Sentient in San Francisco – 15 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 15 April 1877 – Georg Kolbe, a German sculptor.

Below – “Bather”; “Sitter”; “Supplicator”; “The Cathedral”; “Genius”; “Grief.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 15 April 1861 – William Bliss Carman, a Canadian poet.

“A Vagabond Song”
by Bliss Carman

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.


This Date in Art History: Born 15 April 1889 – Thomas Hart Benton, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “New York, Early Twenties”; “People of Chilmark”; “Achelous and Hercules”; “Cradling Wheat”; “Flood Disaster”; “Persephone.”

This Date in World History: 15 April 1912 – After hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic, the British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks. Only 710 of 2,227 passengers on board survive.

Below – The last known photograph of the Titanic.

This Date in Art History: Born 15 April 1889 – Thomas Hart Benton, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “The Arts of the West”; “Night Firing of Tobacco”; “Trail Riders”; “Spring on the Missouri”; “America Today”; “The Twist.”

“Arts of the West”

This Date in Literary History: Born 15 April 1931 – Tomas Transtromer, a Swedish poet, translator, and recipient of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Three quotes from the work of Tomas Transtromer:

“We always feel younger than we are. I carry inside myself my earlier faces, as a tree contains its rings. The sum of them is me. The mirror sees only my latest face, while I know all my previous ones.”
“It’s always so early in here, before the crossroads, before the irrevocable choices. Thank you for this life! Still I miss the alternatives. The sketches, all of them, want to become real.”
“Tired of all who come with words, words but no language
I went to the snow-covered island.
The wild does not have words.
The unwritten pages spread themselves out in all directions!
I come across the marks of roe-deer’s hooves in the snow.
Language, but no words.”

Contemporary French Art – Marie-Elisabeth Merlin: Part I of II.

Below – “Il était une fois, Le parc”; “Il était une fois, Les ceuilleuses de Lotus et les Loups”; “Il était une fois, Avez-vous entendu?”; “Il était une fois, Solitaire”; “La Petite”; “Pan, Bang, Splach! .”

A poem for Today

“Burning the Book”
by Ron Koertge

“Burning the Book”

The anthology of love poems I bought
for a quarter is brittle, anyway, and comes
apart when I read it.

One at a time, I throw pages on the fire
and watch smoke make its way up
and out.

I’m almost to the index when I hear
a murmuring in the street. My neighbors
are watching it snow.

I put on my blue jacket and join them.
The children stand with their mouths
open.

Contemporary French Art – Marie-Elisabeth Merlin: Part II of II.

Below –  “The Man in Red”; “L’Entremêlée”; “L’Arbre Rouge, ou,Te souviens-tu de ta naissance?”; “Il était Une fois, Poésie du coeur”; “

This Date in Literary History: Died 15 April 1888 – Matthew Arnold, an English poet and critic.

Some quotes from the work of Matthew Arnold:

“Life is not having and getting, but being and becoming
“The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.
“Culture, the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world, and thus with the history of the human spirit.”
“Poetry is simply the most beautiful, impressive, and widely effective mode of saying things.”
“The bent of our time is towards science, towards knowing things as they are.”
“This strange disease of modern life,
With its sick hurry, its divided aims.”
“But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life,
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us, to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.”
“Dover Beach”
The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

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