd holding hands,
that brute sky opening in a slate metal maw
that swallows only the unsayable in each of us, what’s
left? Even the hidden nowhere river is poisoned
orange and acidic by a coal mine. How can
you not fear humanity, want to lick the creek
bottom dry to suck the deadly water up into
your own lungs, like venom? Reader, I want to
say, Don’t die. Even when silvery fish after fish
comes back belly up, and the country plummets
into a crepitating crater of hatred, isn’t there still
something singing? The truth is: I don’t know.
But sometimes, I swear I hear it, the wound closing
like a rusted-over garage door, and I can still move
my living limbs into the world without too much
pain, can still marvel at how the dog runs straight
toward the pickup trucks break-necking down
the road, because she thinks she loves them,
because she’s sure, without a doubt, that the loud
roaring things will love her back, her soft small self
alive with desire to share her goddamn enthusiasm,
until I yank the leash back to save her because
I want her to survive forever. Don’t die, I say,
and we decide to walk for a bit longer, starlings
high and fevered above us, winter coming to lay
her cold corpse down upon this little plot of earth.
Perhaps, we are always hurtling our body towards
the thing that will obliterate us, begging for love
from the speeding passage of time, and so maybe
like the dog obedient at my heels, we can walk together
peacefully, at least until the next truck comes.
Musings in Winter: Craig Childs
“Coyotes move within a landscape of attentiveness. I have seen their eyes in the creosote bushes and among mesquite trees. They have watched me. And all the times that I saw no eyes, that I kept walking and never knew, there were still coyotes. When I have seen them trot away, when I have stepped from the floorboard of my truck, leaned on the door, and watched them as they watched me over their shoulders, I have been aware for that moment of how much more there is. Of how I have only seen only an instant of a broad and rich life.”
Mexican Art – Carlos Oviedo
In the words of one writer, “Carlos Oviedo, was born on 1970 in Puebla, México.From the time Oviedo was a child he has taken many art workshops. After that he studied Graphic Design at the Universidad de las Americas Puebla. Oviedo continued studying in the United States for six years making his own investigation and been closely with the work of the great masters of the contemporary Art. They motivated and encouraged him to pursue his talent and further developing of his technique reaching a very high level.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
By Billy Collins
I pour a coating of salt on the table
and make a circle in it with my finger.
This is the cycle of life
I say to no one.
This is the wheel of fortune,
the Arctic Circle.
This is the ring of Kerry
and the white rose of Tralee
I say to the ghosts of my family,
the dead fathers,
the aunt who drowned,
my unborn brothers and sisters,
my unborn children.
This is the sun with its glittering spokes
and the bitter moon.
This is the absolute circle of geometry
I say to the crack in the wall,
to the birds who cross the window.
This is the wheel I just invented
to roll through the rest of my life
touching my finger to my tongue.
Musings in Winter: Tom Allen
“Winter forms our character and brings out our best.”
American Art – Part I of III: Charles Weed
In the words of one writer, “Charles Weed has lived and worked in the exotic places of Amsterdam, Holland and Lucca, Italy. He currently resides near Svendborg, Denmark where he continues to paint, draw, and etch more beautiful works including portraits, figures, still lifes, and landscapes.”
Musings in Winter: John Burroughs
“The sunbeams are welcome now. They seem like pure electricity—like friendly and recuperating lightning. Are we led to think electricity abounds only in summer, when we see in the storm-clouds as it were, the veins and ore-beds of it? I imagine it is equally abundant in winter, and more equable and better tempered. Who ever breasted a snowstorm without being excited and exhilarated, as if this meteor had come charged with latent auroræ of the North, as doubtless it has? It is like being pelted with sparks from a battery.”
A Fifth Poem for Today
By Maggie Smith
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
American Art – Part II of III: Leah Yerpe
Artist Statement: “Contradiction is the foundation of my figurative art. The work is composed of carefully choreographed human bodies on a ground purged of contextualizing marks. By treating these bodies formally as collaged elements rather than as human individuals, I transform them from people into symbols of people. In this way, a subtle violence comes into my work, and I am able to explore the binary oppositions seduction/repulsion, intimacy/depersonalization, and heaven/earth.
An important part of the human condition is a desire for resolution, for a way to put the incongruities of life into order. Despite our efforts, sometimes the closer we seem to approach a conclusion, the more elusive it proves. Yet our perception is left a little richer for the struggle. That situation is what I explore in my work. I am not comfortable with my art. I am too keenly aware of the contradictions inserted below its painstakingly refined surface, and of my struggle to understand them. It challenges, defies, and troubles me. And that is why I make it.”
Musings in Winter: Philip Pullman
“We feel cold, but we don’t mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn’t feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It’s worth being cold for that.”
American Art – Part III of III: Walter Farndon
In the words of one writer, “Living and working in an era of passionate and often controversial changes in the art world, Walter Farndon managed to retain the essential pleasure of creation. Called ‘The Painter’s Painter’ in New York circles, he captured some of America’s most dramatic scenery, particularly the Eastern seaboard – from New Jersey to Nova Scotia – in a bold, intimate style. “
Below – Moonlight on Shore”; “House and River”; “Living by the Bay”; “Woman Reading to Children”; “Houses on the Cliff”; “Steps to the Beach.”