Musings in Winter: Jawaharlal Nehru
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
A Poem for Today
“The Tree Sparrows”
By Joseph O. Legaspi
We suffer through blinding equatorial heat,
refusing to unfold the suspended bamboo shade
nested by a pair of hardworking, cheerless sparrows.
We’ve watched them fly in-and-out of their double
entryways, dried grass, twigs clamped in their beaks.
They skip, nestle in their woodsy tunnel punctured
with light, we presume, not total darkness, their eggs
aglow like lunar orbs. What is a home? How easily
it can be destroyed: the untying of traditional ropes,
pull, the scroll-unraveling. For want of a sweltering
living room to be thrown into relief by shadow.
The sunning couple perch open-winged, tube lofty
as in Aristophanes’ city of birds, home made sturdy
by creature logic and faith that it will all remain afloat.
Musings in Winter: Katherine S. White
“From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens – the garden outdoors, the garden of pots and bowls in the house, and the garden of the mind’s eye.”
Art for Winter – Part I of II: Hermann Herzog (American, 1832-1932)
Below – “A Walk along a Path at Sunset”;
Musings in Winter: Pascal Mercier
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
A Second Poem for Today
“To My Mother”
By Robert Louis Stevenson
You too, my mother, read my rhymes
For love of unforgotten times,
And you may chance to hear once more
The little feet along the floor.
Musings in Winter: Lissa Warren
“All those windows, and not a cat in them. All that light to bask in, wasted.”
Art for Winter – Part II of II: Laura Coombs Hills (American, 1859-1952)
Below – “Lilies and Roses”
Chinese Art – Jiang Enlian
In the words of one writer, “Jiang Enlian was born in Guangzhou in 1949. She is now member of the Guangdong Provincial Fine Arts Association, member of the Guangdong Provincial Serial Pictorial Association, deputy leader of the Guangzhou Xiang Xue (Scent Snow) Calligraphy and Painting Society and a committee member of the Guangzhou Poetry Society.
Jiang Enlian is a graduate of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts. She is good at elaborate, figure painting as well as landscapes and serial pictures. Her works are light and delicate in color, exquisite in style, and rich in poetic flavor, mirroring her unique personality. Many of her masterpieces have been displayed and awarded in provincial and national art exhibitions as well as exhibitions abroad. In October of 1991, Jiang Enlian held a personal exhibition at Guangdong Art Gallery, where she earned high praises for her work. The exhibition was also filmed and made into a special TV feature which was broadcasted a number of times. In addition to TV coverage, her talent at painting also won her attention from newspapers, magazines and journals. Her name has been listed in “Dictionary of Modern Chinese Painters.”
George Carlin – Part II of II (Part I yesterday)
George Carlin (1937-2008) was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor, author, recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (2008), and National Treasure.
Some quotes from the work of George Carlin:
“Everyone smiles in the same language.”
“So I say, ‘Live and let live.’ That’s my motto. ‘Live and let live.’ And anyone who can’t go along with that, take him outside and shoot the motherfucker. It’s a simple philosophy, but it’s always worked in our family.”
“No matter how you care to define it, I do not identify with the local group. Planet, species, race, nation, state, religion, party, union, club, association, neighborhood improvement committee; I have no interest in any of it. I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.”
“Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would’ve been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say “this guy”, because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man.
No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit. Doesn’t give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.”
“People can’t seem to get it through their heads that there is never any healing or closure. Ever. There is only a short pause before the next ‘horrifying’ event. People forget there is such a thing as memory, and that when a wound “heals” it leaves a permanent scar that never goes away, but merely fades a little. What really ought to be said after one of these so-called tragedies is, ‘Let the scarring begin.’”
“Conservatives want live babies so they can train them to be dead soldiers.”
“Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain’s majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.”
“‘I am’ is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that ‘I do’ is the longest sentence?”
“You show me a lazy prick who’s lying in bed all day, watching TV, only occasionally getting up to piss, and I’ll show you a guy who’s not causing any trouble.”
“The IQ and the life expectancy of the average American recently passed each other in opposite directions.”
“I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed.”
“I figured out years ago that the human species is totally fucked and has been for a long time. I also know that the sick, media-consumer culture in America continues to make this so-called problem worse. But the trick, folks, is not to give a fuck. Like me. I really don’t care. I stopped worrying about all this temporal bullshit a long time ago. It’s meaningless.”
“There are women named Faith, Hope, Joy, and Prudence. Why not Despair, Guilt, Rage, and Grief? It seems only right. ‘Tom, I’d like you to meet the girl of my dreams, Tragedy.’ These days, Trajedi.”
“I am a personal optimist but a skeptic about all else. What may sound to some like anger is really nothing more than sympathetic contempt. I view my species with a combination of wonder and pity, and I root for its destruction. And please don’t confuse my point of view with cynicism; the real cynics are the ones who tell you everything’s gonna be all right.”
“There’s a humorous side to every situation. The challenge is to find it.”
Musings in Winter: E. E. Cummings
“The snow doesn’t give a soft white damn whom it touches.”
A Third Poem for Today
“A Home in the Country”
By James Allen Hall
Down on Comegys Road, two miles
from the Rifle Club that meets Wednesdays,
summer to fall, firing into a blackness
they call night but I know is a body,
in unpaved Kennedyville, not far
from the Bight, on five acres of green
organic farm, next to the algaed pond
that yields the best fishing in all of Kent County
(my neighbor says it is a lingering death I deal
the trout when he sees me throw the small
bodies back), down where the commonest
cars are tractors and hayfetchers, and men
wave as they pass, briefly bowing a gentleman’s
straw hat, you can find the wood cabin
where I live, infested with stink bugs.
Every day, my boyfriend asks the murder count,
making light of my hatred. Even reading I sit,
swatter poised on the couch’s arm,
all the windows closed, fans off, the whole house
listening for the thwat of stink alighting
smartly on sun-warmed glass, their soft-backed
geometric carapaces calling to be stopped.
I did not grow up like this, here
on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, but I am most
at home now I live with something inside to kill.
Musings in Winter: Hunter S. Thompson
“All around us were people I had spent ten years avoiding–shapeless women in wool bathing suits, dull-eyed men with hairless legs and self-conscious laughs, all Americans, all fearsomely alike. These people should be kept at home, I thought; lock them in the basement of some goddamn Elks Club and keep them pacified with erotic movies; if they want a vacation, show them a foreign art film; and if they still aren’t satisfied, send them into the wilderness and run them with vicious dogs.”
Armenian Art – Arthur Hovhannisyan
Arthur Hovhannisyan is a graduate of the Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Painting.
Musings in Winter: Jacquetta Hawkes
“In the sheltered heart of the clumps last year’s foliage still clings to the lower branches, tatters of orange that mutter with the passage of the wind, the talk of old women warning the green generation of what they, too, must come to when the sap runs back.”
A Fourth Poem for Today
“Where You Live”
By Jonathan Wells
Imagine you are coming home. Your front
steps are scattered with fresh petals or no
they are not there and you return in your
regular shoes from your regular leather chair.
The feeling is the same. The petals are just
as fine, the colors just as blithe and were placed
or unplaced by the same loving hand
or troubled hand or loving troubled hands.
You walk into the foyer and kiss her cheek
or the air that was merely there when she left
the room. Your kiss is just as eager or as meek,
your lips just as ready to speak as yesterday.
The difference is immense and thin.
The difference is the house you’re living in.
Musings in Winter: Harold Edmund Stearns
“Something must be radically wrong with a culture and a civilisation when its youth begins to desert it. Youth is the natural time for revolt, for experiment, for a generous idealism that is eager for action. Any civilisation which has the wisdom of self-preservation will allow a certain margin of freedom for the expression of this youthful mood. But the plain, unpalatable fact is that in America today that margin of freedom has been reduced to the vanishing point. Rebellious youth is not wanted here. In our environment there is nothing to challenge our young men; there is no flexibility, no colour, no possibility for adventure, no chance to shape events more generously than is permitted under the rules of highly organised looting. All our institutional life combines for the common purpose of blackjacking our youth into the acceptance of the status quo; and not acceptance of it merely, but rather its glorification.”
French Art – Robin Goldring
Painter Robin Goldring lives and works in Paris.
Musings in Winter: Johnn Muir
“Nature chose for a tool, not the earthquake or lightning to rend and split asunder, not the stormy torrent or eroding rain, but the tender snow-flowers noiselessly falling through unnumbered centuries.”
Below – Muir Glacier
A Fifth Poem for Today
“Another of the Happiness Poems”
By Peter Cooley
It’s not that we’re not dying.
Everything is dying.
We hear these rumors of the planet’s end
none of us will be around to watch.
It’s not that we’re not ugly.
Look at your feet, now that your shoes are off.
You could be a duck,
no, duck-billed platypus,
your feet distraction from your ugly nose.
It’s not that we’re not traveling,
But it’s not the broadback Mediterranean
carrying us against the world’s current.
It’s the imagined sea, imagined street,
the winged breakers, the waters we confuse with sky
willingly, so someone out there asks
are you flying or swimming?
That someone envies mortal happiness
like everyone on the other side, the dead
who stand in watch, who would give up their bliss,
their low tide eternity rippleless
for one day back here, alive again with us.
They know the sea and sky I’m walking on
or swimming, flying, they know it’s none of these,
this dancing-standing-still, this turning, turning,
these constant transformations of the wind
I can bring down by singing to myself,
the newborn mornings, these continuals—
British Art – Simon Davis
In the words of one writer, “Simon was born in Stratford-upon-Avon and studied illustration and graphic design at Warwickshire College and Swindon School of Art.”
A Sixth Poem for Today
By Margo Taft Stever
My childhood house is stripped,
bared, open to the public.
The for-sale sign impales
the front pasture, grass
is cut and prim, no trimmings
left to save.
Women in sable parade
through halls and men in
tailored suits talk about
dimensions. They don’t know
lizards present themselves
on the basement stairs or worms
dapple pears in the orchard.
Doors of rabbit hutches
hang from hinges and rust
scratches on rust in wind, noise
unheard by workers who
remodel the old farmhouse
into an Italian villa painted peach.
Death can empty a house of shoes
worn and new, of children
who climbed the grandfather
trees, impressing outlines like fossils
littering the banks of the creek.
Musings in Winter: Jeffrey Eugenides
“Historical fact: People stopped being people in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, however, the adaptation has been passed down: we’ve all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right into joy-sticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds.”
American Art – Liz Haywood-Sullivan: Part I of II
In the words of one writer, “Based in Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts, Liz Haywood-Sullivan, PSA, is a representational artist working in pastel.”
Below – “Midsummer, Boston”; “Sunset Triptych”; “Riverside Landing”; “Reeds, Ripples and Reflections”; “Mt. Washington from Long Island, ME”; “Moving Complements.”
A Seventh Poem for Today
“A Carpapalooza: An American Anthem”
By Regie Cabico
I can write about colonialism, Disney, riots
& inoculations. Centuries of American history
before me: Pocahontas’ bust, Rosa Parks
arrest records, Elvis Presley meeting Nixon
but with only an hour to go before recording
a poem at The National Archives, I’m in
Starbucks obsessed and struggling
with the queerest piece of literature
in the Archives- Eat The Carp. The Bureau
of Fisheries urges Americans to Eat The Carp.
This resilient variety of fish that lolled the tea
gardens of Japan & became the staple
for gefilte to Jews is 43 million pounds strong
at the turn of the 20th century. We were coaxed
to eat carp croquettes, jelly and caviar. Before
there were Mcnuggets, there was the Carp.
These over-sized gold fish that multiplied
from Carolina to California with the force
of horseless carriages pounding through
our streams. How do I pay homage to this
tenacious piece of protein that has fortified
our American bellies. For weeks, I have labored
over composing haikus to the Carp, Neruda-like
odes to the Carp. Howl Allen Ginsberg-style
to the Carp. Sketch a Jackson Pollock splatter
of concrete poetry all over our marbled
Carp-ital City to the Carp. I even wanted to write
something personally ethnic like a Filipino riddle
to the Carp. Ultimately, this is a Carpe Diem poem
to the Carp. So I say to you live and roam free
as the Carp. Seize the Carp! Roast the Carp
till our appetites are lit into star spangled flames
leading us into a new dawn of Omega 3’s
& prosperity. Oh Lord, give me Carp & the power
to forge and be prolific as Carp. Though I can’t pay
my student loans & while I haven’t found a husband
on Plenty of Fish, Scruff, Tinder & OK Cupid. I am
Ok Carp, Gung Ho Carp, Play The Carp, Watch me
star in ‘Les Carpelables,’ the musical: “Carp On High,
Hear My Prayer…” Carplohoma: “Carplohoma
where the carp come sweeping through the plains…”
Give me Carp crispy-fried in Crisco & well done!
Oh Lord, serve me a sweltering sausage of Carp
smeared with a smack of sriracha, a kiss of mayo
& mustard on a whole wheat bun.
Musings in Winter: Henry David Thoreau
“I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech-tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.”
American Art – Liz Haywood-Sullivan: Part II of II
In the words of one writer, “After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1978 with a degree in Environmental Design, she worked as an industrial designer, exhibit designer, and professional illustrator prior to spending 11 years operating Haywood & Sullivan, Inc., a full-service graphic design business with her husband. In 1996 she decided to leave graphic design to pursue what she describes as a ‘love affair’ with pastels through a full-time art career.”
Below – “Passage to the Beach”; “Solstice”; “Rexhame Cedar”; “On the Kresque Rocks”; “River Road, Chatham”; “Harbor Dusk.”