From the Pacific Northwest – Part LXVIII

Musings in Winter: Virginia Woolf

“Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter’s evening, when dusk almost hides the body, and they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day.”

Below – Bryan Larsen: “Winter Evening”

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Art for Winter – Part I of II: William M. Hart (American, 1823-1894)

Below – “Morning on the Coast of Maine”

Hart

Musings in Winter: Terri Guillemets

“Winter is the slow-down
Winter is the search for self
Winter gives the silence you need to listen
Winter goes gray so you can see your own colors.”

Guillemets

Art for Winter – Part II of II: Frederick Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935)

Below – “Cos Cob, Connecticut”

Hassam

A Poem for Today

“Making History”
By Marilyn Nelson

Blue and White Orlon Snowflake Sweater, Blue Snowpants, Red Galoshes
          —Smoky Hill AFB, Kansas, 1955

Somebody took a picture of a class
standing in line to get polio shots,
and published it in the “Weekly Reader.”
We stood like that today. And it did hurt.
Mrs. Liebel said we were Making History,
but all I did was sqwunch up my eyes and wince.
Making History takes more than standing in line
believing little white lies about pain.
Mama says First Negroes are History:
First Negro Telephone Operator,
First Negro Opera Singer At The Met,
First Negro Pilots, First Supreme Court Judge.
That lady in Montgomery just became a First
by sqwunching up her eyes and sitting there.

Below – Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks: an introvert who changed the world.

Musings in Winter: Siegfried Sassoon

“I did not dread the dark winter as people do when they have lost their youth and live alone in some great city.”

Sassoon

Hungarian Art – Abel Szabo

Painter Abel Szabo is a graduate of the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest.

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A Second Poem for Today

“The Museum of Stones”
By Carolyn Forche

These are your stones, assembled in matchbox and tin,
collected from roadside, culvert, and viaduct,
battlefield, threshing floor, basilica, abattoir–
stones, loosened by tanks in the streets
from a city whose earliest map was drawn in ink on linen,
schoolyard stones in the hand of a corpse,
pebble from Apollinaire’s oui,
stone of the mind within us
carried from one silence to another,
stone of cromlech and cairn, schist and shale, horneblende,
agate, marble, millstones, ruins of choirs and shipyards,
chalk, marl, mudstone from temples and tombs,
stone from the tunnel lined with bones,
lava of a city’s entombment, stones
chipped from lighthouse, cell wall, scriptorium,
paving stones from the hands of those who rose against the army,
stones where the bells had fallen, where the bridges were blown,
those that had flown through windows, weighted petitions,
feldspar, rose quartz, blueschist, gneiss and chert,
fragments of an abbey at dusk, sandstone toe
of a Buddha mortared at Bamiyan,
stone from the hill of three crosses and a crypt,
from a chimney where storks cried like human children,
stones newly fallen from stars, a stillness of stones, a heart,
altar and boundary of stone, marker and vessel, first cast, lode and hail,
bridge stones and others to pave and shut up with,
stone apple, stone basil, beech, berry, stone brake,
stone bramble, stone fern, lichen, liverwort, pippin and root,
concretion of the body, as blind as cold as deaf,
all earth a quarry, all life a labor, stone-faced, stone-drunk
with hope that this assemblage of rubble, taken together, would become
a shrine or holy place, an ossuary, immoveable and sacred
like the stone that marked the path of the sun as it entered the human dawn.

Forche

British Art – Peter Worswick

In the words of one writer, “Mainly self taught, Peter describes his images as realist, sensual and modern. He works in oil and other mediums but he prefers pastel as he find that it lends itself very well to the textures he paints. It allows him to create images that combine both rich and delicate colours along with numerous textures. This attention to detail enables him to create beautiful and highly sought after figurative works.”

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A Third Poem for Today

“Old Houses”
By Lizette Woolworth Reese

Old loveliness, set in the country wind,
Or down some vain town road the careless tread,
Like hush of candles lighted for the dead,
That look of yours, half seeing and half blind.
Still do you strain at door, but we come not,
The little maids, the lads, bone of your bone;
In some sad wise, you keep the dusk alone,
Old loveliness, a many a day forgot.
But no; behind each weather do you pass,
The garnered poignancies of all the springs:
At some girl’s belt in Lent the jonquils start;—
But, oh, their like in your old windy grass!
Then are we quick with tears, rememberings;
Once more, once more, are gathered to your heart!

Reese

Musings in Winter: Dean Koontz

“Initially the snow had been beautiful, but not so much now. The softness and sparkle still charmed, but the storm occluded the sky, denying us the stars. At the moment, I needed to see a firmament of stars, needed to gaze past the moon and through the constellations, needed to see what can’t be seen–infinity.”

Koontz

A Fourth Poem for Today

“History”
By Linda Hogan

This is the word that is always bleeding.
You didn’t think this
until your country changes and when it thunders
you search your own body
for a missing hand or leg.
In one country, there are no bodies shown,
lies are told
and the keep hidden the weeping children on dusty streets.

But I do remember once
a woman and a child in beautiful blue clothing
walking over a dune, spreading a green cloth,
drinking nectar with mint and laughing
beneath a sky of clouds from the river
near the true garden of Eden.
Now another country is breaking
this holy vessel
where stone has old stories
and the fire creates clarity in the eyes of a child
who will turn it to hate one day.

We are so used to it now,
this country where we do not love enough,
that country where they do not love enough,
and that.

We do not need a god by any name
nor do we need to fall to our knees or cover ourselves,
enter a church or a river,
only do we need to remember what we do
to one another, it is so fierce
what any of our fathers may do to a child
what any of our brothers or sisters do to nonbelievers,
how we try to discover who is guilty
by becoming guilty,
because history has continued
to open the veins of the world
more and more
always in its search
for something gold.

Hogan

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Mexican Art – Mauricio Fernandez-Gutierrez

Mauricio Fernandez-Gutierrez is a self-taught painter.

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Musings in Winter: Toni Morrison

“Outside, snow solidified itself into graceful forms. The peace of winter stars seemed permanent.”

Morrison

A Fifth Poem for Today

“New Jersey”
By Craig zMorgan Teicher

I was afraid the past would catch up with me,
would find this new house too like the scarred
old childhood home. But it hasn’t yet. A tree
casts soft and gentle shade over our green yard.
I feel forgiven all the sins I didn’t commit
for long minutes at a time. What were they?
I can’t now think of anything wrong with me—I fit
in these rooms, can mostly agree to each day.
For long minutes I don’t even blame my mother
for dying, my father for spending years in bed.
My little traumas are just souvenirs of other
lives, of places I might have once visited.
I’m mostly a father here, a husband, barely a son.
The big sun rises early here, as I do, with everyone.

Teicher

Musings in Winter: Preeth Nambiar

“In the darkness of the night while removing the long colourful gown that covers my nakedness, there is chill penetrating bare cells and the sky is as silent as ever. Another day has withered unto the lap of mighty earth, to make her heart fertile, to feed those lives sprouting and then again to raise up to the skies to kiss life!
This home is not yours, nor this earth! A breeze that caresses the orphan longings of the senses, like that of the softest music – so is life, a passing breeze! All I own is this moment! O night, do you see stars blinking hidden amidst the darkest clouds? O life, can you inhale the fragrance of unborn flowers dancing wet in the rain?
O life, do you hear a song from the farthest skies, a secret melody of silence that I cherish deep within?”

Nambiar

American Art – Part I of II: Walter Griffin

In the words of critic Royal Cortissoz, “His feeling was all for breadth, for generalization, for an effect resembling in its muted richness that of some old tapestry.”

Below – “Summer, Brittany, France”; “Water Cascading”; “Summer in Norway”; “Morning Sunlight, Gray, Maine”; “House on a Hill”; “Stroudwater, Maine.”

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Musings in Winter: Murasaki Shikibu

“People make a great deal of the flowers of spring and the leaves of autumn, but for me a night like this, with a clear moon shining on snow, is the best — and there is not a trace of color in it. I cannot describe the effect it has on me, weird and unearthly somehow. I do not understand people who find a winter evening forbidding.”

Murasaki

American Art – Part II of II: Natasha Dikareva

Artist Statement: “As an artist, I am poised between two worlds; one is the tangible reality I experience on my way to the studio, and the other is the world of possibility in which my sculptures live. I travel between the two, between the physical present and the imaginative future, bringing dreams down to earth, shaping unfamiliar creatures to life. I am a channel, guided by unseen forces of my environment and personal relationships, as well as formal aesthetic concerns. My sculptures use me as a vehicle, communicating their need to grow in a certain direction through my hands.
They become like landmarks, artifacts of another universe, memorabilia from a vacation to another dimension. At times, I imagine my sculptures are visiting us, taking in our sights to bring back to their home planet, carrying the most scenic views on their shells as proof they had seen it. We are just another dimension, another version of reality, another galactic attraction to visit and explore. They notice and record events and places we overlook, adding and recombining imagery on their surfaces as we do in dreams. In the alternate Pompeii, a language of pictures communicates the subconscious on the surface so that these shell-dwelling creatures never struggle to explain their experience. Out of the things we take for granted, a new story emerges.
My influences range from ancient Greek mythology to Eastern philosophies of spiritual transformation. I am interested in depicting the human experience using charged symbolism through which anyone can immerse themselves into a myriad of metaphorical possibilities. Through the back door of the subconscious, I find escape routes from the mundane. I tap the origin of my dreams to extract the elixir of a new understanding and a bright future.”

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