Sentient in San Francisco – 23 January 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1832 – Edouard Manet, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Music in the Tuileries”; “The Luncheon on the Grass”; “The Cafe Concert”; “The Railway”; “The Absinthe Drinker”; “Olympia.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 23 January 2018 – Nicanor Parra, an award-winning Chilean poet who was on four occasions proposed for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

“The Last Toast”
by Nicanor Parra

Whether we like it or not,
We have only three choices:
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And not even three
Because as the philosopher says
Yesterday is yesterday
It belongs to us only in memory:
From the rose already plucked
No more petals can be drawn.

The cards to play
Are only two:
The present and the future.

And there aren’t even two
Because it’s a known fact
The present doesn’t exist
Except as it edges past
And is consumed…,
like youth.

In the end
We are only left with tomorrow.
I raise my glass
To the day that never arrives.

But that is all
we have at our disposal.

This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1832 – Edouard Manet, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “A Bar at the Folies-Bergere”; “The Surprised Nymph”; “Young Flautist”; “Boating”; “In the Conservatory”; “The Plum.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 23 January 1991 – Northrop Frye, an award-winning Canadian literary critic, literary theorist, and author of “Feaful Symmetry” and “Anatomy of Criticism.”

Some quotes from the work of Northrop Frye:

“The most technologically efficient machine that man has ever invented is the book.”
“This story of loss and regaining of identity is, I think, the framework of all literature.”
“There is only one way to degrade mankind permanently and that is to destroy language.”
“Real unity tolerates dissent and rejoices in variety of outlook and tradition, recognizes that it is man’s destiny to unite and not divide, and understands that creating proletariats and scapegoats and second-class citizens is a mean and contemptible activity.”
“We are always in the place of beginning; there is no advance in infinity.”
“Even the human heart is slightly left of centre.”
“A person who knows nothing about literature may be an ignoramus, but many people don’t mind being that.”
“We are being swallowed up by the popular culture of the United States, but then the Americans are being swallowed up by it too. It’s just as much a threat to American culture as it is to ours.”
“The human landscape of the New World shows a conquest of nature by an intelligence that does not love it.”

This Date in Art History: Died 23 January 1947 – Pierre Bonnard – a French painter.

Below- “Woman with a dog”; “Checkered Blouse”; “The Parade”; “Two Dogs in a Deserted Street”; “Dancers”; “The Omnibus.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 23 January 1930 – Derek Walcott, a Saint Lucian poet, playwright, and recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Derek Walcott:

“Love After Love The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other’s welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.”
“For every poet it is always morning in the world; history a forgotten, insomniac night. The fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world in spite of history.”
“Good science and good art are always about a condition of awe. I don’t think there is any other function for the poet or the scientist in the human tribe but the astonishment of the soul.”
“Summer for prose and lemons, for nakedness and languor.”
“Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.”
“Visual surprise is natural in the Caribbean; it comes with the landscape, and faced with its beauty, the sigh of History dissolves.”
“Time is the metre, memory the only plot.”
“I read; I travel; I become.”

This Date in Art History: Died 23 January 1989 – Salvador Dali, a Spanish painter and sculptor.

Below – “The Persistence of Memory”; “Still Life by Moonlight”; “Bacchanale”; “Shades of Night Descending”; “Leda Atomica”; “Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 23 January 1930 – Derek Walcott, a Saint Lucian poet, playwright, and recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature: Part II of II.

“Map of the New World”
by Derek Walcott

I Archipelagoes

At the end of this sentence, rain will begin.
At the rain’s edge, a sail.

Slowly the sail will lose sight of islands;
into a mist will go the belief in harbours
of an entire race.

The ten-years war is finished.
Helen’s hair, a grey cloud.
Troy, a white ashpit
by the drizzling sea.

The drizzle tightens like the strings of a harp.
A man with clouded eyes picks up the rain
and plucks the first line of the Odyssey.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 22 January 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 22 January 1879 – Francis Picabia, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Aello”; “Landscape”; “Sunlight on the Banks of the Loing”; “Sedell”; “Villica safe”; “Two Women with Poppies.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 22 January 1993 – Kobo Abe, a Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist, poet, playwright, and recipient of major awards (the Akutagawa Prize for “The Crime of S. Karuma,” the Yomiuri Prize for “The Woman in the Dunes” [made into an excellent movie by director Hiroshi Teshigahara; it was nominated for an Academy Award], and the Tanizaki Prize for “Friends”).

Some quotes from the work of Kobo Abe:

“Green makes me think of silence, or maybe it’s loneliness. I get the feeling of a terribly distant star.”
“Do you shovel to survive, or survive to shovel?”
“Defeat begins with the fear that one has lost.”
“It’s a dangerous dog that doesn’t bark.”
“Mankind, which has always been a part of nature, has reached a point where it is too much for nature to accommodate.”
“A tower of illusion, all of it, made of illusory bricks and full of holes. If life were made up only of important things, it really would be a dangerous house of glass, scarcely to be handled carelessly. But everyday life was exactly like the headlines. And so everybody, knowing the meaninglessness of existence, sets the centre of his compass at his own home.”
“The most frightening thing in the world is to discover the abnormal in that which is closest to us.”
“The minute you begin to have doubts, the floor under your feet starts to shake.”

This Date in Art History: Born 22 January 1879 – Francis Picabia, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Still Life”; “Machine Turn Quickly”; “Barcelona”; “Horses”; “The Woman of Love”; “Craccae.”

This Date in Literary History: Bprn 22 January 1887 – Helen Hoyt, an American author and poet.

“The New-Born”
by Helen Hoyt

I have heard them in the night—
The cry of their fear,
Because there is no light,
Because they do not hear
Familiar sounds and feel the familiar arm?
And they awake alone.
Yet they have never known
Danger or harm.
What is their dread?—
This dark about their bed?
But they are so lately come
Out of the dark womb
Where they were safely kept.
That blackness was good;
And the silence of that solitude
Wherein they slept
Was kind.
Where did they find
Knowledge of death?
Caution of darkness and cold?
These—of the little, new breath—
Have they a prudence so old?

Contemporary American Art – Geoff Greene: Part I of II.

Artist Statement: “I love to paint and eat spaghetti. Unfortunately, I can no longer eat spaghetti.”

Below – “Woman Washing Her Hair (after Goyo)”; “Hu-Normously Big Dense Forest Triptych”; “Large Agave Wall Diptych”; “Sapling Forest”; “Blond on Horseback”; “quod amisimus in pompeianum.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 22 January 1922 – Howard Moss, an American poet, playwright, critic, and recipient of the National Book Award.

“Four Birds”
by Howard Moss

“Wake to the sun,” the rooster croaked,
First bird of the day. The world, light-flecked,
Chiselled its lineaments into form.
Where was all that fine light coming from?

“Trance at the wonder,” the second sang.
Whose five dry notes urged the ongoing
Afternoon on. “Why wake and stir?”
It asked. And asked. There was no answer.

“Live through the muddle.” That from the next one.
Not very helpful. It looked like rain,
Or fog in the offing. Twilight. Then
It sang again from an oak or pine.

Silence. How I waited for the fourth!
Time was a negative dipped into its bath,
The dark a fixative that slowly made
For every windowpane its window shade.

No messages arrived. No music bared
The soul for its penitence. Up the stairs
No hint of a footfall. The night passed.
“Croak by your hand,” said the crow at last.

Contemporary American Art – Geoff Greene: Part II of II.

Artist Statement: “I love to paint and eat spaghetti. Unfortunately, I can no longer eat spaghetti.”

Below – “Dream of a Sleeping Woman”; “Sun Hat”; “Monet’s Garden Two”; “Girl With a Gun, Too”; “Agave Abstracta”; “Portrait of Claire.”

A Poem for Today

“Boy and Egg”
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Every few minutes, he wants
to march the trail of flattened rye grass
back to the house of muttering
hens. He too could make
a bed in hay. Yesterday the egg so fresh
it felt hot in his hand and he pressed it
to his ear while the other children
laughed and ran with a ball, leaving him,
so little yet, too forgetful in games,
ready to cry if the ball brushed him,
riveted to the secret of birds
caught up inside his fist,
not ready to give it over
to the refrigerator
or the rest of the day.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 21 January 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 21 January 1804 – Moritz von Schwind, an Austrian painter.

Below – “Early Morning”; “Die Schifferin”; “Frau”; “The Woods”; “Adventure of the Painter”; “The Dream of the Prisoner.”

A Poem for Today

by Kim Addonizio

The fish are drifting calmly in their tank
between the green reeds, lit by a white glow
that passes for the sun. Blindly, the blank
glass that holds them in displays their slow
progress from end to end, familiar rocks
set into the gravel, murmuring rows
of filters, a universe the flying fox
and glass cats, Congo tetras, bristle-nose
pleocostemus all take for granted. Yet
the platys, gold and red, persist in leaping
occasionally, as if they can’t quite let
alone a possibility—of wings,
maybe, once they reach the air? They die
on the rug. We find them there, eyes open in surprise.

This Date in Art History: Born 21 January 1845 – Harriet Becker, a Norwegian painter.

Below – “Blatt interior”; “Chez Moi”; “Pa blekevollen”; “Kone som syr”; “Breton interior”; “Bygdeskomakere.”

Musings in Winter: Ruby Archer

“Snow is diamonds for a faery’s feet;
Blithely and bonnily she trips along,
Her lips a-carol with a merry song,
And in her eyes the meaning… Life is sweet!”

Below – Victor Vasnetsov: “Snow Maiden”

This Date in Art History: Born 21 January 1885 – Duncan Grant, a British painter and designer.

Below – “The Coffee Table”; “Still-life with dahlias in a glass”; “Borghese Gardens”; “Still life of a kettle, bottle, fruit and a painting”; “Design for a Vase: The Three Graces”; “Seated Nude.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 21 January 1950 – George Orwell (the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair), an English novelist, essayist, journalist, critic, and author of “Animal Farm,” “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” and “Homage to Catalonia.”

Some quotes from the work of George Orwell:

“It’s frightful that people who are so ignorant should have so much influence.”
“All that was required of them (i.e. the brain-washed masses) was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because, being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances.” “The larger evils invariably escaped their notice.”
“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”
“The people will believe what the media tells them they believe.”
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
“Free speech is my right to say what you don’t want to hear.”
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
“Whoever controls the image and information of the past determines what and how future generations will think; whoever controls the information and images of the present determines how those same people will view the past. He who controls the past commands the future. He who commands the future conquers the past.”
“There is no swifter route to the corruption of thought than through the corruption of language.”
“We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.”
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

Contemporary American Art – Deniz Hotamisligil

Below (photographs) – “The beauty in art”; “The Fall”; “Equal parts of life in California”; “Lands and Layers”; “Moments like these”; “Santa Monica Beach.”

A Poem for Today

“Road Report”
by Kurt Brown

Driving west through sandstone’s
red arenas, a rodeo of slow erosion
cleaves these plains, these ravaged cliffs.
This is cowboy country. Desolate. Dull. Except
on weekends, when cafés bloom like cactus
after drought. My rented Mustang bucks
the wind—I’m strapped up, wide-eyed,
busting speed with both heels, a sure grip
on the wheel. Black clouds maneuver
in the distance, but I don’t care. Mileage
is my obsession. I’m always racing off,
passing through, as though the present
were a dying town I’d rather flee.
What matters is the future, its glittering
Hotel. Clouds loom closer, big as Brahmas
in the heavy air. The radio crackles
like a shattered rib. I’m in the chute.
I check the gas and set my jaw. I’m almost there.

Below – Ryan Sardachuk: “1971 Ford Mustang Desert Evening”


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Sentient in San Francisco – 20 January 2020

“May I stress the need for courageous, intelligent, and dedicated leadership… Leaders of sound integrity. Leaders not in love with publicity, but in love with justice. Leaders not in love with money, but in love with humanity. Leaders who can subject their particular egos to the greatness of the cause.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This Date in Art History: Died 20 January 1875 – Jean-Francois Millet, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “The Sower”; “The Sheepfold”; “Woman Baking Bread”; “The Gleaners”; “Calling Home the Cows”; “Shepherd Tending His Flock.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 January 2013 – Toyo Shibata, a Japanese author and poet. In addition to being a writer, Toyo Shibata is an inspiration for us all. She turned to writing poetry at the age of ninety-two, and her volume “Don’t Lose Heart” became a bestseller in Japan.

“The Answer”
by Toyo Shibata

The wind in my ear
“It’s about time now
for the next world
Let’s go, what do you say?”
in a soothing voice, like stroking a cat

So I answered quickly
“I will stay here
a little longer
I have things left to do”

The wind
with a troubled face
stopped and went home.

Below – Toyo Shibata

This Date in Art History: Died 20 January 1875 – Jean-Francois Millet, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Man with a Hoe”; “Going to Work”; “The Potato Harvest”; “Shepherdess Seated on a Rock”; “Haystacks: Autumn”; “The Goose Girl.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 January 1955 – Robert P. T. Coffin, an American author, poet, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Crystal Moment”
by Robert P. T. Coffin

Once or twice this side of death
Things can make one hold his breath.
From my boyhood I remember
A crystal moment of September.

A wooded island rang with sounds
Of church bells in the throats of hounds.

A buck leaped out and took the tide
With jewels flowing past each side.

With his head high like a tree
He swam within a yard of me.

I saw the golden drop of light
In his eyes turned dark with fright.

I saw the forest’s holiness
On him like a fierce caress.

Fear made him lovely past belief,
My heart was trembling like a leaf.

He leans towards the land and life
With need above him like a knife.

In his wake the hot hounds churned
They stretched their muzzles out and yearned.

They bayed no more, but swam and throbbed
Hunger drove them till they sobbed.

Pursued, pursuers reached the shore
And vanished. I saw nothing more.

So they passed, a pageant such
As only gods could witness much,

Life and death upon one tether
And running beautiful together.

This Date in Art History: Born 20 January 1899 – Clarice Cliff, an English potter.

Below – ‘Ravel’ pattern on conical shape coffee pot, sugar and cream; Early ‘Original Bizarre’ pattern on an Athens shape jug; ‘Crocus’ pattern; ‘Red Autumn’ pattern; Coffee pot with rare ‘Blue and White’ pattern; ‘Honolulu’ pattern on Athens shape jug.

A Poem for Today

“The Wind Chimes”
by Shirley Buettner

Two wind chimes,
one brass and prone to anger,
one with the throat of an angel,
swing from my porch eave,
sing with the storm.
Last year I lived five months
under that shrill choir,
boxing your house, crowding books
into crates, from some pages
your own voice crying.
Some days the chimes raged.
Some days they hung still.
They fretted when I dug up
the lily I gave you in April,
blooming, strangely, in fall.
Together, they scolded me
when I counted pennies you left
in each can, cup, and drawer,
when I rechecked the closets
for remnants of you.
The last day, the house empty,
resonant with space, the two chimes
had nothing to toll for.
I walked out, took them down,
carried our mute spirits home.

Below- George Relyea: “Wind Chimes”

Contemporary South African Art – Andrew McGibbon

Below (photographs) – “Division of Labour”; “If you Listen, You will Hear”; “The Hunter”; “Caiman #04”; “Carronade’s Bow”; “Wait, Listen.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 January 1962 – Robinson Jeffers, an American poet and philosopher.

“Hurt Hawks”
by Robinson Jeffers


The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder,
The wing trails like a banner in defeat,

No more to use the sky forever but live with famine
And pain a few days: cat nor coyote
Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons.

He stands under the oak-bush and waits
The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom
And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it.

He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse.
The curs of the day come and torment him
At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble that head,

The intrepid readiness, the terrible eyes.
The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those
That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant.

You do not know him, you communal people, or you have forgotten him;
Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him;
Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying, remember him.


I’d sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk;
but the great redtail
Had nothing left but unable misery
From the bone too shattered for mending, the wing that trailed under his talons when he moved.

We had fed him six weeks, I gave him freedom,
He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening, asking for death,
Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old
Implacable arrogance.

I gave him the lead gift in the twilight.
What fell was relaxed, Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what
Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising
Before it was quite unsheathed from reality.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 19 January 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 19 January 1920 – Bernard Dunstan, an English painter.

Below – “Girl Holding a Blue Nightdress”; “Nude Seated on Bed”; “The Wardrobe Mirror”; “Morning, Lisbon”; “The Shuttered Room”; “Dressing in Sunlight.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 January 1921 – Patricia Highsmith, an award-winning American novelist and short story writer.

Some quotes from the work of Patricia Highsmith:

“My New Year’s Eve Toast: to all the devils, lusts, passions, greeds, envies, loves, hates, strange desires, enemies ghostly and real, the army of memories, with which I do battle — may they never give me peace.”
“Life is a long failure of understanding … a long, mistaken shutting of the heart.”
“In view of the fact that I surround myself with numbskulls now, I shall die among numbskulls, and on my deathbed shall be surrounded by numbskulls who will not understand what I am saying … Whom am I sleeping with these days ? Franz Kafka.”
“For neither life nor nature cares if justice is ever done or not.”
“How was it possible to be afraid and in love… The two things did not go together. How was it possible to be afraid, when the two of them grew stronger together every day? And every night. Every night was different, and every morning. Together they possessed a miracle.”

This Date in Art History: Died 19 January 1975 – Thomas Hart Benton, an American painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Cotton Pickers”; “Cradling Wheat”; “Farm Sale with Pop and the Boys”; “T.P. and Jake”; “The Apple of Discord”; “Persephone.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 19 January 1997 – James Dickey, an American poet, novelist, and recipient of the National Book Award.

“The Heaven of Animals”
by James Dickey

Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.

Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.

To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.

For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,

More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey

May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk

Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain

At the cycle’s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.

Below – Nathalie Parenteau: “Spirit Island”

This Date in Art History: Died 19 January 1975 – Thomas Hart Benton, an American painter: Part II of II.

Below – “People of Chilmark”; “Madison Square”; “Achelous and Hercules”; “July Hay”; “Burlesque”; “Susanna and the Elders.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 January 1946 – Julian Barnes, an English novelist, short story writer, essayist, and critic.

Some quotes from the work of Julian Barnes:

“When you’re young – when I was young – you want your emotions to be like the ones you read about in books. You want them to overturn your life, create and define a new reality. Later, I think, you want them to do something milder, something more practical: you want them to support your life as it is and has become. You want them to tell you that things are OK. And is there anything wrong with that?”
“The greatest patriotism is to tell your country when it is behaving dishonorably, foolishly, viciously.”
“Reading is a majority skill but a minority art.”
“I certainly believe we all suffer damage, one way or another. How could we not, except in a world of perfect parents, siblings, neighbours, companions? And then there is the question on which so much depends, of how we react to the damage: whether we admit it or repress it, and how this affects our dealings with others.Some admit the damage, and try to mitigate it; some spend their lives trying to help others who are damaged; and there are those whose main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost. And those are the ones who are ruthless, and the ones to be careful of.”
“You put together two people who have not been put together before; and sometimes the world is changed, sometimes not. They may crash and burn, or burn and crash. But sometimes, something new is made, and then the world is changed. Together, in that first exaltation, that first roaring sense of uplift, they are greater than their two separate selves. Together, they see further, and they see more clearly.”
“When you read a great book, you don’t escape from life, you plunge deeper into it. There may be a superficial escape – into different countries, mores, speech patterns – but what you are essentially doing is furthering your understanding of life’s subtleties, paradoxes, joys, pains and truths. Reading and life are not separate but symbiotic.”
“History is the lies of the victors.”
“Does character develop over time? In novels, of course it does: otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story. But in life? I sometimes wonder. Our attitudes and opinions change, we develop new habits and eccentricities; but that’s something different, more like decoration. Perhaps character resembles intelligence, except that character peaks a little later: between twenty and thirty, say. And after that, we’re just stuck with what we’ve got. We’re on our own. If so, that would explain a lot of lives, wouldn’t it? And also – if this isn’t too grand a word – our tragedy.”
“Later on in life, you expect a bit of rest, don’t you? You think you deserve it. I did, anyway. But then you begin to understand that the reward of merit is not life’s business.”
“Love may not lead where we think or hope, but regardless of outcome it should be a call to seriousness and truth. If it is not that – if it is not moral in its effect – then love is no more than an exaggerated form of pleasure.”
“The companionship of dead writers is a wonderful form of live friendship.”
“But life never lets you go, does it? You can’t put down life the way you put down a book.”
“In life, every ending is just the start of another story.”

Contemporary American Art – Tracy Kerdman

Below – “Boys Club”; “Saturation Nation”; “The Runners”; “Swimmers”; “The Majorettes”; “They Can’t Make Us.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 January 1809 – Edgar Allan Poe, an American poet, short story writer, and critic.

“The Raven”
by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never—nevermore’.”

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!

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Sentient in San Francisco – 18 January 2020

Contemporary South African Art – Oliver Spedding

Below – “Reed Leaves”; “Stem Fruit”; “Red Berries”; “Cape Scene”; “Misty Morning”; “Tiger.”

This Date in Intellectual History: Born 18 January 1908 – Jacob Bronowski, a British historian and mathematician.

Some quotes from the work of Jacob Bronowski:

“Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible.”
“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.”
“There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy.”
“It is not the business of science to inherit the earth, but to inherit the moral imagination; because without that, man and beliefs and science will perish together.”
“This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave.”
“You will die but the carbon will not; its career does not end with you. It will return to the soil, and there a plant may take it up again in time, sending it once more on a cycle of plant and animal life.”
“Science is the acceptance of what works and the rejection of what does not. That needs more courage than we might think.”
“Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Rafal Knop

Below – “Crime Story 02 SWIMMING POOL”; “Apollo Last XXV”; “Madame Ev”; “Madame Sofi LV SWIMMING POOL”; “VAngel 04 cycle SWIMMING POOL.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 18 January 1882 – A. A. Milne, an English writer, poet, playwright, and author of “Winnie-the-Pooh.”

Some quotes from the work of A. A. Milne:

“In the quiet hours when we are alone and there is nobody to tell us what fine fellows we are, we come sometimes upon a moment in which we wonder, not how much money we are earning, nor how famous we have become, but what good we are doing.”
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
“‘Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.’”
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing.”
“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.”
“Piglet: ‘How do you spell ‘love’? Winnie the Pooh: ‘You don’t spell it…you feel it.’”
“‘We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. ‘Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
“Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day.”
“The average man finds life very uninteresting as it is. And I think the reason why is that he is always waiting for something to happen to him instead of setting to work to make things happen.”
“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”
People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
“The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.”

Contemporary French Art – Le Junter Jean-Noel

Below – “Wine harvesting time in Languedoc”; “Reflections in Sanary’s harbour”: “vendanges à l’ancienne”; “Autumn evening in Le Grau du Roi”; “Reflections in Sete harbor”; “Light and shadows in pine trees.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 18 January 1932 – Robert Anton Wilson, an American author, novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and futurist.

Some quotes from the work of Robert Anton Wilson:

“You are precisely as big as what you love and precisely as small as what you allow to annoy you.”
“The function of law and theology are the same: to keep the poor from taking back by violence what the rich have stolen by cunning.”
“Intelligence is the capacity to receive, decode and transmit information efficiently. Stupidity is blockage of this process at any point. Bigotry, ideologies etc. block the ability to receive; robotic reality-tunnels block the ability to decode or integrate new signals; censorship blocks transmission.”
“How many times… have you encountered the saying, ‘When the student is ready, the Master speaks?’ Do you know why that is true? The door opens inward. The Master is everywhere, but the student has to open his mind to hear the Masters Voice.”
“Governments are based principally on force and deception. Democratic governments are based chiefly on deception, other governments on force. And democratic governments, if you get too uppity, give up on the deception and resort to brute force, as a lot of us found out in the sixites. Those who didn’t find out in the sixites will find out in the near future because we’re going to have a rerun.”
“Every fact of science was once Damned. Every invention was considered impossible. Every discovery was a nervous shock to some orthodoxy. Every artistic innovation was denounced as fraud and folly. The entire web of culture and ‘progress,’ everything on earth that is man-made and not given to us by nature, is the concrete manifestation of some man’s refusal to bow to Authority.”
“Most people live in a myth and grow violently angry if anyone dares to tell them the truth about themselves.”
“‘Every national border in Europe,’ El Eswad added ironically, ‘marks the place where two gangs of bandits got too exhausted to kill each other anymore and signed a treaty. Patriotism is the delusion that one of these gangs of bandits is better than all the others.’”
“Taking somebody’s money without permission is stealing, unless you work for the IRS; then it’s taxation. Killing people en masse is homicidal mania, unless you work for the Army; then it’s National Defense. Spying on your neighbors is invasion of privacy, unless you work for the FBI; then it’s National Security. Running a whorehouse makes you a pimp and poisoning people makes you a murderer, unless you work for the CIA; then it’s counter-intelligence.”
“It is a great privilege to be conscious in this universe. Those who understand, shine like stars.”

Contemporary British Art – Betsie Van Der Meer

Below (photographs) – “Julie II”; “Blue Ice”; “Anoushka”; “Julie III”; “Ice Island”; “Julie IV.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 18 January 1840 – Henry Austin Dobson, an English poet and essayist.

“The Paradox of Time”
By Henry Austin Dobson

Time goes, you say? Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go;
Or else, were this not so,
What need to chain the hours,
For Youth were always ours?
Time goes, you say?-ah no!

Ours is the eyes’ deceit
Of men whose flying feet
Lead through some landscape low;
We pass, and think we see
The earth’s fixed surface flee:-
Alas, Time stays,-we go!

Once in the days of old,
Your locks were curling gold,
And mine had shamed the crow.
Now, in the self-same stage,
We’ve reached the silver age;
Time goes, you say?-ah no!

Once, when my voice was strong,
I filled the woods with song
To praise your ‘rose’ and ‘snow’;
My bird, that sang, is dead;
Where are your roses fled?
Alas, Time stays,-we go!

See, in what traversed ways,
What backward Fate delays
The hopes we used to know;
Where are our old desires?-
Ah, where those vanished fires?
Time goes, you say?-ah no!

How far, how far, O Sweet,
The past behind our feet
Lies in the even-glow!
Now, on the forward way,
Let us fold hands, and pray;
Alas, Time stays,-we go!

Below (sculpture) – Lorado Taft: “The Fountain of Time”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 17 January 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 17 January 1852 – T. Alexander Harrison, an American painter.

Below – “Les Amateurs”; “The Wave”; “Marine”; “Castles in The Air”; “Solitude”; “En Arcadie”; “Misty Morning.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 January 1820 – Acton Bell, the pen name of Anne Bronte, an English novelist, poet, and author of “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.”

Some quotes from the work of Anne Bronte

“My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring and carried aloft on the wings of the breeze.”
“There are great books in this world and great worlds in books.”
“A light wind swept over the corn, and all nature laughed in the sunshine.”
“All our talents increase in the using, and every faculty, both good and bad, strengthens by exercise.”
“Beauty is that quality which, next to money, is generally the most attractive to the worst kinds of men; and, therefore, it is likely to entail a great deal of trouble on the possessor.”
“A man must have something to grumble about; and if he cant complain that his wife harries him to death with her perversity and ill-humour, he must complain that she wears him out with her kindness and gentleness.”

Below – A sketch of Anne by sister Charlotte, circa 1834.

Contemporary Georgian Art – Levan Chabukiani

Below – “Tbilisi composition, winter”; “Old Tbilisi composition, winter”; ‘Night thoughts With jazz”; “Nude N2”; “Light on the horizon after rain.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 January 1914 – William Stafford, an American poet: Part I of III.

“Message from the Wanderer”
by William Stafford

Today outside your prison I stand
and rattle my walking stick: Prisoners, listen;
you have relatives outside. And there are
thousands of ways to escape.

Years ago I bent my skill to keep my
cell locked, had chains smuggled to me in pies,
and shouted my plans to jailers;
but always new plans occured to me,
or the new heavy locks bent hinges off,
or some stupid jailer would forget
and leave the keys.

Inside, I dreamed of constellations—
those feeding creatures outlined by stars,
their skeletons a darkness between jewels,
heroes that exist only where they are not.

Thus freedom always came nibbling my thought,
just as—often, in light, on the open hills—
you can pass an antelope and not know
and look back, and then—even before you see—
there is something wrong about the grass.
And then you see.

That’s the way everything in the world is waiting.

Now—these few more words, and then I’m
gone: Tell everyone just to remember
their names, and remind others, later, when we
find each other. Tell the little ones
to cry and then go to sleep, curled up
where they can. And if any of us get lost,
if any of us cannot come all the way—
remember: there will come a time when
all we have said and all we have hoped
will be all right.

There will be that form in the grass.

Contemporary British Art – Louise McNaught: Part I of II.

Below – “Divine Lunatic”; “Young at Heart”; “A Star is Born”; “Inagua Woodstar Hummingbird”; “Ashes, Ashes, we ALL Fall Down”; “Heir.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 January 1914 – William Stafford, an American poet: Part II of III.

“At the Un-National Monument Along The Canadian Border”
by William Stafford

This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.

Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed – or were killed – on this ground
hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.

Contemporary British Art – Louise McNaught: Part II of II.

Below – “Fire & Water”; “Falling for You”; “Hyacinth Visorbearer Hummingbird”; “Morpho”; “King of a Fading Kingdom”; “Infaturation.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 January 1914 – William Stafford, an American poet: Part III of III.

“Traveling Through The Dark”
by William Stafford

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason–
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all–my only swerving–,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 16 January 2020

This Date in Art History: Died 16 January 1901 – Arnold Bocklin, a Swiss symbolist painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Villa by the Sea”; “Isle of the Dead”; “The Island of Life”; “Moonlit Landscape”; “Playing in the Waves”; “Venus Anadyomene.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 16 January 1928 – William Kennedy, an American novelist, journalist, author of “Ironweed,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of William Kennedy:

“Well-lit streets discourage sin, but don’t overdo it.”
“But after awhile you stand up, wipe the frost out of your ear, go someplace to get warm, bum a nickel for coffee, and then start walkin’ toward somewheres else that ain’t near no bridge.”
“They were both questing for the behavior that was proper to their station and their unutterable dreams. They both knew intimately the etiquette, the taboos, the protocol of bums. By their talk to each other they understood that they shared a belief in the brotherhood of the desolate; yet in the scars of their eyes they confirmed that no such fraternity had ever existed, that the only brotherhood they belonged to was the one that asked the enduring question: How do I get through the next twenty minutes? They feared drys, cops, jailers, bosses, moralists, crazies, truth-tellers, and one another. They loved storytellers, liars, whores, fighters, singers, collie dogs that wagged their tails, and generous bandits. Rudy, thought Francis, he’s just a bum, but who ain’t?”
“Love, is always insufficient, always a lie. Love, you are the clean shit of my soul. Stupid love, silly love. ”
“I liked all their lies best, for I think they are the brightest part of anybody’s history.”
“He would not chance arrest by crawling into a corner of one of the old houses on Lower Broadway where the cops swept through periodically with their mindless net. What difference did it make whether four or six or eight lost men slept under a roof and out of the wind in a house with broken stairs and holes in the floors you could fall through to death, a house that for five or maybe ten years had been inhabited only by pigeons? What difference?”
“It’s quite uncanny what one sets in motion by being oneself.”
“Let us, then, be up and doing, with a heart for any fate.”

This Date in Art History: Died 16 January 1901 – Arnold Bocklin, a Swiss symbolist painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Honey Moon”; “Will-o’-the-Wisp”; “The Elysian Fields”; “Summer Day”; “Landscape”; “Lovers.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 16 January 1923 – Anthony Hecht, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“The End of the Weekend”
by Anthony Hecht

A dying firelight slides along the quirt
Of the cast iron cowboy where he leans
Against my father’s books. The lariat
Whirls into darkness. My girl in skin tight jeans
Fingers a page of Captain Marriat
Inviting insolent shadows to her shirt.

We rise together to the second floor.
Outside, across the lake, an endless wind
Whips against the headstones of the dead and wails
In the trees for all who have and have not sinned.
She rubs against me and I feel her nails.
Although we are alone, I lock the door.

The eventual shapes of all our formless prayers:
This dark, this cabin of loose imaginings,
Wind, lip, lake, everything awaits
The slow unloosening of her underthings
And then the noise. Something is dropped. It grates
against the attic beams. I climb the stairs
Armed with a belt.

A long magnesium shaft
Of moonlight from the dormer cuts a path
Among the shattered skeletons of mice.
A great black presence beats its wings in wrath.
Above the boneyard burn its golden eyes.
Some small grey fur is pulsing in its grip.

This Date in Art History: Died 16 January 2009 – Andrew Wyeth, an American painter.

Below – “Christina’s World”; “Winter”; “Miss Olsen”; “Marriage”; “Braids”; “Cape May.”

Musings in Winter: Henry David Thoreau

“That grand old poem called Winter.”

Contemporary Tunisian Art – Luigi Maria De Rubeis

Below – “Love of Peonies”; “White Flower”; “Cortese Peony”; “America”; “Peony in Tunis”; “Peony at Sunset.”

A Poem for Today

“December Notes”
By Nancy McCleery

The backyard is one white sheet
Where we read in the bird tracks

The songs we hear. Delicate
Sparrow, heavier cardinal,

Filigree threads of chickadee.
And wing patterns where one flew

Low, then up and away, gone
To the woods but calling out

Clearly its bright epigrams.
More snow promised for tonight.

The postal van is stalled
In the road again, the mail

Will be late and any good news
Will reach us by hand.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 15 January 2020

January 15 January 1913 – Eugene Brands, a Dutch painter.

Below – “The Ball Game”; “Lemons in Flower Vase”; “Wanderlende man”; “Venetiaans glas”; “De fruitschaal.”

Musings in Winter – Sylvia Plath

“Winter dawn is the color of metal,
The trees stiffen into place like burnt nerves.”

Below – Albert Bierstadt: “Winter Dawn”

Contemporary Czech Art – Lukas Klingora

Below (photographs) – “When I Found Her”; “You Won’t Ever Be Alone”; “Now I Live”; “And You’re Standing Alone”; “Still Wide Awake”; “Denial.”

A Poem for Today

“Family Album”
by Diane Thiel

I like old photographs of relatives
in black and white, their faces set like stone.
They knew this was serious business.
My favorite album is the one that’s filled
with people none of us can even name.

I find the recent ones more difficult.
I wonder, now, if anyone remembers
how fiercely I refused even to stand
beside him for this picture — how I shrank
back from his hand and found the other side.

Forever now, for future family,
we will be framed like this, although no one
will wonder at the way we are arranged.
No one will ever wonder, since we’ll be
forever smiling there — our mouths all teeth.

Contemporary British Art – Samantha Almon Adeluwoye

Below – “Expressive Women”; “Women red lips yellow earring”; “Swimmers in the Ocean.”

Musings in Winter: John Facenda

“Through the chill of December the early winter moans… but it’s that January wind that rattles old bones.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Svetlana Biletnicova

Below – “Creator”; “Eagle’s nest”; “Ocean”; “Montana II”; “Sleeping beauty”; “Childhood.”

A Poem for Today

“What Calls Us”
by David Bengtson

In winter, it is what calls us
from seclusion, through endless snow
to the end of a long driveway
where, we hope, it waits—
this letter, this package, this
singing of wind around an opened door.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 14 January 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 14 January 1841 – Berthe Morisot, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “The Sisters”; “Grain field”; “Reading”; “The Artist’s Sister at a Window”; “On the Balcony”; “Lady at her Toilette.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 14 January 1912 – Tillie Olsen, an American short story writer and novelist.

Some quotes from the work of Tillie Olsen:

“That’s what I want to be when I grow up, just a peaceful wreck holding hands with other peaceful wrecks.”
“More than in any other human relationship, overwhelmingly more, motherhood means being instantly interruptible, responsive, and responsible.”
“The clock talked loud. I threw it away, it scared me what it talked.”
“Think about all that we’ve lost that has been said orally because nobody was taking it down. I feel very fortunate to live in a time where we have so many different voices. We have a much richer literature than we’ve ever had, and we can know America so much better.”
“It is a long baptism into the seas of humankind, my daughter. Better immersion than to live untouched.”
“I don’t want to die leaving the world as it is right now.”
“And when is there time to remember, to sift, to weigh, to estimate, to total?”

This Date in Art History: Born 14 January 1841 – Berthe Morisot, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Hanging the Laundry out to Dry”; “Child among the Hollyhocks”; “The Lake in the Bois de Boulogne”; “Winter”; “Julie Manet et son Lévrier Laerte”; “The Dining Room.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 14 January 1875 – Albert Schweitzer, an Alsatian writer, philosopher, physician, humanitarian, organist, theologian, and recipient of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Albert Schweitzer:

“We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.”
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.”
“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in a world all of your own.”
“If you own something you cannot give away, then you don’t own it, it owns you.”
“For animals that are overworked, underfed, and cruelly treated; for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry; for all that must be put to death…and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words.”
“Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy.”
“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”
“The only thing of importance, when we depart, will be the traces of love we have left behind.”

Contemporary Canadian Art – Gillian Lindsay

Below (photographs) – “Beyond The Pale”; “Lasting Impression”; “Remains I”; “Passage”; “Red Dot”; “Mistral.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 14 January 1977 – Anais Nin, a French-Cuban American diarist, essayist, novelist, and short story writer.

Some quotes from the work of Anais Nin:

“My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to find peace with exactly who and what I am. To take pride in my thoughts, my appearance, my talents, my flaws and to stop this incessant worrying that I can’t be loved as I am.”
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
“It takes courage to push yourself to places you have never been before… to test your limits… to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to stay tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
“What everyone forgets is that passion is not merely a heightened sensual fusion but a way of life which produces, as in the mystics, an ecstatic awareness of the whole of life.”
“Don’t let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.”
“I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.”
“The only transformer and alchemist that turns everything into gold is love. The only magic against death, aging, ordinary life, is love.”
“When you possess light within, you see it externally.”
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Darek Grabus

Below – Untitled; Untitled; “Beware of the cat”; “Exhibition”; “Delay”; “A girl in a red swimsuit.”

A Poem for Today
by Lola Haskins

“To Play Pianissimo”

Does not mean silence.
The absence of moon in the day sky
for example.

Does not mean barely to speak,
the way a child’s whisper
makes only warm air
on his mother’s right ear.

To play pianissimo
is to carry sweet words
to the old woman in the last dark row
who cannot hear anything else,
and to lay them across her lap like a shawl.

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