Musings on a Rainy Friday

Musings in Spring: Jay Crownover

“My home is a little more complicated than coordinates on a map.”

Art for Spring – Part I of VI: Charles Henry Alston (American, 1907-1977)

Below – “Uptown Harlem”

A Poem for Today

“Housekeeping”
By Natasha Trethewey

We mourn the broken things, chair legs
wrenched from their seats, chipped plates,
the threadbare clothes. We work the magic
of glue, drive the nails, mend the holes.
We save what we can, melt small pieces
of soap, gather fallen pecans, keep neck bones
for soup. Beating rugs against the house,
we watch dust, lit like stars, spreading
across the yard. Late afternoon, we draw
the blinds to cool the rooms, drive the bugs
out. My mother irons, singing, lost in reverie.
I mark the pages of a mail-order catalog,
listen for passing cars. All day we watch
for the mail, some news from a distant place.

Below – George Albert Thompson: “Woman Looking out a Window”

Art for Spring – Part II of VI:Mathias Joseph Alten (American, 1871-1938)

Below – “Landscape with Trees and Stream”

Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats

“When one gets quiet, then something wakes up inside one, something happy and quiet like the stars.”

Below – Koho Shoda (1871-1946): “Fishing Boat on a Moonlit Sea”

Art for Spring – Part III of VI: John Altoon (American, 1925-1969)

Below – “Coffee Drinkers”

A Second Poem for Today

“My Mother’s Music”
By Emilie Buchwald

In the evenings of my childhood,
when I went to bed,
music washed into the cove of my room,
my door open to a slice of light.

I felt a melancholy I couldn’t have named,
a longing for what I couldn’t yet have said
or understood but still
knew was longing,
knew was sadness
untouched by time.

Sometimes
the music was a rippling stream
of clear water rushing
over a bed of river stones
caught in sunlight.

And many nights
I crept from bed
to watch her
swaying where she sat
overtaken by the tide,
her arms rowing the music
out of the piano.

Below – Leo Bervoets: “Woman Playing the Piano”

Art for Spring – Part IV of VI: Elba Alvarez (Venezuelan, contemporary)

Below – Untitled Landscape

Musings in Spring: Zeena Schreck

“Modern materialists and religious extremists alike lack the spiritual animistic reverence for non-human beings that every culture once understood as a given.”

Art for Spring – Part V of VI: Frederick Amat (Spanish, contemporary)

Below – Untitled Bronze

A Third Poem for Today

“Prayer”
By Dana Gioia

Echo of the clocktower, footstep
in the alleyway, sweep
of the wind sifting the leaves.

Jeweller of the spiderweb, connoisseur
of autumn’s opulence, blade of lightning
harvesting the sky.

Keeper of the small gate, choreographer
of entrances and exits, midnight
whisper traveling the wires.

Seducer, healer, deity or thief,
I will see you soon enough—
in the shadow of the rainfall,

in the brief violet darkening a sunset—
but until then I pray watch over him
as a mountain guards its covert ore

and the harsh falcon its flightless young.

Note: In the words of Ted Kooser, “This beautiful poem remembers his first son, Michael Jasper, whom Gioia and his wife Mary lost in infancy.”

Art for Spring – Part VI of VI: Timur Amiry (Iranian, contemporary)

Below – “One Dollar and Twenty-Two Cents”

Musings in Spring: Vita Sackville-West

“She walks in the loveliness she made,
Between the apple-blossom and the water–
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.”

Below – Hamilton Hamilton: “Falling Apple Blossoms”

American Art – Carlos Almaraz

In the words of one writer, “Carlos Almaraz Mexican/American Artist: 1941-1989. Carlos Almaraz. Almaraz was born in Mexico City, but his family moved when he was a young child, settling in Chicago, Illinois, where his father owned a restaurant for five years and worked in Gary steel mills for another four. The neighborhood Almaraz and his brother were raised in was multicultural, which led him to appreciate the melting pot of American culture. In 1961, Almaraz moved to New York city, with Dan Guerrero, the son of Lalo Guerrero. He left after six months to take advantage of a scholarship offered him by Otis Art Institute. He returned to New York and lived there from 1966 to 1969, where he struggled as a painter in the middle of the new wave movements of the era. His “Echo Park” series of paintings, named after a Los Angeles park of the same name, became known worldwide and have been displayed in many museums internationally.”

Below – “Southwest Song”; “Moonlight Theater”; “Echo Park 4”; “Greed”; “Fools Paradise”; “Echo Park 3.”

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