Wandering in Woodacre – 22 September 2020: Autumn

Greeting Autumn

Below – “Georgia O’Keeffe: “Autumn Leaves”

Art for Autumn – Vincent van Gogh: “Autumn Landscape”

A Poem for Autumn

“To Autumn”
by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barréd clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Below – William Stott of Oldham: “Autumn”


Art for Autumn – Jean-Francois Millet: “Haystacks Autumn”


Musings in Autumn: Nathaniel Hawthorne

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”

Below – Viktor Kucheryavyy: “The Golden Hour”

Art for Autumn – Lise Temple: “Autumn Vineyard with Cypresses”

A Poem for Autumn

“The Thrush”
by Edward Thomas

When Winter’s ahead,
What can you read in November
That you read in April
When Winter’s dead?

I hear the thrush, and I see
Him alone at the end of the lane
Near the bare poplar’s tip,
Singing continuously.

Is it more that you know
Than that, even as in April,
So in November,
Winter is gone that must go?

Or is all your lore
Not to call November November,
And April April,
And Winter Winter—no more?

But I know the months all,
And their sweet names, April,
May and June and October,
As you call and call

I must remember
What died into April
And consider what will be born
Of a fair November;

And April I love for what
It was born of, and November
For what it will die in,
What they are and what they are not,

While you love what is kind,
What you can sing in
And love and forget in
All that’s ahead and behind.

Below – Turdus Philomelos: “The Song Thrush”

Art for Autumn – Wassily Kandinsky: “Autumn in Murnau”

A Poem for Autumn

“Japanese Maple”
by Clive James

Your death, near now, is of an easy sort.
So slow a fading out brings no real pain.
Breath growing short
Is just uncomfortable. You feel the drain
Of energy, but thought and sight remain:
Enhanced, in fact. When did you ever see
So much sweet beauty as when fine rain falls
On that small tree
And saturates your brick back garden walls,
So many Amber Rooms and mirror halls?
Ever more lavish as the dusk descends
This glistening illuminates the air.
It never ends.
Whenever the rain comes it will be there,
Beyond my time, but now I take my share.
My daughter’s choice, the maple tree is new.
Come autumn and its leaves will turn to flame.
What I must do
Is live to see that. That will end the game
For me, though life continues all the same:
Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,
A final flood of colours will live on
As my mind dies,
Burned by my vision of a world that shone
So brightly at the last, and then was gone.

Below – Christoper P Jones: “Japanese Maple”

Art for Autumn – Childe Hassam: “Autumn Boulevard, Paris”

Musings in Autumn: Dodie Smith

“Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?”

Below – David Snider: “Autumn Mist”

Art for Autumn – Martin Stranka: “I Can Hear You Call” (photograph)

A Poem for Autumn

“Beginning”
by James Wright

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
Now.
There they are, the moon’s young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.

Below – Howard Sills: “On the Night Walk”


Art for Autumn – David Hockney: “Woldgate Woods”


Musings in Autumn: George Eliot

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

Below – Vahe Yeremyan: “Autumn Palette”

Art for Autumn – Pierre Bonnard: “Autumn View”


A Poem for Autumn

“Sonnet 73: That time of year thou mayst in me behold”
by William Shakespeare

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Below – Clement Tsang: “Tree Without Leaves”


Art for Autumn – Bach Nguyen: “green autumn”

Musings in Autumn: Ray Bradbury

“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.”

Below – Arnold Bocklin: “Autumn Thoughts”


Art for Autumn – Andrew Bret Wallis: “Fall First Light”


A Poem for Autumn

“Final Autumn”
by Annie Finch

Maple leaves turn black in the courtyard.
Light drives lower and one bluejay crams
our cold memories out past the sun,

each time your traces come past the shadows
and visit under my looking-glass fingers
that lift and block out the sun.

Come—I’ll trace you one final autumn,
and you can trace your last homecoming
into the snow or the sun.

Below – Edwidge De Mota: “Homecoming”

Art for Autumn – Katsushika Hokusai: “Peasants in Autumn”


Musings in Autumn: John Howard Bryant

“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

Below – Yuanyuan Liu: “Autumn Landscape”


Art for Autumn – Veneta Karamfilova: “The Whisper of Autumn” (photograph)

A Poem for Autumn

“Nothing Gold Can Stay”
by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Below – David Snider: “Summer Departs”


Art for Autumn – Gustav Klimt: “Birch Forest”


Welcome, Wonderful Autumn

Below – Below – Egon Schiele: “Four Trees”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Wandering in Woodacre – 21 September 2020

Bidding Farewell To Summer

Below – Sherry Xiaohong Chen: “The End of Summer”

Art for the End of Summer – Tanja Vetter: “End of summer III”

Musings at the End of Summer: Sarah Helen Whitman

“When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and, like a dream, glides away.”

A Poem for the End of Summer

“The Summer’s End”
by Pat A. Fleming

The familiar rhythm of the cricket’s chirps
Create the soundtrack for each day,
Echoing Summer’s end
And that Autumn’s on her way.

The stifling heat of the summer sun
Is now tempered by the clouds.
Those fluffy, cotton August clouds,
That soft breezes push about.

Shadows falling everywhere
As the sun plays peek-a-boo.
Losing her strength with each new day,
A sure sign that Summer is through.

As the lazy, care-free summer days,
Reluctantly draw to an end.
Excitement grows for what’s ahead,
As school days and the Fall begin.

And no matter how the years may pass,
And how old I come to be,
I’ll always love this time of year,
As it holds such fond memories

Of sitting with my childhood friends,
Recalling all our fun
While running, swimming and riding bikes
Beneath the summer sun.

And sharing all our hopes and dreams
As the future stirs us on.
Knowing as we sit on that late, August eve,
Summer’s ending, but her memory lives on.

But there’s also a haunting sadness sometimes
That I feel when those dark shadows fall.
And that my greatest adventures in life
Are just memories, now aroused by those sweet cricket calls.

Below – Emma Champion: “left alone with the memories” (photograph)


Art for the End of Summer – Jo Sharpe: “Wild flowers and grasses at the end of summer”

Musings at the End of Summer: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Gone are the birds that were our summer guests.”


A Poem for the End of Summer

“End of Summer”
by Stanley Kunitz

An agitation of the air,
A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night.

I stood in the disenchanted field
Amid the stubble and the stones,
Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me
The song of my marrow-bones.

Blue poured into summer blue,
A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,
The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew
That part of my life was over.

Already the iron door of the north
Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows
Order their populations forth,
And a cruel wind blows.

Art for the End of Summer – Antonia Rusu: “End of Summer”

This Date in Literary History: Born 21 September 1947 – Marsha Norman, an American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Marsha Norman:

“Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you.”
“There are things that music can do that language could never do, that painting could never do, or sculpture. Music is capable of going directly to the source of the mystery. It doesn’t have to explain it. It can simply celebrate it.”
“We are not afraid to look under the bed, or to wash the sheets; we know that life is messy. We know that somebody has to clean it up, and that only if it is cleaned up can we hope to start over, and get better.”
“Art is how a culture records its life, how it poses questions for the next generation and how it will be remembered.”
“During the day, our souls gather their … impressions of us, how our lives feel. … Our spirits collect these impressions, keep them together, like wisps of smoke in a bag. Then, when we’re asleep, our brains open up these bags of smoke … and take a look.”
“Family is just accident…. They don’t mean to get on your nerves. They don’t even mean to be your family, they just are.”
“There is no point in trying to remember your dreams … There is only the unspeakable joy of eavesdropping on your spirit, catching tiny glimpses of its independent life, resting for a moment in its wisdom, puzzling, laughing sometimes, over what it’s up to, what it makes of you.”

Musings at the End of Summer: Oscar Wilde

“…and all at once, summer collapsed into fall.”


Art for the End of Summer – Jonathan Collins: “Sunflowers towards the end of summer”


A Poem for the End of Summer

“As imperceptibly as Grief”
by Emily Dickinson

As imperceptibly as Grief
The Summer lapsed away—
Too imperceptible at last
To seem like Perfidy—
A Quietness distilled
As Twilight long begun,
Or Nature spending with herself
Sequestered Afternoon—
The Dusk drew earlier in—
The Morning foreign shone—
A courteous, yet harrowing Grace,
As Guest, that would be gone—
And thus, without a Wing
Or service of a Keel
Our Summer made her light escape
Into the Beautiful.

Musings at the End of Summer: Sebastian Faulks

“The end-of-summer winds make people restless.”

Below – Isabelle Schenckbecher-Quint: “summer wind 2”


Art for the End of Summer – Christian Bahr: “Of Love And Hope At The End Of Summer”

A Poem for the End of Summer

“The End of Summer”
by Rachel Hadas

Sweet smell of phlox drifting across the lawn—
an early warning of the end of summer.
August is fading fast, and by September
the little purple flowers will all be gone.

Season, project, and vacation done.
One more year in everybody’s life.
Add a notch to the old hunting knife
Time keeps testing with a horny thumb.

Over the summer months hung an unspoken
aura of urgency. In late July
galactic pulsings filled the midnight sky
like silent screaming, so that, strangely woken,

we looked at one another in the dark,
then at the milky magical debris
arcing across, dwarfing our meek mortality.
There were two ways to live: get on with work,

redeem the time, ignore the imminence
of cataclysm; or else take it slow,
be as tranquil as the neighbors’ cow
we love to tickle through the barbed wire fence
(she paces through her days in massive innocence,
or, seeing green pastures, we imagine so).

In fact, not being cows, we have no choice.
Summer or winter, country, city, we
are prisoners from the start and automatically,
hemmed in, harangued by the one clamorous voice.

Not light but language shocks us out of sleep
ideas of doom transformed to meteors
we translate back to portents of the wars
looming above the nervous watch we keep.

Below – Amy Bernays: “Impending Doom”

This Date in Literary History: Born 21 September 1945 – Kay Ryan, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“The Edges of Time”
by Kay Ryan

It is at the edges
that time
thins.
Time which had been
dense and viscous
as amber suspending
intentions like bees
unseizes them. A
humming begins,
apparently
coming
from stacks of
put-off things or
just in back. A
racket
of claims now,
as time flattens. A
glittering fan of things
competing to happen,
brilliant and urgent
as fish when seas
retreat.


Art for the End of Summer – Elzbieta Gibek: “End of Summer”

Musings at the End of Summer: George R.R. Martin

“Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”

Below – Gennaro Santaniello: “The End of Summer”


A Poem for the End of Summer

“Three Songs at the End of Summer”
by Jane Kenyon

A second crop of hay lies cut
and turned. Five gleaming crows
search and peck between the rows.
They make a low, companionable squawk,
and like midwives and undertakers
possess a weird authority.

Crickets leap from the stubble,
parting before me like the Red Sea.
The garden sprawls and spoils.

Across the lake the campers have learned
to water ski. They have, or they haven’t.
Sounds of the instructor’s megaphone
suffuse the hazy air. “Relax! Relax!”

Cloud shadows rush over drying hay,
fences, dusty lane, and railroad ravine.
The first yellowing fronds of goldenrod
brighten the margins of the woods.

Schoolbooks, carpools, pleated skirts;
water, silver-still, and a vee of geese.

*

The cicada’s dry monotony breaks
over me. The days are bright
and free, bright and free.

Then why did I cry today
for an hour, with my whole
body, the way babies cry?

*

A white, indifferent morning sky,
and a crow, hectoring from its nest
high in the hemlock, a nest as big
as a laundry basket …
In my childhood
I stood under a dripping oak,
while autumnal fog eddied around my feet,
waiting for the school bus
with a dread that took my breath away.

The damp dirt road gave off
this same complex organic scent.

I had the new books—words, numbers,
and operations with numbers I did not
comprehend—and crayons, unspoiled
by use, in a blue canvas satchel
with red leather straps.

Spruce, inadequate, and alien
I stood at the side of the road.
It was the only life I had.

Below – Liu Chenyang: “Sing a song, waiting for the sunset”


Art for the End of Summer – Yuliia Meniailova: “End of Summer”

Musings at the End of Summer: William Shakespeare

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”

A Poem for the End of Summer

“XXXIX” (from “Last Poems”)
by AE Housman

When summer’s end is nighing
And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
And all the feats I vowed
When I was young and proud.

The weathercock at sunset
Would lose the slanted ray,
And I would climb the beacon
That looked to Wales away
And saw the last of day.

From hill and cloud and heaven
The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
And hushed the countryside,
But I had youth and pride.

And I with earth and nightfall
In converse high would stand,
Late, till the west was ashen
And darkness hard at hand,
And the eye lost the land.

The year might age, and cloudy
The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
Breathed from beyond the snows,
And I had hope of those.

They came and were and are not
And come no more anew;
And all the years and seasons
That ever can ensue
Must now be worse and few.

So here’s an end of roaming
On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
For summer’s parting sighs,
And then the heart replies.

Art for the End of Summer – Martine Chasse: “Saisir l’instant”

Goodbye, Wonderful Summer

Below – Daniel Friend: “Last swim at the end of summer” (photograph)

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Wandering in Woodacre – 20 September 2020

Contemporary British Art – Alison Chaplin

Below – “in this shady grove”; “winter drama”; “Shadow Play”; “High Beach Pond”; “dreamy forest”; “…’tis a world indeed, Where skies beneath us shine.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 September 1878 – Upton Sinclair, an American novelist, critic, essayist, author of “The Jungle” and “Dragon’s Teeth,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Upton Sinclair:

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
“One of the necessary accompaniments of capitalism in a democracy is political corruption.”
“Human beings suffer agonies, and their sad fates become legends; poets write verses about them and playwrights compose dramas, and the remembrance of past grief becomes a source of present pleasure – such is the strange alchemy of the spirit.”
“The rich people not only had all the money, they had all the chance to get more; they had all the knowledge and the power, and so the poor man was down, and he had to stay down.”
“As if political liberty made wage slavery any the more tolerable!”
“The old wanderlust had gotten into his blood, the joy of the unbound life, the joy of seeking, of hoping without limit.”

Contemporary American Art – David Cooper: Part I of II.

Below – “Cheyenne Bottoms”; “Beach Surf”; “OP Back Alley”; “Blake’s House”; “Kunza”; “Space Junk.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 20 September 1971 – Giorgos Seferis, a Greek poet and recipient of the 1963 Nobel Prize for Literature.

“Flowers of the Rock”
By Giorgos Seferis

Flowers of the rock facing the green sea
with veins that reminded me of other loves
glowing in the slow fine rain,
flowers of the rock, figures
that came when no one spoke and spoke to me
that let me touch them after the silence
among pine-trees, oleanders, and plane-trees.

Below – Olha Darchuk: “Sea, rocks, flowers”

Contemporary American Art – David Cooper: Part II of II.

Below – “Highlights on River”; “Bell Garden”; “Umbrella City”; “A Little Town”; “Flint Hills Creek”; “Weston Vineyards and Orchard.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 September 1902 – Stevie Smith, an award-winning English poet.

“Not Waving but Drowning”
by Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Contemporary Canadian Art – Sandra Lamb

Below – “Ghosts of the Gathering Dusk”; “Between Worlds”; “Passage”; “Immigrant”; “No Quarter”; “The Journey vs The Destination.”

A Poem for Today: Izumi Shikibu (Japanese, c. 974 – c.1034)

translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani

Through the years
I’ve become used to sorrow:
there was not one spring
I didn’t leave behind
the flowers.

Below – Mariya Obidina: “Fading beauty”

Contemporary American Art – Faith Pattrson

Below – “After the Noise”; ““Allegro”; “Dusk”; “Morning Sun”; “Watching Time Unfold”; “Forevermore.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 September 1928 – Donald Hall, an American poet, writer, editor, and literary critic.

“Love Is Like Sounds”
by Donald Hall

Late snow fell this early morning of spring.
At dawn I rose from bed, restless, and looked
Out of my window, to wonder if there the snow
Fell outside your bedroom, and you watching.

I played my game of solitaire. The cards
Came out the same the third time through the deck.
The game was stuck. I threw the cards together,
And watched the snow that could not do but fall.

Love is like sounds, whose last reverberations
Hang on the leaves of strange trees, on mountains
As distant as the curving of the earth,
Where snow still hangs in the middle of the air.

Below – Ivy Tse: “Spring Snow Dancing In The Air”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Wandering in Woodacre – 19 September 2020

This Date in Art History: Died 19 September 1927 – Michael Ancher, a Danish painter.

Below – “A stroll on the beach”; “Skagen girl, Maren Sofie, knitting”; “Beach scene”; “Two Fishermen by a boat”; “The red lifeboat on its way out to sea”; “Michael Ancher: self-portrait.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 September 1894 – Rachel Field, an American poet, novelist, children’s fiction writer, and recipient of both the Newberry Award and the National Book Award.

“Something Told the Wild Geese”
by Rachel Field

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered,—‘Snow.’
Leaves were green and stirring,
Berries, luster-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
Something cautioned,—‘Frost.’
All the sagging orchards
Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
At remembered ice.
Something told the wild geese
It was time to fly,—
Summer sun was on their wings,
Winter in their cry.

Below – Rich Spicer: “Wild Geese”


This Date in Art History: Died 19 September 1967 – Zinaida Serebriakova, a Ukrainian-French painter.

Below – “The Veranda in Spring”; “Apples on the Branches”; “The Artist’s Sister”; “House of Cards”; “Nude”; “At the Dressing Table: Self-Portrait.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 19 September 1902 – Masaoka Shiki, a Japanese poet, critic, and author. Shiki is regarded as a major figure in the development of modern haiku poetry.

Haiku
by Masaoka Shiki

Evening snow falling,
a pair of mandarin ducks
on an ancient lake.

Note: Mandarin ducks are symbolic of happiness and marital fidelity in Japan and China.

Below – Rosemary Pocock: “Pair of Mandarin Ducks”

This Date in Art History: Born 19 September 1918 – Pablita Velarde, an American Pueblo painter.

Below – “Basketmaking”; “Deer in the Forest”; Untitled (Jack Rabbits); “Corn Shucking Scene”; “Santa Clara Dancers”; “Deer Dancer.”


Musings in Summer: Robinson Jeffers

“The tides are in our veins, we still mirror the stars, life is your child, but there is in me, older and harder than life and more impartial, the eye that watched before there was an ocean.”

Below – Blue Moon – Heike Schmidt: “Living in the Milky Way”


Contemporary American Art – Kevin Kuenster

In the words of one critic, “Kevin is one of a handful of artists working with the buon fresco technique. It is an extremely old process in which pigments are applied to a wet plaster surface. The plaster is a combination of aged lime putty and Carrara marble dust which is applied to a wood panel. When the plaster dries, the pigment is embedded in the surface which becomes hard and smooth like stone and is very permanent. Etruscan and Roman frescos with their rich colors have endured centuries.”

Below – “Memento”; “The future of loneliness series #3”; “Reflection Duo Green”; “The Three Furies of the Anthropocene”; “Oval Portrait of a Woman”; “Terra Eric Nobis #2 The Earth Will Have Us Back.”

A Poem for Today

“Cattle Fording Tarryall Creek”
by Catherine Savage Brosman

With measured pace, they move in single file,
dark hides, white faces, plodding through low grass,
then walk into the water, cattle-style,
indifferent to the matter where they pass.

The stream is high, the current swift—good rain,
late snow-melt, cold. Immerging to the flank,
the beasts proceed, a queue, a bovine chain,
impassive, stepping to the farther bank—

continuing their march, as if by word,
down valley to fresh pasture. The elect,
and stragglers, join, and recompose the herd,
both multiple and single, to perfect

impressions of an animated scene,
the creek’s meanders, milling cows, and sun.
Well cooled, the cattle graze knee-deep in green.
We leave them to their feed, this painting done.

Below – Olga Sto: “A grazing herd of cattle”

Contemporary American Art – Karen Clark

In the words of one critic, “Karen Clark uses oil, acrylic and collage to create pictorially hybrid compositions.”

Below – “Blue Flow flowers”; “Cowboy Suminagashi”; “Blue Flow Jungle”; “Blue Flow Pagoda #4”; “Best of all Possible Worlds”; “Blue Flow Mermaid.”

A Poem for Today

“Fern Hill”
by Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and
cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was
air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the
nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking
warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace.

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would
take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Below – Alison Chaplin: “…this hill of fern swells on”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Wandering in Woodacre – 18 September 2020

Contemporary Greek Art – Antigoni Tziora

Below – “La Vie Est belle”; “Conversation”; “The Softer Side”; “The Song Within”; “Infinite”; “Modern Venus.”

Musings in Summer: Robinson Jeffers

“It is only a little planet, but how beautiful it is.”

Below – Stella El: “Big Sur”

Contemporary Polish Art – Agnieszka Kozien

Below – “In the desert 6”; “Summertime 50”; “Summertime 32”; “Summertime 52”; “On the water nr 16.”


A Poem for Today

“Finding the Lego”
by Maryann Corbett

You find it when you’re tearing up your life,
trying to make some sense of the old messes,
moving dressers, peering under beds.
Almost lost in cat hair and in cobwebs,
in dust you vaguely know was once your skin,
it shows up, isolated, fragmentary.
A tidy little solid. Tractable.
Knobbed to be fitted in a lock-step pattern
with others. Plastic: red or blue or yellow.
Out of the dark, undamaged, there it is,
as bright and primary colored and foursquare
as the family with two parents and two children
who moved in twenty years ago in a dream.
It makes no allowances, concedes no failures,
admits no knowledge of a little girl
who glared through tears, rubbing her slapped cheek.
Rigidity is its essential trait.
Likely as not, you leave it where it was.

Contemporary British Art – Jim Hanlon

Below – “Official Business”; “Bon Voyage”; “Watching The Detectives”; “Beneficent Shore”; “Bridging The Flow”; “Season Falls.”

A Poem for Today

“The Purse-Seine”
by Robinson Jeffers

Our sardine fishermen work at night in the dark
of the moon; daylight or moonlight
They could not tell where to spread the net,
unable to see the phosphorescence of the
shoals of fish.
They work northward from Monterey, coasting
Santa Cruz; off New Year’s Point or off
Pigeon Point
The look-out man will see some lakes of milk-color
light on the sea’s night-purple; he points,
and the helmsman
Turns the dark prow, the motorboat circles the
gleaming shoal and drifts out her seine-net.
They close the circle
And purse the bottom of the net, then with great
labor haul it in.

I cannot tell you
How beautiful the scene is, and a little terrible,
then, when the crowded fish
Know they are caught, and wildly beat from one wall
to the other of their closing destiny the
phosphorescent
Water to a pool of flame, each beautiful slender body
sheeted with flame, like a live rocket
A comet’s tail wake of clear yellow flame; while outside
the narrowing
Floats and cordage of the net great sea-lions come up
to watch, sighing in the dark; the vast walls
of night
Stand erect to the stars.

Lately I was looking from a night mountain-top
On a wide city, the colored splendor, galaxies of light:
how could I help but recall the seine-net
Gathering the luminous fish? I cannot tell you how
beautiful the city appeared, and a little terrible.
I thought, We have geared the machines and locked all together
into inter-dependence; we have built the great cities; now
There is no escape. We have gathered vast populations incapable
of free survival, insulated
From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless, on all
dependent. The circle is closed, and the net
Is being hauled in. They hardly feel the cords drawing, yet
they shine already. The inevitable mass-disasters
Will not come in our time nor in our children’s, but we
and our children
Must watch the net draw narrower, government take all
powers–or revolution, and the new government
Take more than all, add to kept bodies kept souls–or anarchy,
the mass-disasters.
These things are Progress;
Do you marvel our verse is troubled or frowning, while it keeps
its reason? Or it lets go, lets the mood flow
In the manner of the recent young men into mere hysteria,
splintered gleams, crackled laughter. But they are
quite wrong.
There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew
that cultures decay, and life’s end is death.

Below – Joyce Yamada: “The Purse Seine”


Contemporary Romanian Art – Liviu Mihai

Below – “I found a horse”; “The kiss”; “Unknown girl”; ““Just between us”; “Sea landscape”; “Mind layers.”

A Poem for Today

“The Ring Toss Lady Breaks a Five”
by Mark Kraushaar

It’s all of it rigged, she says,
Bust-one-wins, Hi-striker, even the Dozer.
It’s like you think you’ll score that giant panda
for the wife except you can’t, or not
without you drop another twenty
and then—what?—then you win
a thumb-sized monkey or a little comb.
She hands me five ones and then stands.
She’s worked the whole of the midway,
she says, funnel cake to corn-dogs.
She’s worked every game
plus half the rides, Krazy Koaster,
Avalanche, Wing-Ding, Tilt-a-Whirl
and if there’s somebody sick she’ll do
a kiddy ride too, Li’l Choo-choo, maybe
the Tea Cup.
There’s a collapsing soft sigh
and she sits, opens the paper, turns a page
and as if she were the one assigned to face forwards,
as if it were her job to intuit the world
and interpret the news,
Anymore, she says, it’s out of our hands,
it’s all we can do—it’s not up to you.
You see that bald bronco tearing
tickets at the carousel?
We worked the Bottle-drop
and now he’s mine: he’s no genius
but he loves me and he’s mine.
Things happen, she says, you
can’t take them back.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Wandering in Woodacre – 17 September 2020

This Date in Art History: Died 17 September 1925 – Carl Eytel, a German-American painter and illustrator.

Below – “Desert near Palm Springs”; “A Rio Grande pueblo”; “California landscape”; “Desert landscape”; “Cliffs at Sunset.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 September 1883 – William Carlos Williams, an American poet, short story writer, essayist, and recipient of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

“This is Just to Say”
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Below – Robert Hunt: “Plums”


Contemporary Canadian Art – Lis Ng

Below – “Peacock Descending A Staircase”; “Housing Gradient”; “Floral Print Gecko”; “Family Portrait”; “Tiger Empress (Tiger Mom In Her Throne).”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 September 1935 – Ken Kesey, an American novelist, essayist, poet, and author of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Some quotes from the work of Ken Kesey:

“High high in the hills , high in a pine tree bed.
She’s tracing the wind with that old hand, counting the clouds with that old chant,
Three geese in a flock
one flew east
one flew west
one flew over the cuckoo’s nest”
“It isn’t by getting out of the world that we become enlightened, but by getting into the world…by getting so tuned in that we can ride the waves of our existence and never get tossed because we become the waves.”
“You can’t really be strong until you can see a funny side to things.”
“I lay in bed the night before the fishing trip and thought it over, about my being deaf, about the years of not letting on I heard what was said, and I wonder if I can ever act any other way again. But I remembered one thing: it wasn’t me that started acting deaf; it was people that first started acting like I was too dumb to hear or see or say anything at all.”
“But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.”
“The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer. They think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.”
“To hell with facts! We need stories!”


Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Anastasia Grace

Below – “Wish you were here”; “Flower Dreams”; “Yes, I am French”; “Waiting for a perfect man”; “They call me the Wild Rose”; “Red hat on vacation.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 17 September 1939 – Carl Dennis, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Progressive Health”
by Carl Dennis

We here at Progressive Health would like to thank you
For being one of the generous few who’ve promised
To bequeath your vital organs to whoever needs them.

Now we’d like to give you the opportunity
To step out far in front of the other donors
By acting a little sooner than you expected,

Tomorrow, to be precise, the day you’re scheduled
To come in for your yearly physical. Six patients
Are waiting this very minute in intensive care

Who will likely die before another liver
And spleen and pairs of lungs and kidneys
Match theirs as closely as yours do. Twenty years,

Maybe more, are left you, granted, but the gain
Of these patients might total more than a century.
To you, of course, one year of your life means more

Than six of theirs, but to no one else,
No one as concerned with the general welfare
As you’ve claimed to be. As for your poems—

The few you may have it in you to finish—
Even if we don’t judge them by those you’ve written,
Even if we assume you finally stage a breakthrough,

It’s doubtful they’ll raise one Lazarus from a grave
Metaphoric or literal. But your body is guaranteed
To work six wonders. As for the gaps you’ll leave

As an aging bachelor in the life of friends,
They’ll close far sooner than the open wounds
Soon to be left in the hearts of husbands and wives,

Parents and children, by the death of the six
Who now are failing. Just imagine how grateful
They’ll all be when they hear of your grand gesture.

Summer and winter they’ll visit your grave, in shifts,
For as long as they live, and stoop to tend it,
And leave it adorned with flowers or holly wreaths,

While your friends, who are just as forgetful
As you are, just as liable to be distracted,
Will do no more than a makeshift job of upkeep.

If the people you’ll see tomorrow pacing the halls
Of our crowded facility don’t move you enough,
They’ll make you at least uneasy. No happy future

Is likely in store for a man like you whose conscience
Will ask him to certify every hour from now on
Six times as full as it was before, your work

Six times as strenuous, your walks in the woods
Six times as restorative as anyone else’s.
Why be a drudge, staggering to the end of your life

Under this crushing burden when, with a single word,
You could be a god, one of the few gods
Who, when called on, really listens?

Below – Trisha Rhomberg: “Organ Donor”

Contemporary British Art – Johnny Popkess

Below – “Artist’s Block”; “Distant shores”; “First Day of Summer”; “Hardships of Modern Travel”; “Drip Drying”; “Mid-Afternoon Stroll.”


A Poem for Today

“Spring Reign”
by Dean Young

Thank you whoever tuned the radio
to rain, thank you who spilled
the strong-willed wine for not
being me so I’m not to blame. I’m glad

I’m not that broken tree although
it looks sublime. And glad I’m not
taking a test and running out of time.
What’s a tetrahedron anyway? What’s

the sublime, 3,483 divided by 9,
the tenth amendment, the ferryman’s name
on the River Styx? We’re all missing
more and more tricks, losing our grips,

guilty of crimes we didn’t commit.
The horse rears and races then moves no more,
the sports coupe grinds to a stop, beginning
a new life as rot, beaten to shit, Whitman

grass stain, consciousness swamp gas,
the bones and brain, protoplasm and liver,
ground down like stones in a river. Or does
the heart’s cinder wash up as delta froth

out of which hops frog spawn, dog song,
the next rhyming grind, next kid literati?
Maybe the world’s just a bubble, all
philosophy ants in a muddle,

an engine inside an elk’s skull on a pole.
Maybe an angel’s long overdue and we’re
all in trouble. Meanwhile thanks whoever
for the dial turned to green downpour, thanks

for feathery conniptions at the seashore
and moth-minded, match-flash breath.
Thank you for whatever’s left.

Below – Vince Carl: “Display of Gratitude”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Wandering in Woodacre – 16 September 2020

Contemporary British Art – Robert Owen Bloomfield

Below – “Thora”; “Immaculata”; “Hypatia”; “Nyx”; “Kazuki”; “still peaks.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 16 September 1925 – John Knowles, an award-winning American novelist and author of “A Separate Peace.”

Some quotes from the work of John Knowles:

“There was no harm in taking aim, even if the target was a dream.”
“Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him. It is the moment when his emotions achieve their most powerful sway over him, and afterward when you say to this person “’he world today’ or ‘life’ or ‘reality’ he will assume that you mean this moment, even if it is fifty years past. The world, through his unleashed emotions, imprinted itself upon him, and he carries the stamp of that passing moment forever.”
“It seemed clear that wars were not made by generations and their special stupidities, but that wars were made instead by something ignorant in the human heart”
“I began to know that each morning reasserted the problems of night before, that sleep suspended all but changed nothing, that you couldn’t make yourself over between dawn and dusk.”
“It is a sad day when one looks back and sees that his largest regrets have become some of the most integral elements of his dreams.”
“What I mean is, I love winter, and when you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love.”

Contemporary Cypriot Art – Salma Alhabash

Below – “My Center”; “Japanese Temples #1”; “Lady in A Geisha Costume”; “Andriana by The Pool #1”; “Sailboats”; “Fairuz.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 16 September 1984 – Richard Brautigan, an American poet, novelist, and short story writer.

“Haiku Ambulance”
by Richard Brautigan

A piece of green pepper
fell
off the wooden salad bowl:
so what?

Contemporary Croatian Art – Lena Kramaric: Part I of II.

Below – “Snow Keeper”; “Day-Night”; “Golden goose”; “(Summer is over) My kind of summer”; “L152”; “strange fairy tale.”


Musings in Summer: Plato

“The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful.”

Below – Clare Winslow: “Japanese Temple by the Sea”


Contemporary Croatian Art – Lena Kramaric: Part II of II.

Below – “Season changes”; “CR1/half and half”; “Another media, another technique, same author”; “Transformation pending (on the ice) / Potentially me”; “Mood swings”; “Treasure.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 16 September 2004 – Michael Donaghy, an award-winning American-English poet.

“The Present”
by Michael Donaghy

For the present there is just one moon,
though every level pond gives back another.

But the bright disc shining in the black lagoon,
perceived by astrophysicist and lover,

is milliseconds old. And even that light’s
seven minutes older than its source.

And the stars we think we see on moonless nights
are long extinguished. And, of course,

this very moment, as you read this line,
is literally gone before you know it.

Forget the here-and-now. We have no time
but this device of wantonness and wit.

Make me this present then: your hand in mine,
and we’ll live out our lives in it.

Below – sven duChoudry: “Moonlight Geometry”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Wandering in Woodacre – 15 September 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 15 September 1942 – Ksenia Milicevic, a French painter.

Below – “Silence de midi”; “Azur attendri d’octobre pâle et pur”; “Le voyage d’hiver”; “Celui qui vient après”; “The wine of memory”; “Good morning blues.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 15 September 1989 – Robert Penn Warren, an American poet, novelist, literary critic, author of “All the King’s Men,” and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part I of III.

Some quotes from the work of Robert Penn Warren:

“For West is where we all plan to go some day. It is where you go when the land gives out and the old-field pines encroach. It is where you go when you get the letter saying: Flee, all is discovered. It is where you go when you look down at the blade in your hand and the blood on it. It is where you go when you are told that you are a bubble on the tide of empire. It is where you go when you hear that thar’s gold in them-thar hills. It is where you go to grow up with the country. It is where you go to spend your old age. Or it is just where you go.”
“The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can’t know. He can’t know whether knowledge will save him or kill him. He will be killed, all right, but he can’t know whether he is killed because of the knowledge which he has got or because of the knowledge which he hasn’t got and which if he had it, would save him.”
“There is nothing more alone than being in a car at night in the rain. I was in the car. And I was glad of it. Between one point on the map and another point on the map, there was the being alone in the car in the rain. They say you are not you except in terms of relation to other people. If there weren’t any other people there wouldn’t be any you because what you do which is what you are, only has meaning in relation to other people. That is a very comforting thought when you are in the car in the rain at night alone, for then you aren’t you, and not being you or anything, you can really lie back and get some rest. It is a vacation from being you. There is only the flow of the motor under your foot spinning that frail thread of sound out of its metal guy like a spider, that filament, that nexus, which isn’t really there, between the you which you have just left in one place and the you which you will be where you get to the other place.”
“And soon now we shall go out of the house and go into the convulsion of the world, out of history into history and the awful responsibility of Time.”
“The lack of a sense of history is the damnation of the modern world.”


Contemporary German Art – Jessica Rimondi

Below – “Tell me about my future”; “Night Flower”; “Drowning Sorrow in Fountayne Road”; “Popolo.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 15 September 1989 – Robert Penn Warren, an American poet, novelist, literary critic, author of “All the King’s Men,” and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part II of III.

“Evening Hawk”
by Robert Penn Warren

From plane of light to plane, wings dipping through
Geometries and orchids that the sunset builds,
Out of the peak’s black angularity of shadow, riding
The last tumultuous avalanche of
Light above pines and the guttural gorge,
The hawk comes.

His wing
Scythes down another day, his motion
Is that of the honed steel-edge, we hear
The crashless fall of stalks of Time.

The head of each stalk is heavy with the gold of our error.

Look! Look! he is climbing the last light
Who knows neither Time nor error, and under
Whose eye, unforgiving, the world, unforgiven, swings
Into shadow.

Long now,
The last thrush is still, the last bat
Now cruises in his sharp hieroglyphics. His wisdom
Is ancient, too, and immense. The star
Is steady, like Plato, over the mountain.

If there were no wind we might, we think, hear
The earth grind on its axis, or history
Drip in darkness like a leaking pipe in the cellar.

Contemporary Singaporean Art – Andy Greenaway

Below – “Woman contemplating”; “Strength of a woman”; “The pose”; “on a pedestal”; “Isolation”; “The view from behind.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 15 September 1938 – Thomas Wolfe, an influential American novelist, short story writer, and author of “Look Homeward, Angel.”

Some quotes from the work of Thomas Wolfe:

“Child, child, have patience and belief, for life is many days, and each present hour will pass away. Son, son, you have been mad and drunken, furious and wild, filled with hatred and despair, and all the dark confusions of the soul – but so have we. You found the earth too great for your one life, you found your brain and sinew smaller than the hunger and desire that fed on them – but it has been this way with all men. You have stumbled on in darkness, you have been pulled in opposite directions, you have faltered, you have missed the way, but, child, this is the chronicle of the earth. And now, because you have known madness and despair, and because you will grow desperate again before you come to evening, we who have stormed the ramparts of the furious earth and been hurled back, we who have been maddened by the unknowable and bitter mystery of love, we who have hungered after fame and savored all of life, the tumult, pain, and frenzy, and now sit quietly by our windows watching all that henceforth never more shall touch us – we call upon you to take heart, for we can swear to you that these things pass.”
“I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once.”
“There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.”
“The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.”
“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame, back home to exile, to escape to Europe and some foreign land, back home to lyricism, to singing just for singing’s sake, back home to aestheticism, to one’s youthful idea of ‘the artist’ and the all-sufficiency of ‘art’ and ‘beauty’ and ‘love,’ back home to the ivory tower, back home to places in the country, to the cottage in Bermuda, away from all the strife and conflict of the world, back home to the father you have lost and have been looking for, back home to someone who can help you, save you, ease the burden for you, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time–back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”
“Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into the nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.”
“The old hunger for voyages fed at his heart….To go alone…into strange cities; to meet strange people and to pass again before they could know him; to wander, like his own legend, across the earth–it seemed to him there could be no better thing than that.”
“. . . a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces.
Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.
Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father’s heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?
O waste of lost, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this weary, unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When?
O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.”
“You can’t go home again.”

Contemporary Belgian Art – Hugo Pondz

Below – “Early in the Morning”; “Summer Approaching II”; “The Coming of Spring”; “The Next Journey”; “The Next Discovery”; “Waiting for the Signal.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 15 September 1989 – Robert Penn Warren, an American poet, novelist, literary critic, author of “All the King’s Men,” and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part III of III.

“Tell Me A Story”
by Robert Penn Warren

[A}

Long ago, in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.

I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse.I heard them.

I did not know what was happening in my heart.

It was the season before the elderberry blooms,
Therefore they were going north.

The sound was passing northward.

[B]

Tell me a story.
In this century, and moment, of mania,
Tell me a story.
Make it a story of great distances, and starlight.
The name of the story will be Time,
But you must not pronounce its name.
Tell me a story of deep delight.

Below – Kasia Derwinska: “the key to time” (photograph)

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Wandering in Woodacre – 14 September 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 14 September 1883 – Richard Gerstl, an Austrian painter and illustrator.

Below – “Railway to the Kahlenberg”; “Seated Woman in Green dress”; “Portrait of Henryka Cohn”; “Portrait of a seated man”; “Schonberg Family”; “Semi-nude Self-portrait against a blue background.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 14 September 1851 – James Fenimore Cooper, an American novelist, short story writer, historian, and author of “The Leatherstocking Tales.”
I have enjoyed reading “The Leatherstocking Tales” several times, but I have never been able to study them without occasionally smiling after reading Mark Twain’s satirical essay “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses.”

Some quotes from the work of James Fenimore Cooper:

“History, like love, is so apt to surround her heroes with an atmosphere of imaginary brightness.”
“Then as to churches, they are good, I suppose, else wouldn’t good men uphold’ em. But they are not altogether necessary. They call ’em the temples of the Lord; but, Judith, the whole ‘arth is a temple of the Lord to such as have the right mind. Neither forts nor churches make people happier of themselves. Moreover, all is contradiction in the settlements, while all is concord in the woods. Forts and churches almost always go together, and yet they’re downright contradictions; churches being for peace, and forts for war. No, no–give me the strong places of the wilderness, which is the trees, and the churches, too, which are arbors raised by the hand of nature.”
“An interesting fiction… however paradoxical the assertion may appear… addresses our love of truth- not the mere love of facts expressed by true names and dates, but the love of that higher truth, the truth of nature and principals, which is a primitive law of the human mind.”
“My day has been too long. In the morning I saw the sons of the Unamis happy and strong; and yet, before the sun has come, have I lived to see the last warrior of the wise race of the Mohicans.”

This Date in Art History: Died 14 September 1931 – Tom Roberts, an English-born Australian painter.

Below -“Slumbering Sea, Mentone”; “Holiday sketch at Coogee”; “Shearing the Rams”; “Bailed Up”; “Mosman’s Bay”; “Portrait of Florence.”

Musings in Summer: Sei Shonagon (Japanese, c. 966 – 1017 or 1025)

“In life there are two things which are dependable. The pleasures of the flesh and the pleasures of literature.”

Below – Marilyn Monroe reading James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Jacek Malinowski

Below – “Paesaggio”; “Primavera”; “mattina nebbiosa”; “Girasoli di agosto”; “L’ultima luce”; “Val d’orcio.”

A Poem for Today

“Creek-Song”
by Shari Wagner

It begins in a cow lane
with bees and white clover,
courses along corn, rushes
accelerando against rocks.
It rises to a teetering pitch
as I cross a shaky tree-bridge,
syncopates a riff
over the dissonance
of trash—derelict icebox
with a missing door,
mohair loveseat sinking
into thistle. It winds through green
adder’s mouth, faint as the bells
of Holsteins heading home.
Blue shadows lengthen,
but the undertow
of a harmony pulls me on
through raspy Joe-pye-weed
and staccato-barbed fence.
It hums in a culvert
beneath cars, then empties
into a river that flows oboe-deep
past Indian dance ground, waterwheel
and town, past the bleached
stones in the churchyard,
the darkening hill.

Below – Ksenia Sandesko: “River in the evening”

Contemporary British Art – Nadia Attura

Below (digitally layered photographs) – “Western Cape”; “Ella”; “Cape Beach”; “Cactus Nights”; “Cactus Majorelle” (Aluminium Dibond Acrylic Glass); “Blue red high.”

A Poem for Today

“Planting Peas”
by Linda M. Hasselstrom

It’s not spring yet, but I can’t
wait anymore. I get the hoe,
pull back the snow from the old
furrows, expose the rich dark earth.
I bare my hand and dole out shriveled peas,
one by one.

I see my grandmother’s hand,
doing just this, dropping peas
into gray gumbo that clings like clay.
This moist earth is rich and dark
as chocolate cake.

Her hands cradle
baby chicks; she finds kittens in the loft
and hands them down to me, safe beside
the ladder leading up to darkness.

I miss
her smile, her blue eyes, her biscuits and gravy,
but mostly her hands.
I push a pea into the earth,
feel her hands pushing me back. She’ll come in May,
she says, in long straight rows,
dancing in light green dresses.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Wandering in Woodacre – 13 September 2020

Contemporary Hungarian Art. – Peter Zelei

Below (photographs) – “Unbearable birdsong III”; “Vilhelm’s Dream III”; “Medea”; “Pictures at an Exhibition”; “Narcissa”; “Sky Mirror.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 13 September 1928 – Italo Svevo, an Italian writer, playwright, and author of “Zeno’s Conscience.”
Note: Italo Svevo was friends with James Joyce, who admired and praised his work. In fact, Svevo was the model for Leopold Bloom, the protagonist in Joyce’s monumental masterpiece “Ulysses.”

Some quotes from the work of Italo Svevo:

“The fancies of wine are authentic events.”
“You see things less clearly when you open your eyes too wide.”
“It is comfortable to live in the belief that you are great, though your greatness is latent.”
“Health doesn’t analyze itself, nor does it look at itself in the mirror. Only we sick people know something about ourselves.”
“Sorrow and love ― life, in other words ― cannot be considered a sickness because they hurt.”
“Unlike other sicknesses, life is always fatal. It doesn’t tolerate therapies. It would be like stopping the holes that we have in our bodies, believing them wounds. We would die of strangulation the moment we were treated.”
“The sun didn’t illuminate me! When you are old, you remain in shadow, even when you have wit.”

Contemporary British Art – Tania Coates

Below (photographs) – “Petrol Pump II”; “Trees on Beach VI”; “S.OS. Beach House”; “Trees on Beach III”; “Pentewan Beach 3.”

A Poem for Today

“One Light to Another”
by Jonathan Greene

The storm
turns off
the lights.

The lightning
lights the whereabouts
of the flashlight.

The flashlight
takes us to matches
and candles, the oil lamp.

Now we’re back,
revisiting
the 19th century.

Below – Isabelle Carr: “Oil Lamp”

Contemporary Russian Art – Natalia Gorn: Part I of II.

Below – “Old Garages”; “Waiting for Coffee”; “The Roots”; “The Railway”; The Night Bus.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 13 September 1915 – Roald Dahl, an award-winning Welsh novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and author of “The Witches,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and “Matilda.”

Some quotes from the work of Roald Dahl:

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books.”
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”
“Do you know what breakfast cereal is made of? It’s made of all those little curly wooden shavings you find in pencil sharpeners!”
“Mr. Wonka: ‘Don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted.’
Charlie Bucket: ‘What happened?’
Mr. Wonka: ‘He lived happily ever after.”’”
“We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.”
“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Natalia Gorn: Part II of II.

Below – “4 A.M. Insomnia”; “The Statue”; “A Girl on the Shore”; “The Garden”; “Sunny Evening.”

A Poem for Today

“Grasses”
by Heather Allen

So still at heart,
They respond like water
To the slightest breeze,
Rippling as one body,

And, as one mind,
Bend continually
To listen:
The perfect confidants,

They keep to themselves,
A web of trails and nests,
Burrows and hidden entrances—
Do not reveal

Those camouflaged in stillness
From the circling hawks,
Or crouched and breathless
At the passing of the fox.

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

Below – “White Dress”; “Adrift”;“Gypsy Jazz”; “Cats & Lanterns”; “Night Parade”; “Rainy Day Picnic in Audubon Park.”

Musings in Summer: Sei Shonagon (Japanese, c. 966 – 1017 or 1025)

“How ever did I pass
the time before I knew you?
I think of that past time
as now I pass each passing day
in lonely sorrow, lacking you.”

Below – Brandon Scott: “Alone but my thoughts are with you”


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

Below – “Women on a Raft”; Untitled; “Studio Shelf Still Life”; “Tree on a Hillside”; “Houseguest”; “Nights in the 9th Ward.”

A Poem for Today

“September Tomatoes”
by Karina Borowicz

The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.

Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.

It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.

My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment