Sentient in San Francisco – 10 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 10 April 1975 – Walker Evans, an American photographer and photojournalist. In the words of one writer, Evans was best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) documenting the effects of the Great Depression.”: Part I of II.

Below – “Tenant Farmer’s Wife, Alabama, 1936”; “Brooklyn, 1939”; “Portrait of a Woman, Tahiti, 1932”; “42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, 1929”; “Fish Market Near Birmingham, Alabama, 1936”; “Bud Fields and His Family, Hale County, Alabama, 1936.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 10 April 1931 – Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese-American poet, painter, philosopher, and author of “The Prophet.”
Among countercultural types during the 1960s, “The Prophet” was required reading. It is one of the most translated books in literary history.

Some quotes from the work of Kahlil Gibran:

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.”
“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention.”
“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.”
“You may forget with whom you laughed, but you will never forget with whom you wept.”
“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.”
“We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.”
“Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.”
“And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
“A traveller I am, and a navigator, and everyday I discover a new region within my soul.”

This Date in Art History: Died 10 April 1975 – Walker Evans, an American photographer and photojournalist. In the words of one writer, Evans was best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) documenting the effects of the Great Depression.”: Part II of II.

Below – “Couple at Coney Island, 1928“; Country Church near Beaufort, SC, 1935”; “Interior Detail, West Virginia Coal Miner’s House, 1935”; “Stove, Heiker House, Cranberry Island, Maine , 1969”; “The Home Organ, Chester, Nova Scotia , ca. 1968–1970”; “Johnstown, Pennsylvania , 1962.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 10 April 1942 – Stuart Dybek, an American novelist, short story writer, and poet.

by Stuart Dybek

Sometimes they are the only thing beautiful
about a hotel.
Like transients,
come winter they have a way of disappearing,
disguised as dirty light,
limp beside a puttied pane.
Then some April afternoon
a roomer jacks a window open,
a breeze intrudes,
resuscitates memory,
and suddenly they want to fly,
while men,
looking up from the street,
are deceived a moment
into thinking
a girl in an upper story
is waving.


Contemporary French Art – Khaled Morad

Below –  “The Seeker”; “The River.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 10 April 1941 – Paul Theroux, an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, travel writer, and author of “The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia.”

Some quotes from the work of Paul Theroux:

“The wish to travel seems to me characteristically human: the desire to move, to satisfy your curiosity or ease your fears, to change the circumstances of your life, to be a stranger, to make a friend, to experience an exotic landscape, to risk the unknown.”
“You go away for a long time and return a different person – you never come all the way back.”
“My love for traveling to islands amounts to a pathological condition known as nesomania, an obsession with islands. This craze seems reasonable to me, because islands are small self-contained worlds that can help us understand larger ones.”
“It is usually expensive and lonely to be principled.”
“Travel is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with existence or the exotic. It is almost always an inner experience.”
“There has to be a measure of difficulty or problem-solving in travel for it to be worthwhile.”
“It is almost axiomatic that the worst trains take you through magical places.”
“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”

Contemporary British Art – Lily Greenwood

Below – “Butterflies on Crimson”; “Koi on Crimson with Turquoise and Gold”; “Maple on Prussian Blue/Copper/Gold”; “Koi Under Maple”; “Swallows at Dawn.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 10 April 2009 – Deborah Digges, an American poet.

“Greeter of Souls”
by Deborah Digges

Ponds are spring-fed, lakes run off rivers.
Here souls pass, not one deified,
and sometimes this is terrible to know
three floors below the street, where light drinks the world,
siphoned like music through portals.
How fed, that dark, the octaves framed faceless.
A memory of water.
The trees more beautiful not themselves.
Souls who have passed here, tired, brightening.
Dumpsters of linen, empty
gurneys along corridors to parking garages.
Who wonders, is it morning?
Who washes these blankets?
Can I not be the greeter of souls?
What’s to be done with the envelopes of hair?
If the inlets are frozen, can I walk across?
When I look down into myself to see a scattering of birds,
do I put on the new garments?
On which side of the river should I wait?

Below – Joachim Patinier (Flemish, circa 1480-1524): “Landscape with Charon Crossing the Styx” (circa 1515-1524)

Contemporary Dutch Art – Liesbeth Meulman

Below – “Red fields”; “Peaceful”; “landscape”; “Reflection”; “Blossom.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 10 April 1966 – Evelyn Waugh, an English novelist, journalist, critic, travel writer, and author of “Brideshead Revisited” and “The Loved One.”

Some quotes from the work of Evelyn Waugh:

“Perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols; vagabond-language scrawled on gate-posts and paving-stones along the weary road that others have tramped before us; perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us.”
“I should like to bury something precious in every place where I’ve been happy and then, when I’m old and ugly and miserable, I could come back and dig it up and remember.”
“Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.”
“To know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom.”
“Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there’s no room for the present at all.”
“Beer commercials are so patriotic: Made the American Way. What does that have to do with America? Is that what America stands for? Feeling sluggish and urinating frequently?”
“For in that city [New York] there is neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistake for energy.”
“An artist must be a reactionary. He has to stand out against the tenor of the age and not go flopping along.”
“I did not know it was possible to be so miserable and live but I am told that this is a common experience.”
“But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 9 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 9 April 1882 – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an English painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Lady Lilith”; “The Blessed Damozel”; “Proserpine.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 9 April 1821 – Charles Baudelaire, a French poet.

by Charles Baudelaire

Wise up, Sorrow. Calm down.
You always lay claim to twilight. Well, here it is, brother,
It descends. Obscurity settles over the town,
bringing peace to one, worry to another.

The restless crowd, whipped on by pleasure—
our dogged torturer—carry their hearts’ raw
remorse with them as they serve their vapid leisure,
while you, my Sorrow, drop by here, take my hand, and draw

me apart from them. We watch the dying years
in faded gowns lean out from heaven’s balconies, as Regret rears,
smiling, out of the deep dark where the dead ones march.

Dragging its long train—now a shroud—from its early light
in the East, the sun goes to sleep under an arch.
Listen, Sorrow, beloved, to the soft approach of Night.

Below – Eugeny Lushpin: “Winter Twilight Town”

This Date in Art History: Died 9 April 1882 – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an English painter: Part II of II.

Below – “The Bower Meadow”; “Aurelia”; “The Beloved (The Bride)”; “Helen of Troy”; “La Ghirlandata.”

Remembering a Great Statesman on the Date of His Birth: Born 9 April 1905 – J. William Fulbright, attorney, politician, and founder of the Fulbright Program.

Some quotes from the work of J. William Fulbright:

“The essence of intercultural education is the acquisition of empathy-the ability to see the world as others see it, and to allow for the possibility that others may see something we have failed to see, or may see it more accurately. The simple purpose of the exchange program…is to erode the culturally rooted mistrust that sets nations against one another. The exchange program is not a panacea but an avenue of hope.”
“When public men indulge themselves in abuse, when they deny others a fair trial, when they resort to innuendo and insinuation, to libel, scandal, and suspicion, then our democratic society is outraged, and democracy is baffled. It has no apparatus to deal with the boor, the liar, the lout, and the antidemocrat in general.”
“Educational exchange can turn nations into people, contributing as no other form of communication can to the humanizing of international relations.”
“The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership…. a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures.”
“In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects.”
“In the long course of history, having people who understand your thought is much greater security than another submarine.”
“The rapprochement of peoples is only possible when differences of culture and outlook are respected and appreciated rather than feared and condemned, when the common bond of human dignity is recognized as the essential bond for a peaceful world.”
“Education is a slow-moving but powerful force. It may not be fast enough or strong enough to save us from catastrophe, but it is the strongest force available for that purpose and in its proper place, therefore, is not at the periphery, but at the center of international relations.”
“A nation’s budget is full of moral implications; it tells what a society cares about and what it does not care about; it tells what its values are.”
“There are two Americas. One is the America of Lincoln and Adlai Stevenson; the other is the America of Teddy Roosevelt and the modern superpatriots. One is generous and humane, the other narrowly egotistical; one is self-critical, the other self-righteous; one is sensible, the other romantic; one is good-humored, the other solemn; one is inquiring, the other pontificating; one is moderate, the other filled with passionate intensity; one is judicious and the other arrogant in the use of great power.”
“The price of empire is America’s soul, and that price is too high.”
“To criticize one’s country is to do it a service…. Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism-a higher form of patriotism, I believe, than the familiar rituals and national adulation.”

This Date in Art History: Died April 9 1893 – Charles E. Burchfield, an American painter.

Below – “The Bower”; “Backyard – Late Winter”; “Golden Dream”; Untitled (The Freight Train); “February Thaw”; “Freight Train.”

Musings in Spring: Robert Henri

“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Jacek Malinowski

Below – “in the orchard”; “Touscany XXXI”; “Landscape III”; “Light II.”

A Poem for Today

by Lisel Mueller

What happened is, we grew lonely
living among the things,
so we gave the clock a face,
the chair a back,
the table four stout legs
which will never suffer fatigue.

We fitted our shoes with tongues
as smooth as our own
and hung tongues inside bells
so we could listen
to their emotional language,

and because we loved graceful profiles
the pitcher received a lip,
the bottle a long, slender neck.

Even what was beyond us
was recast in our image;
we gave the country a heart,
the storm an eye,
the cave a mouth
so we could pass into safety.

Below – A grandfather clock.


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Sentient in San Francisco – 8 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 8 April 1867 – Allen Butler Talcott, an American painter.

Below – “Return of the Redwing”; “Lyme Meadow”; “The Great Oak”; “River Island”; “Evening”; “The Bright Light of Autumn.”

Musings in Spring: Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.”

This Date in Art History: Born 8 April 1871 – Clarence Hudson White, an American photographer. In the words of one writer, “After visiting the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, he took up photography. Although he was completely self-taught in the medium, within a few years he was internationally known for his pictorial photographs that captured the spirit and sentimentality of America in the early twentieth century.“

Below – “Spring – A Triptych”; “The Bubble”; “The Sea (Rose Pastor Stokes, Caritas Island, Connecticut)”; “Drops of Rain”; “Torso” (jointly created by White and Alfred Stieglitz).

A Poem for Today

“The Pull Toy”
by A. E. Stallings

You squeezed its leash in your fist,
It followed where you led:
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
Nodding its wooden head.

Wagging a tail on a spring,
Its wheels gearing lackety-clack,
Dogging your heels the length of the house,
Though you seldom glanced back.

It didn’t mind being dragged
When it toppled on its side
Scraping its coat of primary colors:
Love has no pride.

But now that you run and climb
And leap, it has no hope
Of keeping up, so it sits, hunched
At the end of its short rope

And dreams of a rummage sale
Where it’s snapped up for a song,
And of somebody—somebody just like you—
Stringing it along.

This Date in Art History: Born 8 April 1944 – Odd Nerdrum, a Swedish-born Norwegian figurative painter and illustrator.

Below – “Newlungshavn”; “Dawn”; “Drifting”; “Three Men at Dawn”; “Pregnant Women with Followers”; “Woman with Milk.”

Musing in Spring: Pablo Neruda

“I will bring you flowers from the mountains, bluebells, dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses. I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.”

Contemporary American Art – Adalberto Ortiz: Part I of II.

Below –  “J&J Fish & Chicken”; “Urbana”; “Yellow Wall Industrial”; “Blue Shasta”; “Back Yard.”

A Poem for Today

“Dog in Bed”
by Joyce Sidman

Nose tucked under tail,
you are a warm, furred planet
centered in my bed.
All night I orbit, tangle-limbed,
in the slim space
allotted to me.

If I accidentally
bump you from sleep,
you shift, groan,
drape your chin on my hip.

O, that languid, movie-star drape!
I can never resist it.
Digging my fingers into your fur,
I wonder:
How do you dream?
What do you adore?
Why should your black silk ears
feel like happiness?

This is how it is with love.
Once invited,
it steps in gently,
circles twice,
and takes up as much space
as you will give it.

Contemporary American Art – Adalberto Ortiz: Part II of II.

Below – “Pool”; “Red Shadow”; “Farm Shed”; “Dutton, MA”; “White Silo”; “Quiet Afternoon.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 7 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 7 April 1938 – Suzanne Valadon, a French painter.

Below – “Miss Lily Walton”; “The Blue Room”; “View From My Window In Genets (Brittany)”; “Study of a Cat”; “Dog Sleeping on a Cushion”; “Joy of Life.”

Remembering a Singer on the Date of Her Birth: Born 7 April 1915 – Billie Holiday, an American singer-songwriter and actress.

Contemporary American Art – Erica Lambertson: Part I of II.

Below – “White Dress”; “Sun Room”; “Nightlife”; “Botticelli’s Primavera”; “Tim’s House”; “Volcano.”

Remembering a Musician on the Date of His Birth: Born 7 April 1920 – Ravi Shankar, an Indian sitar player and composer.

Contemporary American Art – Erica Lambertson: Part II of II.

Below – “Horse Riders”; Untitled; “Bayou at Dawn”; “Cat Party”; “Ruin Walkers”; “Bayou Canoe.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 7 April 1931 – Donald Barthelme, an American short story writer and novelist.

Some quotes from the work of Donald Barthelme:

“The best way to live is by not knowing what will happen to you at the end of the day.”
“Capitalism arose and took off its pajamas. Another day, another dollar. Each man is valued at what he will bring in the marketplace. Meaning has been drained from work and assigned instead to remuneration.”
“I believe that because I had obtained a wife who was made up of wife-signs (beauty, charm, softness, perfume, cookery) I had found love.”
“The aim of literature … is the creation of a strange object covered with fur which breaks your heart.”
“People always like to hear that they’re under stress, makes them feel better. You can imagine what they’d feel if they were told they weren’t under stress.”
“Goals incapable of attainment have driven many a man to despair, but despair is easier to get to than that — one need merely look out of the window, for example.”
“Can the life of the time be caught in an advertisement? Is that how it is, really, in the meadows of the world?”
“I don’t believe that we are what we do although many thinkers argue otherwise. I believe that what we do is, very often, a poor approximation of what we are — an imperfect manifestation of a much better totality. Even the best of us sometimes bite off, as it were, less than we can chew.”

Contemporary Australian Art – Ashvin Harrison: Part I of III.

Below – “Violet Shadows.”

This Date in Cinematic History: Born 7 April 1939 – Francis Ford Coppola, an American director, producer, screenwriter, and recipient of multiple awards.
Francis Ford Coppola crafted one of the great opening scenes in cinematic history:

Contemporary Australian Art – Ashvin Harrison: Part II of III.

Below – “The Black Swan”; “Waiting”; “Blue Season Ballerina”;
“Sumptuous Shade Tree.”

A Poem for Today

by Gabriel Spears

The jay’s up early, and attacks the lawn
with something of that fervor and despair
of one whose keys are not where they always are,
checking the same spots over and again
till something new or overlooked appears—
an armored pillbug, or a husk of grain.
He flits with it home, where his mate beds down,
her stern tail feathers jutting from the nest
like a spoon handle from a breakfast bowl.
The quickest lover’s peck, and he’s paroled
again to stalk the sodgrass, cockheaded, obsessed.
He must get something from his selfless work—
joy, or reprieve, or a satisfying sense
of obligation dutifully dispensed.
Unless, of course, he’s just a bird, with beaks—
too many beaks—to fill, in no way possessed
of traits or demons humans might devise,
his dark not filled with could-have-beens and whys.

Contemporary Australian Art – Ashvin Harrison: Part III of III.

Below – “Kingfisher Woman”; “Every Twist and Turn.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 6 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 6 April 1826 – Gustave Moreau, a French painter known for his depictions of mythological themes.

Below – “Oedipus and the Sphinx”; “Europa and the Bull”; “The Sacred Elephant”; “Hesiod and the Muse”; “Venus Rising from the Sea.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 6 April 1935 – Edwin Arlington Robinson, an American poet, playwright, and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“The House on the Hill”
by Edwin Arlington Robinson

They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one to-day
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away,

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

Below – Steven Holder: “Abandoned House”

This Date in Art History: Born 6 April 1857 – Arthur Wesley Dow, an American painter, printmaker, and photographer: Part I of II.

Below – “Crater Lake”; “View of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada”; “Boats at Rest”; “Brittany Field with Figure”; “The Blue Dragon”; “Flowering Field.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 6 April 2012 – Reed Whittemore, an American poet and critic.

“Thinking of Tents”
by Reed Whittemore

I am thinking of tents and tentage, tents through the ages.
I had half a tent in the army and rolled it religiously,
But Supply stole it back at war’s end, leaving me tentless.
And tentless I thankfully still am, a house man at heart,
Thinking of tents as one who has passed quite beyond tents,
Passed the stakes and the flaps, mosquitoes and mildew,
And come to the ultimate tent, archetypal, platonic,
With one cot in it, and one man curled on the cot
Drinking, cooling small angers, smelling death in the distance
War’s end
World’s end
Sullen Achilles.

Below – Giuseppe Cades: “Achilles in his Tent with Patroclus, Playing a Lyre, surprised by Ulysses and Nestor”

This Date in Art History: Born 6 April 1857 – Arthur Wesley Dow, an American painter, printmaker, and photographer: Part II of II.

Below – “Nightfall”; “Spring Landscape”; “From Bayberry Hill”; “Ipswich Marshes”; “Landscape with Sunset.”

A Poem for Today

“Noguchi’s Fountain”
by Helen T. Glenn

The release of water in the base
so controlled that the surface tension,
tabletop of stability, a mirror,
remains unbroken. Moisture seeps
down polished basalt sides.

This is how I grieve, barely
enough to dampen river stones,
until fibers in my husband’s
tweed jacket brush my fingers
as I fold it into a box. How close
the whirlpool under my feet.

Contemporary German Art – Johanna Bath: Part I of II.

Below – “ancestry”; “vision II”; “you carry the stories of people before you.”
A Poem for Today

“One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII
by Pablo Neruda
(Translated by Mark Eisner)

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

Contemporary German Art – Johanna Bath: Part II of II.

Below – “Don’t move”; “Any other day”; “matrix”; “spark of life”; “echo”; “where time doesn’t exist.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 5 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1906 – Eastman Johnson, an American painter.

Below – “Ruth”; “The Nantucket School of Philosophy”; “Ojibwe Wigwam at Grand Portage”; “A Day Dream”; “The Girl I Left Behind Me.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2005 – Saul Bellow, a Canadian-American novelist, short story writer, essayist, three-timed recipient of the National Book Award, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, and recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Saul Bellow:

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
“You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half.”
“A man is only as good as what he loves.”
“Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”
“Associate with the noblest people you can find; read the best books; live with the mighty; but learn to be happy alone.”
“Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”
“Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.
“Readiness to answer all questions is the infallible sign of stupidity.”
“In Los Angeles all the loose objects in the country were collected, as if America had been tilted and everything that wasn’t tightly screwed down had slid into Southern California.”
“Human character is smaller now, people don’t have durable passions; they’ve replaced passions with excitement.”

This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1937 – Jose Benlliure y Gil, a Spanish painter.

Below – “The painter’s garden”; “Maria Benlliure Ortiz”; “The Carnival in Rome”; “Jardin benlliure”; “Self-Portrait.”

A Poem for Today

“The Good Life”
by Tracy K. Smith

When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread,
Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday
Like a woman journeying for water
From a village without a well, then living
One or two nights like everyone else
On roast chicken and red wine.

Below – Laurie Dellaccio: “Cup of Coffee”

This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1950 – Hiroshi Yoshida, a Japanese painter and woodblock printmaker.

Below – “Mt. Fuji”; “Avenue of Sugi trees”; “Summit of Fuji”; “Kameido Bridge”; “Hayase”; “Rapids.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 1997 – Allen Ginsberg, an American poet, philosopher, and writer. In the words of one writer, “He is considered to be one of the leading figures of both the Beat Generation during the 1950s and the counterculture that soon followed. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression and was known as embodying various aspects of this counterculture, such as his views on drugs, hostility to bureaucracy and openness to Eastern religions.”

“A Supermarket in California”
by Allen Ginsberg

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?

This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1995 – Emilio Greco, an Italian sculptor.

Below – “Figura”; “Nymph”; “Memoria dell’estate”; “Primavera (Spring)”; “Nude”; “Figura accoccolata.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2014 – Peter Matthiessen, an American novelist, naturalist, wilderness writer, zen teacher, author of “The Snow Leopard,” and three-time recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Peter Matthiessen:

“Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions, and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, we become seekers.”
“Zen is really just a reminder to stay alive and to be awake. We tend to daydream all the time, speculating about the future and dwelling on the past. Zen practice is about appreciating your life in this moment. If you are truly aware of five minutes a day, then you are doing pretty well. We are beset by both the future and the past, and there is no reality apart from the here and now.”
“The purpose of our life is to help others through it.”
“The great stillness in these landscapes that once made me restless seeps into me day by day, and with it the unreasonable feeling that I have found what I was searching for without ever having discovered what it was.”
“The secret of the mountain is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself: the mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no ‘meaning,’ they are meaning; the mountains are. The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day.”
“In the clearness of this Himalayan air, mountains draw near, and in such splendor, tears come quietly to my eyes and cool on my sunburned cheeks. this is not mere soft-mindedness, nor am I all that silly with the altitude. My head has cleared in these weeks free of intrusions- mail, telephones, people and their needs- and I respond to things spontaneously, without defensive or self-conscious screens. Still, all this feeling is astonishing: not so long ago I could say truthfully that I had not shed a tear in twenty years.”
“The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.”
“There’s an elegiac quality in watching [American wilderness] go, because it’s our own myth, the American frontier, that’s deteriorating before our eyes. I feel a deep sorrow that my kids will never get to see what I’ve seen, and their kids will see nothing; there’s a deep sadness whenever I look at nature now.”
“The purpose of meditation practice is not enlightenment; it is to pay attention even at extraordinary times, to be of the present, nothing-but-in-the-present, to bear this mindfulness of now into each event of ordinary life.”
“You see … a man like me, a cautious man, has his life all figured out according to a pattern, and then the pattern flies apart. You run around for quite a while trying to repair it, until one day you straighten up again with an armful of broken pieces, and you see that the world has gone on without you and you can never catch up with your old life, and you must begin all over again.”
“For some time I watch the coming of the night. Above is the glistening galaxy of childhood, now hidden in the Western world by air pollution and the glare of artificial light; for my children’s children, the power, peace and healing of the night will be obliterated.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 4 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 4 April 1843 – William Henry Jackson, an American painter and photographer: Part I of II.

Below (photochrome) – “Pee Viggi and squaw”; “Ute Chief Sevara and family”; “The man with the hoe”; “Taqui”; “Arrowmaker”; “Obtossaway.”

A Poem for Today

“A Colander of Barley”
by Tami Haaland

The smell, once water has rinsed it,
is like a field of ripe grain, or the grain held
in a truck, and if you climb the steel side,
one foot lodged on the hubcap, the other
on the wheel, and pull your body upward,
your hands holding to tarp hooks, and lift toes
onto the rim of the truck box, rest your ribs
against the side, you will see beetles
and grasshoppers among the hulled kernels.
Water stirs and resurrects harvest dust:
sun beating on abundance, the moist heat
of grain collected in steel, hands
plunging and lifting, the grain spilling back.

This Date in Art History: Born 4 April 1843 – William Henry Jackson, an American painter and photographer: Part II of II.

Below (photographs, unless otherwise noted) – “Denver, Colorado, 1898” (photochrome); “El Capitan, 1899”; “Lone Star Geyser, Yellowstone, 1898”; “Chinese American child in embroidered jacket, 1900”; “Madras, India, 1895”; “A street market in Mexico City, 1884-1885.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 4 April 1928 – Maya Angelou, an American memoirist, poet, and author of “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.”

Some quotes from the work of Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. Please remember that your difficulties do not define you. They simply strengthen your ability to overcome.”
“If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.”
“Open your eyes to the beauty around you, open your mind to the wonders of life, open your heart to those who love you, and always be true to yourself.”
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
“A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself and only herself.”
“Just do right. Right may not be expedient, it may not be profitable, but it will satisfy your soul. It brings you the kind of protection that bodyguards can’t give you. So try to live your life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity.
Take up the battle. Take it up.
It’s yours. This is your life.
This is your world.”
“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.”
“Each one of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm, when we look at each other we must say, I understand. I understand how you feel because I have been there myself. We must support each other and empathize with each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.”

This Date in Art History: Born 4 April 1876 – Maurice de Vlaminck, a French painter.

Below – “The Seine at Chatou”; “Barges on the Seine”; “White Sailboat at Chatou”; “Town on the Bank of a Lake”; “Le pont de Poissy”; “Village.”

Musings in Spring: Pablo Neruda

“Every day you play with the light of the universe.”

Below – April Gornik: “Spring Light and Still Water”

Contemporary German Art – Sylva Eva Dresbach

Below – “Looking for Amber”; “French tulips”; “Coming Home”; “Sunflower”; “Rushhour”; “Pomegranates.”

A Poem for Today

“What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use”
by Ada Limon

All these great barns out here in the outskirts,
black creosote boards knee-deep in the bluegrass.
They look so beautifully abandoned, even in use.
You say they look like arks after the sea’s
dried up, I say they look like pirate ships,
and I think of that walk in the valley where
J said, You don’t believe in God? And I said,
No. I believe in this connection we all have
to nature, to each other, to the universe.
And she said, Yeah, God. And how we stood there,
low beasts among the white oaks, Spanish moss,
and spider webs, obsidian shards stuck in our pockets,
woodpecker flurry, and I refused to call it so.
So instead, we looked up at the unruly sky,
its clouds in simple animal shapes we could name
though we knew they were really just clouds—
disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.

Below – Jane Bloodgood-Abrams: “Changing Light”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 3 April 2019

Contemporary British Art – Alex Pearce

Below – “Between the Creek”; “The End of the Light”; “Structural Resemblance”; “Tower Above 2”; “Moon Above.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 3 April 1783 – Washington Irving, an American short story writer, essayist, biographer, historian, and the author of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Some quotes from the work of Washington Irving:

“Jealous people poison their own banquet and then eat it.”
“Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.”
“A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.”
“There rise authors now and then, who seem proof against the mutability of language, because they have rooted themselves in the unchanging principles of human nature.”
“The tongue is the only instrument that gets sharper with use.”
“A barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion.”
“Honest good humor is the oil and wine of a merry meeting, and there is no jovial companionship equal to that where the jokes are rather small and laughter abundant.”

Contemporary Spanish Art – Yermine Richardson

Below – “Galaxia Caribeña XVI”; “Galaxia Caribeña XVI”; “Galaxia Caribeña III”; “Galaxia Caribeña XXII.”

This Date in the History of The American Old West: Died 3 April 1882 – Jesse James, an American outlaw, bank and train robber, guerrilla, and leader of the James-Younger Gang.
The movie “The Long Riders,” directed by Walter Hill, is an excellent dramatization of the career of the James-Younger Gang.

Contemporary American Art – Katie Darby Slater: Part I of II.

Below – “Evening in Westerly”; “Night Window”; “Dusk in the Park”; “The Blue Page”; “Grey House II”; “Pink Sunset.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 3 April 1923 – Daniel Hoffman, an American poet.

“At the Lookout”
by Daniel Hoffman

They always start with quick and eager strides
–Even the one on crutches–up the hill.
The long-legged and the young soon reach the bend,
Then reappear above the heads of slower
Earnest pilgrims puffing up the slope.
Those at the parapet stand, statuesque,
Their tiny silhouettes nicking the sky.
See, some now descend the winding trail–
The young, the tall step out, no longer black
And dwarfed against the vast and cloudless light,
Their blouses khaki, red, and white. In single
File, like beads on a string we cannot see,
They reach the stairway to the parking lot,
Then break apart toward different destinations.
Scattered now, does each still hoard some sense
Of borrowed grace from a purpose briefly snatched
And shared beneath the sky, whatever it was?

Contemporary American Art – Katie Darby Slater: Part II of II.

Below – “Afternoon Light in Providence”; “Night Palms”; “Fading Radiance.”

A Poem for Today

“Winter Sunrise Outside a Cafe”
by Joseph Hutchinson

Near Butte, Montana

A crazed sizzle of blazing bees
in the word EAT. Beyond it,

thousands of stars have faded
like deserted flowers in the thin

light washing up in the distance,
flooding the snowy mountains

bluff by bluff. Moments later,
the sign blinks, winks dark,

and a white-aproned cook—
surfacing in the murky sheen

of the window—leans awhile
like a cut lily . . . staring out

into the famished blankness
he knows he must go home to.

Below – A winter sunrise in Butte, Montana.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 2 April 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 2 April 1827 – William Holman Hunt, an English painter.

Below – “Fairlight Downs, Sunlight on the Sea”; “The Haunted Manor”; “Il Dolce Far Niente”; “The Lady of Shalott”; “Our English Coasts.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 April 1840 – Emile Zola, A French novelist, playwright, and journalist.

Some quotes from the work of Emile Zola:

“Nothing develops intelligence like travel.”
“Man’s highest duty is to protect animals from cruelty.”
“Governments are suspicious of literature because it is a force that eludes them.”
“Through the centuries, the history of peoples is but a lesson in mutual tolerance.”
“The past was but the cemetery of our illusions: one simply stubbed one’s toes on the gravestones.”
“Yes! live life with every fibre of one’s being, surrender oneself to it, with no thoughts of rebellion, without deluding oneself that one can improve it and render it painless.”

This Date in Art History: Born 2 April 1896 – Theodore Robinson, an American painter: Part I of III.

Below – “Girl in Hammock”; “Young Girl with Dog”; “Girl Sewing by River”; “Field of Dandelions”; “Lily Pads”; “Under the Bridge.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 April 1929 – Ed Dorn, an American poet.

“Ode on the Facelifting of the ‘statue’ of Liberty”
by Ed Dorn

4 July, 1986

America is inconceivable without drugs
and always has been. One of the first acts
was to dump the tea. The drug that furnished
the mansions of Virginia was tobacco,
a drug now in much disrepute.
Sassafras, a cure-all, is what they came for
and they dealt it by the bale altho it
was only a diaphoretic to make you perspire—
people were so simple in those days.
The Civil War saw the isolation of morphine
making amputation a pleasure and making
the block of wood between the teeth,
which was no drug, obsolete. Morphinism
was soon widespread among doctors and patients.
At this date interns, the reports tell us,
are among the premier drug ab/users
of said moralistic nation. “Rock” stars
(who notoriously “have” doctors)
consume drugs by the metric ton
even as they urge teenagers to Say No.
The undercurrent of American history
has been the running aches and pains
of the worn path to the door of the apothecary
to fetch cannabis and cocaine elixirs
by the gallon. It has been all prone
all seeking Florida, Ponce de León
was just the beginning of a statistical curve
whose only satisfaction would be total vertigo.
His eager search for youth has become our
frantic tilt with death and boredom,
in fact we are farming death in Florida
with far greater profit than we are
farming food in Iowa—elixirs are as multiform
as the life-style frauds we implore,
a cultural patchwork fit for a fool
in the only country in the world
with a shop called the Drug Store.

Below – Michael Ward: “Drug”

This Date in Art History: Born 2 April 1896 – Theodore Robinson, an American painter: Part II of III.

Below – “Apple Blossoms”; “The Barn Door”; “A Normandy Garden, October”; “Tree Blossoms”; “The Blue Apron”; “Daisy Field, Nantucket.”

This Date in Cinematic History: 2 April 1902 – Tally’s “Electric Theater” in Los Angeles becomes the first full-time movie theater in the United States.

This Date in Art History: Born 2 April 1896 – Theodore Robinson, an American painter: Part III of III.

Below – “Rainy Day, New York”; “The Seamstress”; “La Vachere”; “La Debacle”; “By the River”; “The Old Bridge.”

A Poem for Today

“Little Parka”
by Debra Nystrom

Dream of Mom’s red parka gone—
someone stole it right out of the closet
of the burned-down house—what
good could it do anybody else, broken
zipper that always got caught,
she’d jimmy it loose, just part
of putting it on—and she was so tiny,
the arms too short even for me,
too-tiny gloves in the pockets, thumbs
stubby, practically useless to anyone
but her—they deserve it if they shove in
a hand, find the tissue she used and then
left there who knows which cold day,
what she needed it for, or why.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 1 April 2019

Greeting April

Below – Maurice Denis: “April”

Art for April – Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “Marigolds (The Bower Maiden, Fleur-de-Marie)”

Musings in April: Mark Twain

“The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.”

Art for April – John William Waterhouse: “Flora”

A Poem for April

by Sara Teasdale

The roofs are shining from the rain.
The sparrows twitter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.

Yet the back-yards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree–
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.

Art for April – Childe Hassam: “April (The Green Gown)”

This Date in Literary History: Born 1 April 1929 – Milan Kundera, a Czech-born French novelist, poet, playwright, and author of “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”

Some quotes from the work of Milan Kundera:

“The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long that nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was… The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”
“Beauty is a rebellion against time.”
“People are always shouting they want to create a better future. It’s not true. The future is an apathetic void of no interest to anyone. The past is full of life, eager to irritate us, provoke and insult us, tempt us to destroy or repaint it. The only reason people want to be masters of the future is to change the past.”
“There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time. Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.”
“The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. The wisdom of the novel comes from having a question for everything.”
“The worst thing is not that the world is unfree, but that people have unlearned their liberty.”
“To laugh is to live profoundly.”
“Memory does not make films, it makes photographs.”
“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”

Art for April – Mathias J. Alten: “April”

A Poem for April

“April Love”
by Ernest Christopher Dowson

We have walked in Love’s land a little way,
We have learnt his lesson a little while,
And shall we not part at the end of day,
With a sigh, a smile?

A little while in the shine of the sun,
We were twined together, joined lips forgot
How the shadows fall when day is done,
And when Love is not.

We have made no vows – there will none be broke,
Our love was free as the wind on the hill,
There was no word said we need wish unspoke,
We have wrought no ill.

So shall we not part at the end of day,
Who have loved and lingered a little while,
Join lips for the last time, go our way,
With a sigh, a smile.

Below – Suzuki Harunobu: “Lovers Parting by a Garden Gate”

Art for April – Sir John Everett Millais: “Apple Blossoms or Spring”

Musings in April: T. S. Eliot

“April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.”

Art for April – Suzy Wyatt: “April Winds”

A Poem for April

by Louise Gluck

No one’s despair is like my despair–

You have no place in this garden
thinking such things, producing
the tiresome outward signs; the man
pointedly weeding an entire forest,
the woman limping, refusing to change clothes
or wash her hair.

Do you suppose I care
if you speak to one another?
But I mean you to know
I expected better of two creatures
who were given minds: if not
that you would actually care for each other
at least that you would understand
grief is distributed
between you, among all your kind, for me
to know you, as deep blue
marks the wild scilla, white
the wood violet.

Below – Paul Cezanne: “Couple in Garden”

Art for April – Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones: “Love Among the Ruins”

A Song for April

Art for April – Ford Madox Brown: “Pretty Baa-Lambs”

A Poem for April

by Alicia Ostriker

The optimists among us
taking heart because it is spring
skip along
attending their meetings
signing their e-mail petitions
marching with their satiric signs
singing their we shall overcome songs
posting their pungent twitters and blogs
believing in a better world
for no good reason
I envy them
said the old woman

The seasons go round they
go round and around
said the tulip
dancing among her friends
in their brown bed in the sun
in the April breeze
under a maple canopy
that was also dancing
only with greater motions
casting greater shadows
and the grass
hardly stirring

What a concerto
of good stinks said the dog
trotting along Riverside Drive
in the early spring afternoon
sniffing this way and that
how gratifying the cellos of the river
the tubas of the traffic
the trombones
of the leafing elms with the legato
of my rivals’ piss at their feet
and the leftover meat and grease
singing along in all the wastebaskets

Below – Joy S Olney: “Tulips in Rain”

Art for April – Claude Monet: “Japanese Bridge”

A Poem for April

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

To what purpose, April, do you return again?
Beauty is not enough.
You can no longer quiet me with the redness
Of little leaves opening stickily.
I know what I know.
The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
The spikes of the crocus.
The smell of the earth is good.
It is apparent that there is no death.
But what does that signify?
Not only under ground are the brains of men
Eaten by maggots.
Life in itself
Is nothing,
An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

Art for April – Martin Johnson Heade: “April Showers”

Musings in April: Wang Wei

“O Day after day we can’t help growing older.

Year after year spring can’t help seeming younger.

Come let’s enjoy our winecup today,

Nor pity the flowers fallen.”
Below – Shen Ling: “Fallen Flowers Floating in Water”

Art for April – Berthe Morisot: “Cottage Interior at Jersey”

A Poem for April

April Inventory
by William Snodgrass

The green catalpa tree has turned
All white; the cherry blooms once more.
In one whole year I haven’t learned
A blessed thing they pay you for.
The blossoms snow down in my hair;
The trees and I will soon be bare.

The trees have more than I to spare.
The sleek, expensive girls I teach,
Younger and pinker every year,
Bloom gradually out of reach.
The pear tree lets its petals drop
Like dandruff on a tabletop.

The girls have grown so young by now
I have to nudge myself to stare.
This year they smile and mind me how
My teeth are falling with my hair.
In thirty years I may not get
Younger, shrewder, or out of debt.

The tenth time, just a year ago,
I made myself a little list
Of all the things I’d ought to know,
Then told my parents, analyst,
And everyone who’s trusted me
I’d be substantial, presently.

I haven’t read one book about
A book or memorized one plot.
Or found a mind I did not doubt.
I learned one date.And then forgot.
And one by one the solid scholars
Get the degrees, the jobs, the dollars.

And smile above their starchy collars.
I taught my classes Whitehead’s notions;
One lovely girl, a song of Mahler’s.
Lacking a source-book or promotions,
I showed one child the colors of
A luna moth and how to love.

I taught myself to name my name,
To bark back, loosen love and crying;
To ease my woman so she came,
To ease an old man who was dying.
I have not learned how often I
Can win, can love, but choose to die.

I have not learned there is a lie
Love shall be blonder, slimmer, younger;
That my equivocating eye
Loves only by my body’s hunger;
That I have forces true to feel,
Or that the lovely world is real.

While scholars speak authority
And wear their ulcers on their sleeves,
My eyes in spectacles shall see
These trees procure and spend their leaves.
There is a value underneath
The gold and silver in my teeth.

Though trees turn bare and girls turn wives,
We shall afford our costly seasons;
There is a gentleness survives
That will outspeak and has its reasons.
There is a loveliness exists,
Preserves us, not for specialists.

Below – Vicky Wade: “Lovers at the Beach”

Art for April – Winslow Homer: “Canoe in Rapids”

A Poem for April

“An April Night”
by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The moon comes up o’er the deeps of the woods,
And the long, low dingles that hide in the hills,
Where the ancient beeches are moist with buds
Over the pools and the whimpering rills;

And with her the mists, like dryads that creep
From their oaks, or the spirits of pine-hid springs,
Who hold, while the eyes of the world are asleep,
With the wind on the hills their gay revellings.

Down on the marshlands with flicker and glow
Wanders Will-o’-the-Wisp through the night,
Seeking for witch-gold lost long ago
By the glimmer of goblin lantern-light.

The night is a sorceress, dusk-eyed and dear,
Akin to all eerie and elfin things,
Who weaves about us in meadow and mere
The spell of a hundred vanished Springs.

Below – Adolph von Menzel: “Night in the Forest”

Art for April – John Singer Sargent: “Two Girls with Parasols at Fladbury”

Musings in April: William Shakespeare

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”

Below – Jack Vettriano: “The Singing Butler”

Art for April – Elisabeth Sonrel: “Procession of Flora”

Welcome, Wonderful April

Below – Arthur Hughes: “April Love”

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