Musings in Winter:Vera Nazarian
“Frost grows on the window glass, forming whorl patterns of lovely translucent geometry.
Breathe on the glass, and you give frost more ammunition.
Now it can build castles and cities and whole ice continents with your breath’s vapor.
In a few blinks you can almost see the winter fairies moving in . . .
But first, you hear the crackle of their wings.”
Art for Winter – Part I of III: George Albert Frost (American, 1843-1907)
Below – “View of Groton, Massachusetts, from Gibbet Hill”
Musings in the New Year: Charlotte Eriksson
“Dear world, I am excited to be alive in you, and I am thankful for another year.”
Art for Winter – Part II of III: Frederick Carl Frieseke (American, 1874-1939)
Below – “Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, France”
A Poem for Today
“Those Winter Sundays”
By Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.
I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?
Art for Winter – Part III of III: Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917-2009)
Below – “The Dam”
A Second Poem for Today
By Marvin Bell
We need some pines to assuage the darkness
when it blankets the mind,
we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly
as a plane’s wing, and a worn bed of
needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,
and a blur or two of a wild thing
that sees and is not seen. We need these things
between appointments, after work,
and, if we keep them, then someone someday,
lying down after a walk
and supper, with the fire hole wet down,
the whole night sky set at a particular
time, without numbers or hours, will cause
a little sound of thanks–a zipper or a snap–
to close round the moment and the thought
of whatever good we did.
Musings in Winter: Johann Wolfgang Goethe
“Our destiny often looks like a fruit-tree in winter. Who would think from its pitiable aspect that those rigid boughs, those rough twigs could next spring again be green, bloom, and even bear fruit? Yet we hope it, we know it.”
A Third Poem for Today
By Claudia Eder
“Everyone needs one untranslatable song.” – Juarroz
On hearing the striped contralto of guinea fowl,
its mock opera quivers the parsley atop its head—
The song makes its imprint
in the air, making itself felt,
a felt world. Here, there,
the stunned silence
of knowing I will not remember
what I heard;
that will never happen,
a fluidity we cannot achieve
except as a child
This is the untranslatable song
hidden in the earth.
Argentinean Art – Alicia Lezcano
Painter Alicia Lezcano lives and works in Buenos Aires.
Musings in the New Year: Mehmet Murat Ildan
“The New Year is a painting not yet painted; a path not yet stepped on; a wing not yet taken off! Things haven’t happened as yet! Before the clock strikes twelve, remember that you are blessed with the ability to reshape your life!”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“When Giving Is All We Have”
By Alberto Rios
One river gives Its journey to the next.
We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.
We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.
We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—
Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.
Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:
Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.
You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me
What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made
Something greater from the difference.
Musings in Winter: Author Unknown
“Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat.”
Swedish Art – Joacim Johansson
Artist Statement: “I have been painting full-time since 1989. I paint in oil or acrylic.”
Musings in Winter: Walker Percy
“This Midwestern sky is the nakedest loneliest sky in America. To escape it, people live inside and underground.”
A Fifth Poem for Today
By Li-Young Lee
When I lay my head in my mother’s lap
I think how day hides the stars,
the way I lay hidden once, waiting
inside my mother’s singing to herself. And I remember
how she carried me on her back
between home and the kindergarten,
once each morning and once each afternoon.
I don’t know what my mother’s thinking.
When my son lays his head in my lap, I wonder:
Do his father’s kisses keep his father’s worries
from becoming his? I think, Dear God, and remember
there are stars we haven’t heard from yet:
They have so far to arrive. Amen,
I think, and I feel almost comforted.
I’ve no idea what my child is thinking.
Between two unknowns, I live my life.
Between my mother’s hopes, older than I am
by coming before me, and my child’s wishes, older than I am
by outliving me. And what’s it like?
Is it a door, and good-bye on either side?
A window, and eternity on either side?
Yes, and a little singing between two great rests.
Russian Art – Masha Kholmogorova
Masha Kholmogorova is a graduate of both the Vladivostok Art School and the Far Eastern Academy of Arts.
Musings in the New Year: G.K. Chesterton
“The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.”
A Sixth Poem for Today
By Eleanor Lerman
This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who say, Last night,
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?
Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.
And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.
Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you
were born at a good time. Because you were able
to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have and started again.
So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.
Musings in Winter:John B. Tabb
“Are ye the ghosts of fallen leaves, O flakes of snow, For which, through naked trees, the winds A-mourning go?”
Claudia Venuto (born 1978) studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence.
Musings in the New Year: Dominic Riccitello
“I went into the new year loving myself in different ways, in a different possibility. It was then that I understood things I hadn’t. It was then that I understood people I hadn’t. We work in ways where sometimes we don’t align because our intersections lead us elsewhere. We find ourselves in rapids which lead to lightning, in beds that leave us homesick. We lust after the impetuous, in hopelessness, and sometimes in the reactive.
We like things and people who are bad for us and that’s fine. It’s fine because it’s life. It happens. They exist. We exist. We all exist together in this world where nothing seems to make sense. Where everything is nothing but imaginary because it’s what we imagine it to be. Reality exists and it’s there, but life is what you make it. Your actions ask for it. How you exist is how you exist.
We take every new year and give it a theme because we’re scared of how it could be. You change in the moment, not by years. You be to become and becoming is something which frightens people. Lead by example instead of letting the example lead you. Take this new year and find yourself in people who question it because questioning is how you gain from it.”
British Art – Daphne Todd
In the words of one writer, “Daphne Todd OBE (born 1947) is an English artist who was the first female President of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters from 1994–2000.”
Musings in Winter: Terri Guillemets
“The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination.”
American Art – Sangram Majumdar
Sangram Majumdar has earned a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Indiana University.