Wandering in Woodacre – 14 May 2021

Contemporary British Art – Benjamin Stephenson

Below – “Night-stalker”; “Midnight Garden”; “Monsoon”; “A Big Wave”; “The Birth of Tragedy”; “Token.”

A Poem for Today

“The Starry Night”
by Anne Sexton

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die.
It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:
into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.

Below – Cleanne Marie Nano: “Dreaming under a starry night”


Contemporary British Art – Henry Glover

Below – “By the window”; “Blue Night”; “Burnt Sky”; “Adorn”; “Soft”; “Her Neck.”

A Poem for Today

“How It Is”
by Maxine Kumin

Shall I say how it is in your clothes?
A month after your death I wear your blue jacket.
The dog at the center of my life recognizes
you’ve come to visit, he’s ecstatic.
In the left pocket, a hole.
In the right, a parking ticket
delivered up last August on Bay State Road.
In my heart, a scatter like milkweed,
a flinging from the pods of the soul.
My skin presses your old outline.
It is hot and dry inside.

I think of the last day of your life,
old friend, how I would unwind it, paste
it together in a different collage,
back from the death car idling in the garage,
back up the stairs, your praying hands unlaced,
reassembling the bits of bread and tuna fish
into a ceremony of sandwich,
running the home movie backward to a space
we could be easy in, a kitchen place
with vodka and ice, our words like living meat.

Dear friend, you have excited crowds
with your example. They swell
like wine bags, straining at your seams.
I will be years gathering up our words,
fishing out letters, snapshots, stains,
leaning my ribs against this durable cloth
to put on the dumb blue blazer of your death.

Below – Monica Callaghan: “Dust”

Contemporary American Art -Cat de M

Below – “Blue Mighty Saguaro”; “The Roof is On Fire”; “The Hirshhorn Under the Stars”; “Kazan Under the Stars”; “Chicago Under the Stars.”

A Poem for Today

“I Am Learning To Abandon The World”
by Linda Pastan

I am learning to abandon the world
before it can abandon me.
Already I have given up the moon
and snow, closing my shades
against the claims of white.
And the world has taken
my father, my friends.
I have given up melodic lines of hills,
moving to a flat, tuneless landscape.
And every night I give my body up
limb by limb, working upwards
across bone, towards the heart.
But morning comes with small
reprieves of coffee and birdsong.
A tree outside the window
which was simply shadow moments ago
takes back its branches twig
by leafy twig.
And as I take my body back
the sun lays its warm muzzle on my lap
as if to make amends.

Below – Serhiy Savchenko: “Near the window”


Contemporary British Art – Sean Winn

Below – “Governed”; “Left Behind”; “You missed my heart”; “Let me know when the stars align…”; “Can’t Sleep Without You”; “Do you even love me?”; “Last night I thought about drowning.”


A Poem for Today

“Foraging For Wood On The Mountain”
by Jack Gilbert

The wild up here is not creatures, wooded,
tangled wild. It is absence wild.
Barren, empty, stone wild. Worn-away wild.
Only the smell of weeds and hot air.
But a place where differences are clear.
Between the mind’s severity and its harshness.
Between honesty and the failure of belief.
A man said no person is educated who knows
only one language, for he cannot distinguish
between his thought and the English version.
Up here he is translated to a place where it is
possible to discriminate between age and sorrow.

Below – Grażyna Smalej: “Looking from the top on the top”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 13 May 2021

Contemporary American Art – Jessica Alazraki

Below – “Bending Down”; “holding cat”; “Tiger”; “Cats & kids on Yellow”; “Red Hood”; “light in orange.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 13 May 1947 – Charles Baxter, an award-winning American short story writer, novelist, essayist, poet, and author of “Harmony of the World” and “The Feast of Love.”

Some quotes from the work of Charles Baxter:

“What’s agitating about solitude is the inner voice telling you that you should be mated to somebody, that solitude is a mistake. The inner voice doesn’t care about who you find. It just keeps pestering you, tormenting you–if you happen to be me–with homecoming queens first, then girls next door, and finally anybody who might be pleased to see you now and then at the dinner table and in bed on occasion. You look up from reading the newspaper and realize that no one loves you, and no one burns for you.”
“Forget art. Put your trust in ice cream.”
“As my mother once said to me, ‘They’re quite crazy, dear – men are. What you look for is one of them whose insanity is large enough, and calm and generous enough, to include you.”
“Savor the imminent weirdness of the day.”
“The point is that although love may die, what is said on its behalf cannot be consumed by the passage of time, and forgiveness is everything.”
“Every relationship has at least one really good day. What I mean is, no matter how sour things go, there’s always that day. That day is always in your possession. That’s the day you remember. You get old and you think: well, at least I had that day. It happened once. You think all the variables might just line up again. But they don’t. Not always. I once talked to a woman who said, ‘Yeah, that’s the day we had an angel around.’”


Contemporary American Art -Dean West

Below (photographs) – “Pink Dreams # 1, Miami Shores”; “Porto Katsiki Beach # 5, Under the Sun”; “Still Life # 1 (Desert Oasis)”; “Palm Springs # 3”; “New York #1”; “Tree.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 13 May 1940 – Bruce Chatwin, an award-winning English travel writer, novelist, journalist, and author of “In Patagonia” and “On the Black Hill.”

Some quotes from the work of Bruce Chatwin:

“Walking is a virtue, tourism is a deadly sin.”
“As a general rule of biology, migratory species are less ‘aggressive’ than sedentary ones.
There is one obvious reason why this should be so. The migration itself, like the pilgrimage, is the hard journey: a ‘leveller’ on which the ‘fit’ survive and stragglers fall by the wayside.
The journey thus pre-empts the need for hierarchies and shows of dominance. The ‘dictators’ of the animal kingdom are those who live in an ambience of plenty. The anarchists, as always, are the ‘gentlemen of the road’.”
“I haven’t got any special religion this morning. My God is the God of Walkers. If you walk hard enough, you probably don’t need any other god.”
“I climbed a path and from the top looked up-stream towards Chile. I could see the river, glinting and sliding through the bone-white cliffs with strips of emerald cultivation either side. Away from the cliffs was the desert. There was no sound but the wind, whirring through thorns and whistling through dead grass, and no other sign of life but a hawk, and a black beetle easing over white stones.”
“Sluggish and sedentary peoples, such as the Ancient Egyptians– with their concept of an afterlife journey through the Field of Reeds– project on to the next world the journeys they failed to make in this one.”
“Sometimes, I overheard my aunts discussing these blighted destinies; and Aunt Ruth would hug me, as if to forestall my following in their footsteps. Yet, from the way she lingered over such words as ‘Xanadu’ or ‘Samarkand’ or the ‘wine-dark sea,’ I think she also felt the trouble of the ‘wanderer in her soul.’”
“Man’s real home is not a house, but the Road, and that life itself is a journey to be walked on foot.”
“I pictured a low timber house with a shingled roof, caulked against storms, with blazing log fires inside and the walls lined with all the best books, somewhere to live when the rest of the world blew up.”

Contemporary American Art – Christy Powers

Below – “Pregnant glamour”; “the explorer”; “the dinner party crowd”; “teenage wasteland”; “Snow day army”; “Bronx zoo day.”

A Poem for Today

“Snowdrops”
by Louise Gluck

Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.
I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring–
afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy
in the raw wind of the new world.

Below – Elena Lukina: “Snowdrops”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 12 May 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 12 May 1828 – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an English painter, illustrator, and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Below – “The Day Dream”; “Lady Lilith”; “Proserpine”; “Jane Morris (The Blue Silk Dress)”; “The Blessed Damozel”; “The Beloved.”

This Date in Literary/Art History: Born 12 May 1812 – Edward Lear, an English poet and illustrator.

“The Owl and the Pussy-Cat”
by Edward Lear

I
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

II
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

III
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Below – Lear’s illustration for the poem.

Contemporary Canadian Art – Eunice Sim

Below – “Thoughts”; “From My Spring Garden”; “Look 3”; “Summer Dream”; “Look 4′; “Summer Forest.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 12 May 1967 – John Masefield, an English poet, essayist, playwright, and Poet Laureate from 1930 until 1967.

“Sea Fever”
by John Masefield

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Contemporary British Art – Christabel Blackman

Below – “Enchanted Garden”; “Blue Gardenias”; “A Moment of Happiness”; “Mermaid on the Rock”; “The Lovers”; “Watching Magnolias Bloom.”


This Date in Cultural/Entertainment History: Born 12 My 1937 – George Carlin, an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, and author of “Last Words” (published posthumously).

Some quotes from the work of George Carlin:

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”
“That’s why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
“If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?”
“Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.”
“Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!
But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money!”
“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”
“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as an orgasm.”
“We’re so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody’s going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven’t learned how to care for one another. We’re gonna save the fuckin’ planet? . . . And, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin’ great. It’s been here over four billion years . . . The planet isn’t goin’ anywhere, folks. We are! We’re goin’ away. Pack your shit, we’re goin’ away. And we won’t leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we’ll be gone. Another failed mutation; another closed-end biological mistake.”

Contemporary British Art – William Oxer

Below – “Coming Home”; “Love’s Fragility”; “The Most Beautiful Dream”; “Eternal Romance”; “Ophelia”; “Quiet Muse.”

A Poem for Today

“Thanks in Old Age”
by Walt Whitman

Thanks in old age—thanks ere I go, For health, the midday sun, the impalpable air—for life, mere life,
For precious ever-lingering memories, (of you my mother dear—you, father—you, brothers, sisters, friends,)
For all my days—not those of peace alone—the days of war the same,
For gentle words, caresses, gifts from foreign lands,
For shelter, wine and meat—for sweet appreciation,
(You distant, dim unknown—or young or old—countless, un-specified, readers belov’d,
We never met, and ne’er shall meet—and yet our souls embrace, long, close and long;)
For beings, groups, love, deeds, words, books—for colors, forms,
For all the brave strong men—devoted, hardy men—who’ve forward sprung in freedom’s help, all years, all lands,
For braver, stronger, more devoted men—(a special laurel ere I go, to life’s war’s chosen ones,
The cannoneers of song and thought—the great artillerists—the foremost leaders, captains of the soul:)
As soldier from an ended war return’d—As traveler out of myriads, to the long procession retrospective,
Thanks—joyful thanks!—a soldier’s, traveler’s thanks.

Below – Walt Whitman (born 1819) in 1887.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 11 May 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 11 May 1967 – James Brewton, an American painter.

Below – Untitled (portrait of Edgar Allan Poe); “The American Dream-Girl”; “Saga Lulu”; Untitled (portrait of Charles Baudelaire); “Conie”; “Homage to Modi.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 11 May 1930 – Stanley Elkin, an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, satirist, author of “George Mills” and “Mrs. Ted Bliss,” and two-time recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Some quotes from the work of Stanley Elkin:

“Life’s tallest order is to keep the feelings up, to make two dollars’ worth of euphoria go the distance. And life can’t do that. So fiction does.”
“The peculiar dignity of men seen eating alone in restaurants on national holidays.”
“What a writer’s message is is totally unimportant. Either he is agreeing with life by affirming, or he is saying life is just a bowl of wormwood.”
“The fact that we die is one of the more interesting things that happen to us. Fiction ought to be about bottom lines, and that’s as bottom-line as you can get.”
“Even the sky a hybrid — here clean and black and starred, there roiling with a brusque signature of cloud or piled in strata like folded linen or the interior of rock.”


Contemporary American Art – Alicia Lopez

Below – “The colors of the sea 139”; “Closing in”; “The colors of the sea 120”; “The path 77”; “The colors of the sea 114”; “The colors of the sea 005.”


A Poem for Today

“Giving Up Smoking”
by Wendy Cope

There’s not a Shakespeare sonnet
Or a Beethoven quartet
That’s easier to like than you
Or harder to forget.

You think that sounds extravagant?
I haven’t finished yet—
I like you more than I would like
To have a cigarette.

Below – Stefan Petrunov: “woman with cigarette”

Contemporary American Art – Kris Krohn

Below – “Alchemy of Dreams”; “Violence in Wonderland”; “Time Machine”; “Red Decay”; “Cocktails on the Titanic”; “Land of Poetry.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 11 May 1911 – Rose Auslander, a Ukrainian-American poet.

“Love VI”
by Rose Auslander

We will meet again
in the lake
you as water
I as lotus blossom

You will carry me
I will drink you

We will belong to each other
in everyone’s sight

Even the stars
will be surprised
here are two beings
transformed back
into their dream
that chose them

Below – Antoinette Kelly: “Pull Of The Moon”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 10 May 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 10 May 1849 – Hokusai, a Japanese painter and printmaker.

Below – “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”; “Fireworks in the Cool of Evening at Ryogoku Bridge in Edo”; “Fine Wind, Clear Morning”; “Tiger in the Snow”; “Courtesan asleep”; “Kirifuri waterfall at Kurokami Mountain in Shimotsuke.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 10 May 1990 – Walker Percy, an American novelist, essayist, author of “The Moviegoer,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Walker Percy:

“You can get all A’s and still flunk life.”
“Before, I wandered as a diversion. Now I wander seriously and sit and read as a diversion.”
“My mother refused to let me fail. So I insisted.”
“What is the nature of the search? you ask. The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.”
“I have discovered that most people have no one to talk to, no one, that is, who really wants to listen. When it does at last dawn on a man that you really want to hear about his business, the look that comes over his face is something to see.”
“You live in a deranged age – more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.”
“What needs to be discharged is the intolerable tenderness of the past, the past gone and grieved over and never made sense of. Music ransoms us from the past, declares an amnesty, brackets and sets aside the old puzzles. Sing a new song. Start a new life, get a girl, look into her shadowy eyes, smile.”
“It’s one thing to develop a nostalgia for home while you’re boozing with Yankee writers in Martha’s Vineyard or being chased by the bulls in Pamplona. It’s something else to go home and visit with the folks in Reed’s drugstore on the square and actually listen to them. The reason you can’t go home again is not because the down-home folks are mad at you–they’re not, don’t flatter yourself, they couldn’t care less–but because once you’re in orbit and you return to Reed’s drugstore on the square, you can stand no more than fifteen minutes of the conversation before you head for the woods, head for the liquor store, or head back to Martha’s Vineyard, where at least you can put a tolerable and saving distance between you and home. Home may be where the heart is but it’s no place to spend Wednesday afternoon.”
“Ours is the only civilization in history which has enshrined mediocrity as its national ideal. Others have been corrupt, but leave it to us to invent the most undistinguished of corruptions. No orgies, no blood running in the street, no babies thrown off cliffs. No, we’re sentimental people and we horrify easily. True, our moral fiber is rotten. Our national character stinks to high heaven. But we are kinder than ever. No prostitute ever responded with a quicker spasm of sentiment when our hearts are touched. Nor is there anything new about thievery, lewdness, lying, adultery. What is new is that in our time liars and thieves and whores and adulterers wish also to be congratulated by the great public, if their confession is sufficiently psychological or strikes a sufficiently heartfelt and authentic note of sincerity. Oh, we are sincere. I do not deny it. I don’t know anybody nowadays who is not sincere.”

This Date in Art History: Born 10 May 1893 – Tonita Pena, a Native American artist.

Below – “Dancer”; “Hopi Corn Dance”; “”Pueblo Dance”; “Buffalo dancers”; “Indian women grinding and drying corn”; Untitled.

A Poem for Today

“Two Worlds”
by Raymond Carver

In air heavy
with odor of crocuses,
sensual smell of crocuses,
I watch a lemon sun disappear,
a sea change blue
to olive black.
I watch lightning leap from Asia as
sleeping,
my love stirs and breathes and
sleeps again,
part of this world and yet
part of that.

Below – Peter Zelei: “The dreamer is still asleep” (photograph)

Contemporary Chinese Art – Liqing Tan

Below – “Wild pond”; Untitled; “Daydreaming”; “Lost in the wonderland”; “Blue”; “Birdman.”


A Poem for Today

“Averno: I”
by Louise Gluck

You die when your spirit dies.
Otherwise, you live.
You may not do a good job of it, but you go on—
something you have no choice about.

When I tell this to my children
they pay no attention.
The old people, they think—
this is what they always do:
talk about things no one can see
to cover up all the brain cells they’re losing.
They wink at each other;
listen to the old one, talking about the spirit
because he can’t remember anymore the word for chair.

It is terrible to be alone.
I don’t mean to live alone—
to ‘be’ alone, where no one hears you.

I remember the word for chair.
I want to say—I’m just not interested anymore.

I wake up thinking
‘you have to prepare.’
Soon the spirit will give up—
all the chairs in the world won’t help you.

I know what they say when I’m out of the room.
Should I be seeing someone, should I be taking
one of the new drugs for depression
I can hear them, in whispers, planning how to divide the cost.

And I want to scream out
‘you’re all of you living in a dream.’

Bad enough, they think, to watch me falling apart.
Bad enough without this lecturing they get these days
as though I had any right to this new information.

Well, they have the same right.

They’re living in a dream, and I’m preparing
to be a ghost. I want to shout out

‘the mist has cleared—‘
It’s like some new life:
you have no stake in the outcome;

you know the outcome.
Think of it: sixty years sitting in chairs. And now the mortal spirit
seeking so openly, so fearlessly—

To raise the veil.
To see what you’re saying goodbye to.

Below – Hilary Rosen: “The River Styx; Hades and The Underworld”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 9 May 2021

Happy Mother’s Day

Below – Motoko Kamada: “Park”

This Date in Art History: Born 9 May 1928 – Ralph Goings, an American painter associated with Photorealism.

Below – “Sabrett”; “Blue Diner with Figures”; “Cones and Ices”; “Coffee Shop Still Life”; “Windows”; “Sweet and Low.”


A Poem for Today

“To My Children, Fearing For Them”
by Wendell Berry

Terrors are to come. The earth
is poisoned with narrow lives.
I think of you. What you will

live through, or perish by, eats
at my heart. What have I done? I
need better answers than there are

to the pain of coming to see
what was done in blindness,
loving what I cannot save. Nor,

your eyes turning toward me,
can I wish your lives unmade
though the pain of them is on me.

Below – Kan Srijira: “Orange Worried”


Contemporary Greek Art – Andreas Giannoutsos

Below – ‘Houses of the red Quebec”; “Window to the countryside”; “Probable meal”; “the fluidity of blue”; “the enchantment of the desire”; “Interpretation of love.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 9 May 1920 – Richard Adams, an award-winning English novelist and author of “Watership Down.”

Some quotes from the work of Richard Adams:

“Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it.”
“‘Animals don’t behave like men,’ he said. ‘If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don’t sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures’ lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality.’”
“Men will never rest till they’ve spoiled the earth and destroyed the animals.”
“When Marco Polo came at last to Cathay, seven hundred years ago, did he not feel–and did his heart not falter as he realized–that this great and splendid capital of an empire had had its being all the years of his life and far longer, and that he had been ignorant of it? That it was in need of nothing from him, from Venice, from Europe? That it was full of wonders beyond his understanding? That his arrival was a matter of no importance whatever? We know that he felt these things, and so has many a traveler in foreign parts who did not know what he was going to find. There is nothing that cuts you down to size like coming to some strange and marvelous place where no one even stops to notice that you stare about you.”

Contemporary Latvian Art – Katrina Gaile

Below – “forget-me-not”; “sweet dreams”; “wise geese II”; “a place”; “May love”; “sleep.”

A Poem for Today

“Fault”
by Sara Teasdale

They came to tell your faults to me,
They named them over one by one;
I laughed aloud when they were done,
I knew them all so well before,–
Oh, they were blind, too blind to see
Your faults had made me love you more.

Below – Fares Micue: “Deeply in Love” (photograph)

Contemporary Russian Art – Elena Ilyina

Below – “Discernment”; “Orientation”; “Red tree”; “Victoria”; ““Everyday life”; “ Gold humming-bird.”

A Poem for Today

“Sonnet”
by Elizabeth Bishop

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling finger-tips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

Below – Bea Jones: “Harpists on the Cliff”


Contemporary Romanian Art – Liviu Mihai

Below – “Playful yellow”; “Evening light”; “Intimity”; “Cloudy Sunday”; “Couple”; “In my room.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 9 April 1921 – Mona Van Duyn, an American poet and recipient of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

“Earth Tremors Felt in Missouri”
by Mona Van Duyn

The quake last night was nothing personal,
you told me this morning. I think one always wonders,
unless, of course, something is visible: tremors
that take us, private and willy-nilly, are usual.

But the earth said last night that what I feel,
you feel; what secretly moves you, moves me.
One small, sensuous catastrophe
makes inklings letters, spelled in a worldly tremble.

The earth, with others on it, turns in its course
as we turn toward each other, less than ourselves, gross,
mindless, more than we were. Pebbles, we swell
to planets, nearing the universal roll,
in our conceit even comprehending the sun,
whose bright ordeal leaves cool men woebegone.

Below – Anna Kozyreva: “In The Bed”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 8 May 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 8 May 1903 – Paul Gauguin, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Martinique Landscape”; “Bord de Mer II”; “At the Pond”; “Among the Mangoes”; “Conversation Tropiques”; “Huttes sous les arbres.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 8 May 2021 – Larry Levis, an award-winning American poet.

“As I Move On With You”
by Larry Levis

Different days,
Different hours,
Many faces,
bouquets of flowers,

Fantisies,
And mists,
Of dreams,

Lost away,
Onto the ways,
Of yesterday,

See the future,
Past untold,
In his arms,
Is her hold,

Watch the moments,
See me through,
As my love,
Moves on with you.

Below – Jade Gates: “Together”


This Date in Art History: Died 8 May 1903 – Paul Gauguin, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? “Where Are We Going?” “The Moon and the Earth”; “And the Gold of Their Bodies”; “The Birth”; “When Will You Marry?”; “Nevermore (O Taiti).”


This Date in Literary History: Born 8 April 1958: Roddy Doyle, an award-winning Irish novelist, dramatist, screenwriter, and author of “Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha.”

Some quotes from the work of Roddy Doyle:

“It was a sign of growing up, when the dark made no more difference to you than the day.”
“To claim that music is more important than oxygen would be trite and sentimental. It would also be true.”
“Dreaming was only nice while it lasted.”
“She’d tried her hand at most things, but drew the line at honesty.”
“I remember I wanted to get away; I wanted to run. I couldn’t stand any more. But I didn’t want to run. I wanted everything to be perfect; everything was going to be great – I just had to be careful. I was responsible for it all. The clouds coming, I was dragging them towards us; my thoughts were doing it. I was ruining everything. It was up to me. I could control the whole day. All I had to do was make sure that I made no stupid mistakes. Don’t walk on the cracks. Don’t look at the clouds. It’s up to you.”
“I live on an island called Ireland where most of the music is shite. I grew up listening to ‘Danny Boy’; I grew up hating Danny Boy, and all his siblings and his granny. ‘The pipes, the pipes are caw-haw-hawing.’ Anything with pipes or fiddles or even – forgive me, Paul – banjos, I detested. Songs of loss, of love, of going across the sea; songs of defiance and rebellion – I vomited on all of them.”
“It was frightening, though, how little time you got. You only became yourself when you were twenty-three or twenty-four. A few years later, you had an old man’s chest hair. It wasn’t worth it.”
“Sometimes, when you were thinking about something, trying to understand it, it opened up in your head without you expecting it to, like it was a soft spongy light unfolding, and you understood, it made sense forever.”

Contemporary German Art – Sabine Bachem

Below – “LUXURIA! the first of the 7 deadly sins”; “INVIDIA! the second of the 7 deadly sins”; “ACEDIA! the third of the 7 deadly sins”; “IRA! the fourth of the 7 deadly sins”; “AVARITIA! the fifth of the 7 deadly sins”; “SUBERBIA! the sixth of the 7 deadly sins”; “GULA! the last of the 7 deadly sins.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 8 May 1937 – Thomas Pynchon, an American novelist, author of “The Crying of Lot 49” and “Gravity’s Rainbow,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Thomas Pynchon:

“There are stories, like maps that agree… too consistent among too many languages and histories to be only wishful thinking…. It is always a hidden place, the way into it is not obvious, the geography is as much spiritual as physical. If you should happen upon it, your strongest certainty is not that you have discovered it but returned to it. In a single great episode of light, you remember everything.”
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”
“Love with your mouth shut, help without breaking your ass or publicizing it: keep cool, but care.”
“Life’s single lesson: that there is more accident to it than a man can ever admit to in a lifetime and stay sane.”
“To have humanism we must first be convinced of our humanity. As we move further into decadence this becomes more difficult.”
“It’s been a prevalent notion. Fallen sparks. Fragments of vessels broken at the Creation. And someday, somehow, before the end, a gathering back to home. A messenger from the Kingdom, arriving at the last moment. But I tell you there is no such message, no such home — only the millions of last moments . . . nothing more. Our history is an aggregate of last moments.”
“There is no real direction here, neither lines of power nor cooperation. Decisions are never really made – at best they manage to emerge, from a chaos of peeves, whims, hallucinations and all around assholery. ”
“Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do.”
“So the city became the material expression of a particular loss of innocence – not sexual or political innocence but somehow a shared dream of what a city might at its best prove to be – its inhabitants became, and have remained, an embittered and amnesiac race, wounded but unable to connect through memory to the moment of injury, unable to summon the face of their violator.”
“Let the peace of this day be here tomorrow when I wake up.”

Contemporary Latvian Art – Katrina Gaile

Below – “A Music Teacher”; “Your fox”; “changers”; “a melon eater”; “before”; “an adherence”; “the return.”

A Poem for Today

“To Be In Love”
by Gwendolyn Brooks

To be in love
Is to touch things with a lighter hand.

In yourself you stretch, you are well.

You look at things
Through his eyes.
A cardinal is red.
A sky is blue.
Suddenly you know he knows too.
He is not there but
You know you are tasting together
The winter, or light spring weather.

His hand to take your hand is overmuch.
Too much to bear.

You cannot look in his eyes
Because your pulse must not say
What must not be said.

When he
Shuts a door—

Is not there—
Your arms are water.

And you are free
With a ghastly freedom.

You are the beautiful half
Of a golden hurt.

You remember and covet his mouth,
To touch, to whisper on.

Oh when to declare
Is certain Death!

Oh when to apprize,
Is to mesmerize,

To see fall down, the Column of Gold,
Into the commonest ash.

Below – Sandra Woerner: “love”

Contemporary American Art -Melissa Loop

Below – “The High and Lonely Path”; “Folding the Past and Future into a Dream”; “Drifting Night”; “Where Have We Been?”; “Escort to Beyond the Threshold”; “Where are we Going?.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 8 May 1930 – Gary Snyder, an American poet, essayist, translator, author of “Turtle Island,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Kyoto: March”
by Gary Snyder

A few light flakes of snow
Fall in the feeble sun;
Birds sing in the cold,
A warbler by the wall. The plum
Buds tight and chill soon bloom.
The moon begins first
Fourth, a faint slice west
At nightfall. Jupiter half-way
High at the end of night-
Meditation. The dove cry
Twangs like a bow.
At dawn Mt. Hiei dusted white
On top; in the clear air
Folds of all the gullied green
Hills around the town are sharp,
Breath stings. Beneath the roofs
Of frosty houses
Lovers part, from tangle warm
Of gentle bodies under quilt
And crack the icy water to the face
And wake and feed the children
And grandchildren that they love.

Below – Mount Hiei in winter.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 7 May 2021

Contemporary American Art – Ralph Vogler

Below – “Mt Rainier Summer”; “Alaskan Sunset”; “Seaside Twilight”; “New Mexico Fall”; “St Simon Marsh”; “La Fille Avec l’Orange.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 7 May 1943 – Peter Carey, an award-winning Australian novelist, short story writer, and author of “Oscar and Lucinda” and “True History of the Kelly Gang.”

Some quotes from the work of Peter Carey:

“Nostalgia is something we think of as fuzzy. But it’s pain. Pain concerning the past.”
“A cormorant broke the surface, like an improbable idea tearing the membrane between dreams and life.”
[on America] “I have traveled widely. I have seen this country in its infancy. I tell you what it will become. The public squares will be occupied by an uneducated class who will not be able to quote a line of Shakespeare.”
“What a torture to hear that a life had been available to me that I had not been man enough to live.”
“I had known loneliness before, and emptiness upon the moor, but I had never been a NOTHING, a nothing floating on a nothing, known by nothing, lonelier and colder than the space between the stars. It was more frightening than being dead.”
“I did not know that history is like a blood stain that keeps on showing on the wall no matter how many new owners take possession, no matter how many times we paint over it.”


Contemporary American Art – Dori Spector

Below – “Morning In the Studio”; “Eating Grapes” (collage); “Wisteria”; “Black Boat”; “Storm Approaching”; “Figure and Flora.”


A Poem for Today

“Oranges”
by Joan Little

I peel oranges neatly.
The sections come apart cleanly, perfectly in my hands.
When Emily peels an orange, she tears holes in it.
Juice squirts in all directions.
“Kate,” she says, “I don’t know how you do it!”
Emily is my best friend.
I hope she never learns how to peel oranges.

Below – Dori Spector: “Peeling An Orange”

Contemporary American Art – Toni Silber-Delerive

Below – “Mountain River”; “In the Kitchen”; “Still life with Artichokes”; “Midtown Buildings”; “Three Sisters”; “Nude on a Ladder.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 7 May 1940 – Angela Carter (pen name of Angela Olive Pearce), an award-winning English novelist, short story writer, poet, journalist, and author of “The Bloody Chamber” and “Nights at the Circus.”

Some quotes from the work of Angela Carter:

“Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.”
“Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.”
“She herself is a haunted house. She does not possess herself; her ancestors sometimes come and peer out of the windows of her eyes and that is very frightening.”
“The child’s laughter is pure until he first laughs at a clown.”
“There was a house we all had in common and it was called the past, even though we’d lived in different rooms.”
“To ride a bicycle is in itself some protection against superstitious fears, since the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion. Geometry at the service of man! Give me two spheres and a straight line and I will show you how far I can take them. Voltaire himself might have invented the bicycle, since it contributes so much to man’s welfare and nothing at all to his bane. Beneficial to the health, it emits no harmful fumes and permits only the most decorous speeds. How can a bicycle ever be an implement of harm?”
“We must all make do with the rags of love we find flapping on the scarecrow of humanity.”

Contemporary British Art – Nadia Attura

Below (photographs) – “Backwaters Morning”; “Gone Swimming”; “Kew”; “Backwaters Song”; “Cactus Blue”; “Dark Love.”

A Poem for Today

“Bird”
by Pablo Neruda

It was passed from one bird to another,
the whole gift of the day.
The day went from flute to flute,
went dressed in vegetation,
in flights which opened a tunnel
through the wind would pass
to where birds were breaking open
the dense blue air–
and there, night came in.

When I returned from so many journeys,
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography–
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.

Below – Elizabeth Becker: “Swallow No. 46”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 6 May 2021

Contemporary Canadian Art – Nick Clements

Below (photographs) – “Coyote Snowstorm”; “Forest Moon”; “Black Bear/Darkness Series”; “Trumpeter Swan”; “Athabasca Wolf/Lightness Series”; “Horned Owl/Darkness Series.”

This Date in Literary/Intellectual History: Died 6 May 1862 – Henry David Thoreau, an American naturalist, essayist, poet, philosopher, and author of “Walden” and “Civil Disobedience.”

Some quotes from the work of Henry David Thoreau:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away.”
“Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”


Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Victoria Sologubova

Below – “The sun in the snow”; “Winter night”; “Still life with coral”; “White tree of spring”; “In a laurel wreath”; “Still life with apple.”

This Dare in Literary History: Died 6 May 2014 – Farley Mowat, an award-winning Canadian writer, environmentalist, and author of “Never Cry Wolf” and “People of the Deer.”

Some quotes from the work of Farley Mowat:

“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be –the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.”
“Whenever and wherever men have engaged in the mindless slaughter of animals (including other men), they have often attempted to justify their acts by attributing the most vicious or revolting qualities to those they would destroy; and the less reason there is for the slaughter, the greater the campaign for vilification.”
“It is to this new-found resolution to reassert our indivisibility with life, to recognize the obligations incumbent upon us as the most powerful and deadly species ever to exist, and to begin making amends for the havoc we have wrought, that my own hopes for a revival and continuance of life on earth now turn. If we persevere in this new way we may succeed in making man humane … at last.”
“Somewhere to the eastward a wolf howled; lightly, questioningly. I knew the voice, for I had heard it many times before. It was George, sounding the wasteland for an echo from the missing members of his family. But for me it was a voice which spoke of the lost world which once was ours before we chose the alien role; a world which I had glimpsed and almost entered…only to be excluded, at the end, by my own self.”
“On my 70th birthday, I was asked how I felt about mankind’s prospects. This is my reply: We are behaving like yeasts in a brewer’s vat, multiplying mindlessly while greedily consuming the substance of a finite world. If we continue to imitate the yeasts, we will perish as they perish, having exhausted our resources and poisoned ourselves in the lethal brew of our own wastes. Unlike the yeasts, we have a choice. What will it be?”


Contemporary Icelandic Art – Eoin Llwellyn

Below – “The Rising II”; “Young Woman with Fire”; “The Runaway”; “The Five Realities”; “The Diver”; “Man Sleeping in L.A. Apartment.”

A Poem for Today

“Walking Home From Oak-Head”
by Mary Oliver

There is something
about the snow-laden sky
in winter
in the late afternoon
that brings to the heart elation
and the lovely meaninglessness
of time.
Whenever I get home—whenever—
somebody loves me there.
Meanwhile
I stand in the same dark peace
as any pine tree,
or wander on slowly
like the still unhurried wind,
waiting,
as for a gift,
for the snow to begin
which it does
at first casually,
then, irrepressibly.
Wherever else I live —
in music, in words,
in the fires of the heart,
I abide just as deeply
in this nameless, indivisible place,
this world,
which is falling apart now,
which is white and wild,
which is faithful beyond all our expressions of faith,
our deepest prayers.
Don’t worry, sooner or later I’ll be home.
Red-cheeked from the roused wind,
I’ll stand in the doorway
stamping my boots and slapping my hands,
my shoulders
covered with stars.

Below – Gregor Pratneker: “In a Snowy Forest”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 5 May 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 5 May 1913 – Henry Moret, a French painter.

Below – “”Port Manech”; Île de Groix in the Snow”; “Lampaul Bay, Ushant”; “La cote de Moelan, Finistere”; “Rochers De Goulphar.”

5 May 2021: Happy Children’s Day (Kodomo no Hi) – Japan


Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Maria Shepelenko

Below – “Birthday table”; “Memories”; “Landscape that does not exist”; “Spring Garden”; “Night cherry tree”; “Spring.”


5 May 2021: Happy Cinco de Mayo – Mexico

Contemporary Canadian Art – Golriz Rezvani

Below – “Where everything ends”; “My Lost City”; “The Neighbor”; “Life”; “It’s complicated”; “Guardian”; “Helas!”; “White Scream.”

Birthday Poem

“A Birthday Poem”
by Ted Kooser

Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
in a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,

and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.

Contemporary British Art – Howard Mason

Below – “Mad World”; “Faye with Apples”; “Wild”; “Behind Closed Doors”; “Fading Away”; “Close Encounters.”


A Poem for Today

“What We Haven’t Read”
by Joseph Mills

We play the party game,
admitting what we haven’t read.
‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Madame Bovary’,
anything of Faulkner’s.
Amid mock gasps, we name titles
with a mix of embarrassment,
swagger, and relief
that we can finally reveal
how we never made it
more than twenty pages
into ‘Portrait of a Lady’,
‘Middlemarch’, ‘Moby Dick’.
We don’t bother pretending
we’ll get to them eventually.
We’re confessing, but unrepentant,
and then we begin to get serious:
the newspaper, warning labels,
the mortgage, legal contracts,
every Christmas card from her
for the last twenty years,
the letter he sent before he died,
the lab’s blood results last month
and this month and the next.

Silver Farley: “Books. Again.”


Contemporary American Art – Elena Zolotnitsky

Below – “Waiting”; “Girl in Pink Dress”; “Wilted (Milk bottle Valentines)”; “Spring”; “Red Couch”; “La Dolce Vita.”


A Poem for Today

“Glow”
by Ron Padgett

When I wake up earlier than you and you
are turned to face me, face
on the pillow and hair spread around,
I take a chance and stare at you,
amazed in love and afraid
that you might open your eyes and have
the daylights scared out of you.
But maybe with the daylights gone
you’d see how much my chest and head
implode for you, their voices trapped
inside like unborn children fearing
they will never see the light of day.
The opening in the wall now dimly glows
its rainy blue and gray. I tie my shoes
and go downstairs to put the coffee on.

Marcel Garbi: “Beyond words”

Contemporary American Art – Sophie Morro

Below – “The Introspection Pool”; “American Cake”; “Virtual Therapy”; “Slipping Into A Dream”; “L. A. Noir”; “Playing with Fire.”

Birthday Poem

“A Happy Birthday”
by Ted Kooser

This evening, I sat by an open window
And read till the light was gone and the book
was no more than a part of the darkness.
I could easily have switched on a lamp,
but I wanted to ride this day down into night,
to sit alone and smooth the unreadable page
with the pale gray ghost of my hand.

Below – Fritz Kinali Kumdakci: “Ghost hand”

Contemporary American Art – Viviane Silvera

Below – “Blue Horse”; “Summer Swing”; “On My Way”; “ Flowers Grow”; “At Piano”; “In Transition.”

Birthday Poem

“Counting Backwards”
by Linda Pastan

How did I get so old,
I wonder,
contemplating
my 67th birthday.
Dyslexia smiles:
I’m 76 in fact.

There are places
where at 60 they start
counting backwards;
in Japan
they start again
from one.

But the numbers
hardly matter.
It’s the physics
of acceleration I mind,
the way time speeds up
as if it hasn’t guessed

the destination—
where look!
I see my mother
and father bearing a cake,
waiting for me
at the starting line.

Below – Rudolf Kosow: “Missing Piece”

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