Sentient in San Francisco – 25 June 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 25 June 1875 – Antoine-Louis Barye, a French sculptor.

Below – “Hercules Sitting on a Bull”; “Theseus and the Minotaur”; “Turkish Horse”; “Elephant from Senegal”; “Basset Debout”; “Jaguar Devouring a Hare.”

This Date in American History: Died 25 June 1876 – George Armstrong Custer, a United States Army officer and cavalry commander who will always be remembered for his participation in the Battle of the Little Big Horn, popularly known as Custer’s Last Stand.
Anyone interested in The Battle of the Little Big Horn should watch a fascinating and impressively informative documentary: “Battlefield Detectives – Season 1, Episode 1: ‘Custer at Little Bighorn.'” It was first broadcast on the History Channel, and I believe that it is also available for viewing on YouTube.

This Date in Art History: Died 25 June 1882 – Francois Jouffroy, a French sculptor.

Below – “First secret entrusted to Venus”;”Ariane abandonnée”; “Source of the Seine”; “L’Aurore”; “Harmony”; “Merchant Marine.”

This Date in Entertainment History: Born 25 June 1961 – Ricky Gervais, an English stand-up comedian, actor, director, screenwriter, and social critic.
People who subscribe to Netflix should definitely watch the Ricky Gervais comedy special “Humanity.”

Some quotes from the work of Ricky Gervais:

“When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It’s only painful and difficult for others. The same applies when you are stupid.”
“Next time someone tells me they believe in God, I’ll say ‘Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…’ If they say ‘Just God. I only believe in the one God,’ I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2,870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2,869.”
“Same sex marriage isn’t gay privilege, it’s equal rights. Privilege would be something like gay people not paying taxes. Like churches don’t.”
“The best advice I’ve ever received is, ‘No one else knows what they’re doing either.’”
“Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right.”
“Mondays are fine. It’s your life that sucks.”
“Be happy. It really annoys negative people.”
“Being on the edge isn’t as safe, but the view is better.”
“It’s a strange myth that atheists have nothing to live for. It’s the opposite. We have nothing to die for. We have everything to live for.”
“Remember, no one can hurt your feelings without your permission.”
“If you can’t joke about the most horrendous things in the world, what’s the point of jokes? What’s the point in having humor? Humor is to get us over terrible things.”
“I’ve never been insulted by hateful satanists for not believing in their devil. Only by loving Christians for not believing in their God.”
“Some [people] are really smart. You know who you are. Some [people] are really thick. Unfortunately, you don’t know who you are.”
“We shouldn’t even need the word ‘atheism’. If people didn’t invent ridiculous imaginary gods, rational people wouldn’t have to deny them.”
“Enjoy life. Have fun. Be kind. Have worth. Have friends. Be honest. Laugh. Die with dignity. Make the most of it. It’s all we’ve got.”


This Date in Art History: Died 25 June 1916 – Thomas Eakins, an American painter, photographer, and sculptor.

Below – “Miss Amelia Van Buren”; “Retrospection”; “The Gross Clinic”; “Portrait of Maud Cook”; “Max Schmitt in a single scull”; “William Rush Carving His Allegorical Figure of the Schuylkill River.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 25 June 1903 – George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair), a British novelist, essayist, journalist, critic, and author of “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

Some timely quotes from the work of George Orwell:

“The people will believe what the media tells them they believe.”
“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”
“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
“The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth.”
“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book has been rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And that process is continuing day be day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except the endless present in which the party is always right.”
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
“From the totalitarian point of view, history is something to be created rather than learned.”
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
“However much you deny the truth, the truth goes on existing.”
“Threats to freedom of speech, writing and action, though often trivial in isolation, are cumulative in their effect and, unless checked, lead to a general disrespect for the rights of the citizen.”
“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”
“It’s frightful that people who are so ignorant should have so much influence.”


This Date in Art History: Died 25 June 1972 – Jan Matulka, a Czech-American painter and illustrator.

Below – “New York in Winter”; “Still Life with Ceramic Bird”; “Still Life with Shells and Classical Head”; “At Sea”; “Turi Pole Landscape”; “Skupina Zen.”


A Poem for Today

“Nocturne”
by Michelle Y. Burke

A man can give up so much,
can limit himself to handwritten correspondence,
to foods made of whole grains,
to heat from a woodstove, logs
hewn by his own hand and stacked neatly
like corpses by the backdoor.

He can play nocturnes by heart.
They will not make the beloved appear.
He can learn the names of all the birds
in the valley. Not one
will be enticed to learn his.

Below – Prisac Nicolai: “The Sad Man”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 24 June 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 24 June 1854 – Eleanor Norcross, an American painter.

Below – “Woman in a Garden”; “My Studio”; “Ladies at the Piano”; Untitled; “Jeune fille à la robe rouge.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 24 June 1909 – Sarah Orne Jewett, an American novelist, snort story writer, poet, and author of “The Country of the Pointed Firs,” who is best known for her local color works set along or near the southern seacoast of Maine.

Some quotes from the work of Sarah Orne Jewett:

“This was one of those perfect New England days in late summer where the spirit of autumn takes a first stealing flight, like a spy, through the ripening country-side, and, with feigned sympathy for those who droop with August heat, puts her cool cloak of bracing air about leaf and flower and human shoulders.”
“A harbor, even if it is a little harbor, is a good thing, since adventurers come into it as well as go out, and the life in it grows strong, because it takes something from the world, and has something to give in return.”
“My childhood is very vivid to me, and I don’t feel very different now from the way I felt then. It would appear I am the very same person, only with wrinkles.”
“It seems to me like stealing, for men and women to live in the world and do nothing to make it better.”
“In the life of each of us there is a place remote and islanded, and given to endless regret or secret happiness.”


This Date in Art History: Born 24 June 1865 – Robert Henri, an American painter.

Below – “Snow in New York”; “The Blue Kimono”; “The Beach Hat”; “Tan Gan”; “Sunlight, Girl on Beach, Avalon”; “Marine with Rocks.”


A Poem for Today

“I Leave Her Weeping”
by Liz Rosenberg

I leave her weeping in her barred little bed,
her warm hand clutching at my hand,
but she doesn’t want a kiss, or to hug the dog goodnight—
she keeps crying mommy, uhhh, mommy,
with her lovely crumpled face
like a golden piece of paper I am throwing away.
We have been playing for hours,
and now we need to stop, and she does not want
to. She is counting on me to lower the boom
that is her heavy body, and settle her down.
I rub her ribcage, I arrange the blankets around her hips.
Downstairs are lethal phonecalls I have to answer.
Friends
dying, I need to call.
My daughter may be weeping all my tears,
I only know
that even this young
and lying on her side,
her head uplifted like a cupped tulip,
sometimes she needs to cry.

Below – Mary Cassatt: “Mother and Child”

This Date in Art History: Born 24 June 1863 – Jean Metzinger, a French painter.

Below – “Femme assise au bouquet de feuillage”; “Paysage coloré aux oiseaux aquatiques”; “Two Nudes in an Exotic Landscape”; “Coucher de Soleil No. 1”; “A Peacock”; “La danse (Bacchante).”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 June 1842 – Ambrose Bierce, an American short story writer, essayist, journalist, and author of “The Devil’s Dictionary.”

Some quotes from “The Devil’s Dictionary”:

“Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by marriage.”
“Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are not as they ought to be.”
“Sweater, n. Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.”
“Egotist, n. A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.”
“Patience – A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue.”
“Pray, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy.”
“Ocean, n. A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man — who has no gills.”
“Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at math.”
“Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.”
“Scriptures, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.”
“Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.”
“Heathen, n. A benighted creature who has the folly to worship something he can see and feel.”
“Positive, adj.: Mistaken at the top of one’s voice.”
“Fidelity, n. A virtue peculiar to those who are about to be betrayed.”
“Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.”
“Academe, n.: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught. Academy, n.: A modern school where football is taught.”
“Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen.”

This Date in Art History: Died 24 June 1991 – Rufino Tamayo, a Mexican painter and illustrator.

Below – “Moon Dog”; “Watermelons”; “Wolf Howling at the Moon”; “Dos Perros”; “Women Reaching for the Moon”; “Dos mujeres en rojos.”

A Poem for Today

“Night Watch”
by Mark Smith-Soto

Chico whines, no reason why. Just now walked,
dinner gobbled, head and ears well scratched.
And yet he whines, looking up at me as if confused
at my just sitting here, typing away, while darkness
is stalking the back yard. How can I be so blind,
he wants to know, how sad, how tragic, how I
won’t listen before it is too late. His whines are
refugees from a brain where time and loss have
small dominion, but where the tyranny of now
is absolute. I get up and throw open the kitchen door,
and he disappears down the cement steps, barking
deeper and darker than I remember. I follow
to find him perfectly still in the empty yard—
the two of us in the twilight, standing guard.

Man walking dog on a clear night
Check out this light box with other Astronaut/Space Images by Nashville Photographer, Dieter Spears, Owner of Inhaus Creative.
[url=http://www.istockphoto.com/search/lightbox/2459726#898cb29][img]http://dieterspears.com/istock/links/button_space.jpg[/img][/url]

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Sentient in San Francisco – 23 June 2019

Contemporary American Art – Patricia Hardmeier

Below – “Le Mer #5”; “Le Mer #32”; “California Dreaming #25”; Untitled #17; “California Dreaming #4.”


This Date in Canadian History: 23 June 1887 – The Rocky Mountains Park Act becomes law in Canada creating the nation’s first national park, Banff National Park.

Below – Banff National Park is strikingly beautiful.

Contemporary American Art – Goran Petmil

Below – “Summer Night”; “Very Bright Horizon”; “Sunset at Coopers Beach”; “Summer’s Eve”; “Blue Sky Before the Storm”; “Double Line on the Horizon.”

A Poem for Today

“The Exam”
by Joyce Sutphen

It is mid-October. The trees are in
their autumnal glory (red, yellow-green,

orange) outside the classroom where students
take the mid-term, sniffling softly as if

identifying lines from Blake or Keats
was such sweet sorrow, summoned up in words

they never saw before. I am thinking
of my parents, of the six decades they’ve

been together, of the thirty thousand
meals they’ve eaten in the kitchen, of the

more than twenty thousand nights they’ve slept
under the same roof. I am wondering

who could have fashioned the test that would have
predicted this success? Who could have known?

Below – J. Coates: “Old Couple Walking”

Contemporary American Art – Cherie Steinberg

Below (photographs) – “Nude Behind the Veil Series”; “Girl Water”; “Lady in Mask”; “Nude Girl With Gun”; “Picasso Beauty.”

Musings in Summer: Wallace Stegner

“I gave my heart to the mountains the minute I stood beside this river with its spray in my face and watched it thunder into foam, smooth to green glass over sunken rocks, shatter to foam again. I was fascinated by how it sped by and yet was always there; its roar shook both the earth and me.”

Contemporary American Art – David Anthony

Below – “Free Spirits ( Paint, Wood, Plexiglass, Resin, LED )”; “Lost at Night 2 (Wood, Resin); “Illuminated Saguaro 3 ( Wood, Plexiglass, Resin, LED )”; “Neon Through My Eyes”; “Neon Dia de los Muertos ( Blue & Pink )”; “Venice Palm.”


A Poem for Today

“A Ghost Abandons the Haunted”
by Katie Cappello

You ignore the way light filters through my cells,
the way I have of fading out—still
there is a constant tug, a stretching,
what is left of me is coming loose. Soon,

I will be only crumbs of popcorn,
a blue ring in the tub, an empty
toilet paper roll, black mold
misted on old sponges,

strands of hair woven into
carpet, a warped door
that won’t open, the soft spot
in an avocado, celery, a pear,

a metallic taste in the beer, a cold sore
on your lip—and when I finally lose my hold
you will hear a rustle and watch me spill
grains of rice across the cracked tile.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 22 June 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 22 June 1951 – Humphrey Ocean, an English painter.

Below – “Traffic”; “Maureen Lipman”; “Paul McCartney”; “Tube”; “Plan”; “Afternoon.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 22 June 1898 – Erich Maria Remarque, a German novelist and author of “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

Some quotes from the work of Erich Maria Remarque:

“This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.”
“To forget is the secret of eternal youth. One grows old only through memory. There’s much too little forgetting.”
“We have our dreams because without them we could not bear the truth.”
“Life did not intend to make us perfect. Whoever is perfect belongs in a museum.”
“Anything you can settle with money is cheap.”
“It’s only terrible to have nothing to wait for.”
“With blinded eyes I stared at the sky, this grey, endless sky of a crazy god, who had made life and death for his amusement.”
“I did not want to think so much about her. I wanted to take her as an unexpected, delightful gift, that had come and would go again — nothing more. I meant not to give room to the thought that it could ever be more. I knew too well that all love has the desire for eternity and that therein lies its eternal torment. Nothing lasts. Nothing.”
“The music enchanted the air. It was like the south wind, like a warm night, like swelling sails beneath the stars, completely and utterly unreal… It made everything spacious and colourful, the dark stream of life seemed pulsing in it; there were no burdens any more, no limits; there existed only glory and melody and love, so that one simply could not realize that, at the same time as this music was, outside there ruled poverty and torment and despair.”
“Modesty and conscientiousness receive their reward only in novels. In life they are exploited and then shoved aside.”
“But probably that’s the way of the world – when we have finally learned something we’re too old to apply it – and so it goes, wave after wave, generation after generation. No one learns anything at all from anyone else.”

Contemporary British Art – Dawn Beckles

Below – “The Happiness Trap”; “To Discuss”; “Plummeting Copper”; “Of the Inadequacy“: “Viable”; “Legitimately Viable.”


A Poem for Today

“Veil”
by Todd Davis

In this low place between mountains
fog settles with the dark of evening.
Every year it takes some of those
we love—a car full of teenagers
on the way home from a dance, or
a father on his way to the paper mill,
nightshift the only opening.
Each morning, up on the ridge,
the sun lifts this veil, sees what night
has accomplished. The water on our window-
screens disappears slowly, gradually,
like grief. The heat of the day carries water
from the river back up into the sky,
and where the fog is heaviest and stays
longest, you’ll see the lines it leaves
on trees, the flowers that grow
the fullest.

Below – Sergey Chernyakovsky: “Fog in the mountains”

Contemporary American Art – Randy Ford: Part I of II.

Below – “Johnny Rockets”; “Big Head One”; “Skin to Skin”; “Goddess to None”; “Tawdry Expectations”; “View From the Chair.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 22 June 1906 – Anne Morrow Lindbergh, an American writer and author of “Gift from the Sea.”

Some quotes from the work of Anne Morrow Lindbergh:

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.”
“To me there is something completely and satisfyingly restful in that stretch of sea and sand, sea and sand and sky – complete peace, complete fulfillment.”
“We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of time and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible in life, as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom.”
“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.”
“I feel we are all islands – in a common sea.”
“Not knowing how to feed the spirit, we try to muffle its demands in distraction…What matters is that one be for a time inwardly attentive.”
“When we start at the center of ourselves, we discover something worthwhile extending toward the periphery of the circle. We find again some of the joy in the now, some of the peace in the here, some of the love in me and thee which go to make up the kingdom of heaven on earth.”
“Perhaps middle-age is, or should be, a period of shedding shells; the shell of ambition, the shell of material accumulations and possessions, the shell of the ego.”
“Don’t wish me happiness – I don’t expect to be happy; it’s gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor – I will need them all.”
“I want first of all – in fact, as an end to these other desires – to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact – to borrow from the language of the saints – to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony.”

Contemporary American Art – Randy Ford: Part II of II.

Below – “Red Robin Diner”;“Heartland”; “Four Maids”; “Second Light”; “Original Son”; “The Pie Eater.”


A Poem for Today

“Girl Riding a Horse in a Field of Sunflowers”
by David Allan Evans

Sitting perfectly upright,
contented and pensive,
she holds in one hand,
loosely, the reins of summer:

the green of trees and bushes;
the blue of lake water;
the red of her jacket
and open collar; the brown
of her pinned-up hair,
and her horse, deep
in the yellow of sunflowers.

When she stops to rest,
summer rests.
When she decides to leave,
there goes summer
over the hill.

Below – Patty Stern:”Girl Riding a Horse in a Field of Sunflowers”

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Summer Solstice 2019

Greeting Summer

Below – Sandy Thurlow: “Full Moon, Summer Solstice”

Art for the First Day of Summer – Edgar Degas: “Beach Scene”

Musings on the First Day of Summer: Henry James

“Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

Below – Asher Brown Durand: “Summer Afternoon”

Art for the First Day of Summer – David Hockney: “A Bigger Splash”

A Poem for the First Day of Summer

“In Defense of Our Overgrown Garden”
by Matthea Harvey

Last night the apple trees shook and gave each lettuce a heart
Six hard red apples broke through the greenhouse glass and
Landed in the middle of those ever-so-slightly green leaves
That seem no mix of seeds and soil but of pastels and light and
Chalk x’s mark our oaks that are supposed to be cut down
I’ve seen the neighbors frown when they look over the fence
And see our espalier pear trees bowing out of shape I did like that
They looked like candelabras against the wall but what’s the sense
In swooning over pruning I said as much to Mrs. Jones and I swear
She threw her cane at me and walked off down the street without
It has always puzzled me that people coo over bonsai trees when
You can squint your eyes and shrink anything without much of
A struggle ensued with some starlings and the strawberry nets
So after untangling the two I took the nets off and watched birds
With red beaks fly by all morning at the window I reread your letter
About how the castles you flew over made crenellated shadows on
The water in the rainbarrel has overflowed and made a small swamp
I think the potatoes might turn out slightly damp don’t worry
If there is no fog on the day you come home I will build a bonfire
So the smoke will make the cedars look the way you like them
To close I’m sorry there won’t be any salad and I love you

Below – Ivan Shishkin: “Corner of overgrown garden. Goatweed-grass”

Art for the First Day of Summer – Winslow Homer: “Summer Night”


Musings on the First Day of Summer: Regina Brett

“Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds.”


Art for the First Day of Summer – Paul Gauguin: “Tahitian Women on the Beach”


Art for the First Day of Summer – John Everett Millais: “Saint Martin’s Summer”


Musings on the First Day of Summer: James Russell Lowell

“The dandelions and buttercups gild all the lawn: the drowsy bee stumbles among the clover tops, and summer sweetens all to me.”

Art for the First Day of Summer – Edward Hopper: “Summertime”


A Poem for the First Day of Summer

“The Children”
by Mark Jarman

The children are hiding among the raspberry canes.
They look big to one another, the garden small.
Already in their mouths this soft fruit
That lasts so briefly in the supermarket
Tastes like the past. The gritty wall,
Behind the veil of leaves, is hollow.
There are yellow wasps inside it. The children know.
They know the wall is hard, although it hums.
They know a lot and will not forget it soon.

When did we forget? But we were never
Children, never found where they were hiding
And hid with them, never followed
The wasp down into its nest
With a fingertip that still tingles.
We lie in bed at night, thinking about
The future, always the future, always forgetting
That it will be the past, hard and hollow,
Veiled and humming, soon enough.

Below – Frederick Warne: “Berry Picking”


Art for the First Day of Summer – Pierre-Auguste Renoir: “In Summer”

Art for the First Day of Summer – Marie Spartali Stillman: “Love’s Messenger”

Musings on the First Day of Summer: Gertrude Jekyll

“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.”

Below – Maxfield Parrish: “June Skies (A Perfect Day)”

Art for the First Day of Summer – Kate Elizabeth Bruce: “Musica”

A Poem for the First Day of Summer

“Fireflies”
by Frank Ormsey

The lights come on and stay on under the trees.
Visibly a whole neighborhood inhabits the dusk,
so punctual and in place it seems to deny
dark its dominion. Nothing will go astray,
the porch lamps promise. Sudden, as though a match
failed to ignite at the foot of the garden, the first squibs
trouble the eye. Impossible not to share
that sportive, abortive, clumsy, where-are-we-now
dalliance with night, such soothing relentlessness.
What should we make of fireflies, their quick flare
of promise and disappointment, their throwaway style?
Our heads turn this way and that. We are loath to miss
such jauntiness in nature. Those fugitive selves,
winged and at random! Our flickery might-have-beens
come up form the woods to haunt us! Our yet-to-be
as tentative frolic! What do fireflies say?
That loneliness made of light becomes at last
convivial singleness? That any antic spark
cruising the void might titillate creation?
And whether they spend themselves, or go to ground,
or drift with their lights out, they have left the gloom,
for as long as our eyes take to absorb such absence,
less than it seemed, as childless and deprived
as Chaos and Old Night. But ruffled, too,
as though it unearthed some memory of light
from its long blackout, a hospitable core
fit home for fireflies, brushed by fireflies’ wings.

Below – Daniel Ambrose: “Fireflies at Dusk”


Art for the First Day of Summer – Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “The Day Dream”


Musings on the First Day of Summer: Elizabeth von Arnim

“And the summer seems as though it would dream on for ever.”

Below – Frederic Michael Wood: “Summer Dreams”


Art for the First Day of Summer – Ilya Repin: “Summer landscape (Vera Alekseyevna Repina on a bridge in Abramtsevo)”

Art for the First Day of Summer – John Brett: “Summer on the Cliffs”


Musings on the First Day of Summer: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Then followed that beautiful season… Summer…. Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”

Below- Pierre Auguste Renoir: “Summer Landscape”

Art for the First Day of Summer – John Byam Liston Shaw: “The Boer War” (Note: The model Shaw used for this painting was his sister Margaret Glencair who at the time was in mourning for her cousin who had been killed in the fighting in South Africa. When Shaw first exhibited this painting he added two lines to the title which came from the poem “A Bird Song, by Christina Rossetti: “Last Summer Greener Things Were Greener/Brambles Fewer, the blue sky bluer.”)


A Poem for the First Day of Summer

“The World in the Evening”
by Rachel Sherwood

As this suburban summer wanders toward dark
cats watch from their driveways — they are bored
and await miracles. The houses show, through windows
flashes of knife and fork, the blue light
of televisions, inconsequential fights
between wife and husband in the guest bathroom

voices sound like echoes in these streets
the chattering of awful boys as they plot
behind the juniper and ivy, miniature guerrillas
that mimic the ancient news of the world
and shout threats, piped high across mock fences
to girls riding by in the last pieces of light

the color of the sky makes brilliant reflection
in the water and oil along the curb
deepened aqua and the sharp pure rose of the clouds
there is no sun or moon, few stars wheel
above the domestic scene — this half-lit world
still, quiet calming the dogs worried by distant alarms

there — a woman in a window washes a glass
a man across the street laughs through an open door
utterly alien, alone. There is a time, seconds between
the last light and the dark stretch ahead, when color
is lost — the girl on her swing becomes a swift
apparition, black and white flowing suddenly into night.

Below – “Girl on Swing”


Art for the First Day of Summer – Claude Monet: “The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil”

Art for the First Day of Summer – Thomas Edwin Mostyn: “Womanhood”

Musings on the First Day of Summer: William Carlos Williams

“In summer, the song sings itself.”


Art for the First Day of Summer – Indian Summer: “Dreamers”

A Poem for the First Day of Summer

“Jet”
by Tony Hoagland

Sometimes I wish I were still out
on the back porch, drinking jet fuel
with the boys, getting louder and louder
as the empty cans drop out of our paws
like booster rockets falling back to Earth

and we soar up into the summer stars.
Summer. The big sky river rushes overhead,
bearing asteroids and mist, blind fish
and old space suits with skeletons inside.
On Earth, men celebrate their hairiness,

and it is good, a way of letting life
out of the box, uncapping the bottle
to let the effervescence gush
through the narrow, usually constricted neck.

And now the crickets plug in their appliances
in unison, and then the fireflies flash
dots and dashes in the grass, like punctuation
for the labyrinthine, untrue tales of sex
someone is telling in the dark, though

no one really hears. We gaze into the night
as if remembering the bright unbroken planet
we once came from,
to which we will never
be permitted to return.
We are amazed how hurt we are.
We would give anything for what we have.

Art for the First Day of Summer – Childe Hassam: “Summer Sunlight”


Musings on the First Day of Summer: Ada Louise Huxtable

“Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.”

Below – Amanda Dagg: “Relaxing Summer Days”


Art for the First Day of Summer – John Singer Sargent: “The Black Brook”


A Poem for the First Day of Summer

“In the Mushroom Summer”
by David Mason

Colorado turns Kyoto in a shower,
mist in the pines so thick the crows delight
(or seem to), winging in obscurity.
The ineffectual panic of a squirrel
who chattered at my passing gave me pause
to watch his Ponderosa come and go—
long needles scratching cloud. I’d summited
but knew it only by the wildflower meadow,
the muted harebells, paintbrush, gentian,
scattered among the locoweed and sage.
Today my grief abated like water soaking
underground, its scar a little path
of twigs and needles winding ahead of me
downhill to the next bend. Today I let
the rain soak through my shirt and was unharmed.

Below – StarlingNight: “Misty Pines”


Art for the First Day of Summer – John William Waterhouse: “Sweet Summer”

Welcome, Wonderful Summer

Below – Charles E. Burchfield: “Summer Solstice (In Memory of the American Chestnut Tree)”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 20 June 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 20 June 2015 – Miriam Schapiro, a Canadian-American painter and sculptor: Part I of II.

Below – “Shrine. Homage to Cezanne”; “Epoca (Paul Gauguin and Me)”; “The Golden Robe”; “Mary Cassatt and Me”; “Gates of Paradise”; “Moving Away.”

Musings on the Last Day of Spring: John Irving

“You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.”

Below – Rotem Reshef: “Every Ending is a Beginning”

This Date in Art History: Died 20 June 2015 – Miriam Schapiro, a Canadian-American painter and sculptor: Part II of II.

Below – “Blue Angel”; “Conservatory (Frida and Me)”; “Alexandra Exter (My Fan is Half a Circle)”; “Costume for Mother Earth”; “Homage to Goncharova”; “Agony in the Garden.”


A Poem for the Last Day of Spring

“At the End of Spring”
by Bai Juyi

The flower of the pear-tree gathers and turns to fruit;
The swallows’ eggs have hatched into young birds.
When the Seasons’ changes thus confront the mind
What comfort can the Doctrine of Tao give?
It will teach me to watch the days and months fly
Without grieving that Youth slips away;
If the Fleeting World is but a long dream,
It does not matter whether one is young or old.
But ever since the day that my friend left my side
And has lived in exile in the City of Chiang-ling,
There is one wish I cannot quite destroy:
That from time to time we may chance to meet again.


Contemporary Spanish Art – Ana Del Valle Ojeda

Below – “Kärsämäki”; “Families”; “Winter solstice”; “To notice”; “Atavistic discomfort”: “Flowers in Albacete.”

Musings on the Last Day of Spring: Paul Coelho

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”

Below – Christina Granholm: “Leaving the Past Behind”


Contemporary French Art – Linda Bachammar Clerget

Below – “Cherry tree view”; “Meeting in the 7th heaven”; “Petals asleep”; “Daydreams on the Seine”; “Evanescence métropolitaine”; “The red place to be.”


A Poem for the Last Day of Spring

“Leave-Taking”
by Louise Bogan

I do not know where either of us can turn
Just at first, waking from the sleep of each other.
I do not know how we can bear
The river struck by the gold plummet of the moon,
Or many trees shaken together in the darkness.
We shall wish not to be alone
And that love were not dispersed and set free—
Though you defeat me,
And I be heavy upon you.

But like earth heaped over the heart
Is love grown perfect.
Like a shell over the beat of life
Is love perfect to the last.
So let it be the same
Whether we turn to the dark or to the kiss of another;
Let us know this for leavetaking,
That I may not be heavy upon you,
That you may blind me no more.

Below – Franca Franchi: “Far far away”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 19 June 2019

Today is Juneteenth. In the words of one writer, “Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is an American holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas, and more generally the emancipation of enslaved African Americans throughout the former Confederate States of America. Its name is a blend of “June” and “nineteenth”, the date of its celebration. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in 45 states.”

Below – A Juneteenth celebration in Austin, Texas, on June 19, 1900.


This Date in Art History: Born 19 June 1815 – Cornelius Krieghoff, a Dutch-Canadian painter.

Below – “The Artist at Niagara”; “The Artist Painting”; “Canadian Autumn, View on the Road to Lake St. John”; “Caughnawaga Woman and Baby”; “A Game of Cards”; “Mountainous Lake Scene.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 19 June 1945 – Tobias Wolff, an award-winning American short story writer, novelist, memoirist, and author of “In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War.”

Some quotes from the work of Tobias Wolff:

“We are made to persist. that’s how we find out who we are.”
“Fearlessness in those without power is maddening to those who have it.”
“When we are green, still half-created, we believe that our dreams are rights, that the world is disposed to act in our best interests, and that falling and dying are for quitters. We live on the innocent and monstrous assurance that we alone, of all the people ever born, have a special arrangement whereby we will be allowed to stay green forever.”
“Memory is funny. Once you hit a vein the problem is not how to remember but how to control the flow.”
“The human heart is a dark forest.”
“Knowing that everything comes to an end is a gift of experience, a consolation gift for knowing that we ourselves are coming to an end. Before we get it we live in a continuous present, and imagine the future as more of that present. Happiness is endless happiness, innocent of its own sure passing. Pain is endless pain.”
“You boys know what tropism is, it’s what makes a plant grow toward the light. Everything aspires to the light. You don’t have to chase down a fly to get rid of it – you just darken the room, leave a crack of light in a window, and out he goes. Works every time. We all have that instinct, that aspiration. Science can’t dim that. All science can do is turn out the false lights so the true light can get us home.”

Contemporary British Art – Chloe McCormick

Artist Statement: “I am a London based fine artist, photographer and mixed-media printmaker. I embrace and develop innovative ways of reworking photographic images through collage, illustration and mixed-media print techniques, and by blending science, darkroom alchemy and art. My work explores the boundless possibilities of image production in the age of modern printmaking with an aim to reinvent, recycle, redefine, experiment and preserve.”

Below – “The Lady And Her Monsters II (Ode To Mary Shelley)”; “Lunar Etiquette Under The Harvest Moon XL”; “Hathor Goddess Of The Skies”; “Celestial Contemplations Of The Cosmos”; “Circular Amelia In Copper”; “Hypatia Studies The Stars.”
This Date in Literary History: Born 19 June 1947 – Salman Rushdie, an award-winning Indian-English novelist, essayist, and author of “The Satanic Verses.”

Some quotes from the work of Salman Rushdie:

“You can’t have modern states based on ideas which have been out of date for a thousand years.”
“Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, to rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.”
“Religion, a mediaeval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today. I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.”
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
“No, I don’t think it’s fair to label Islam ‘violent.’ But I will say that to my knowledge, no writer has ever gone into hiding for criticizing the Amish.”
“One of the strange things about violent and authoritarian regimes is they don’t like the glare of negative publicity.”
“Religion is responsible for a lot of the problems in the history of the world and it’s not something that I practice or recommend, but to each his own.”
“When a reader falls in love with a book, it leaves its essence inside him, like radioactive fallout in an arable field, and after that there are certain crops that will no longer grow in him, while other, stranger, more fantastic growths may occasionally be produced.”
“Faith without doubt is addiction.”
“Liberate yourself, because no one else is going to liberate you.”

Contemporary Australian Art – Valentina Schulte

Below (photographs) – “2 Swans, 2 Cranes”; “Aqua Silva”; “Thong on door in passageway”; “Urban Camouflage”; “Ivy / Green / Takeover”; “Foss”; “Stykkisholmur.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 19 June 1993 – William Golding, a British novelist, playwright, poet, author of “Lord of the Flies,” and recipient of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of William Golding:

“I am by nature an optimist and by intellectual conviction a pessimist.”
“I am astonished at the ease with which uninformed persons come to a settled, a passionate opinion when they have no grounds for judgment.”
“A crowd of grade-three thinkers, all shouting the same thing, all warming their hands at the fire of their own prejudices, will not thank you for pointing out the contradictions in their beliefs. Man is a gregarious animal, and enjoys agreement as cows will graze all the same way on the side of a hill.”
“My yesterdays walk with me. They keep step, they are gray faces that peer over my shoulder.”
“Before the Second World War I believed in the perfectibility of social man; that a correct structure of society would produce goodwill; and that therefore you could remove all social ills by a reorganisation of society. …. but after the war I did not because I was unable to. I had discovered what one man could do to another… I must say that anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey, must have been blind or wrong in the head.”
“We’re all mad, the whole damned race. We’re wrapped in illusions, delusions, confusions about the penetrability of partitions, we’re all mad and in solitary confinement.”
“We have a disharmony in our natures. We cannot live together without injuring each other.”
“I believe man suffers from an appalling ignorance of his own nature. I produce my own view in the belief that it may be something like the truth.”
“Consider a man riding a bicycle. Whoever he is, we can say three things about him. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. Most important of all, we know that if at any point between the beginning and the end of his journey he stops moving and does not get off the bicycle he will fall off it. That is a metaphor for the journey through life of any living thing, and I think of any society of living things.”

Contemporary French Art – Anne Baudequin

Below – “February 28, Channel coast, low tide, evening light”; “September 4, clouds over the mountains at dusk”; “April 09, hot air balloon in the morning light”; “The lighthouse, Le Tréport, evening light”; “September 30, the Loire river, evening light”; “January 23, Saint Vincent, snow”; “May 10, the banks of the river, morning light”; “March 25, Roches de Mariol, evening light.”

A Poem for Today

“Developing the Land”
by Stephen Behendt

For six nights now the cries have sounded in the pasture:
coyote voices fluting across the greening rise to the east
where the deer have almost ceased to pass
now that the developers have carved up yet another section,
filled another space with spars and studs, concrete, runoff.

Five years ago you saw two spotted fawns rise
for the first time from brome where brick mailboxes will stand;
only three years past came great horned owls
who raised two squeaking, downy owlets
that perished in the traffic, skimming too low across the road
behind some swift, more fortunate cottontail.

It was on an August afternoon that you drove in,
curling down our long gravel drive past pasture and creek,
that you saw, flickering at the edge of your sight,
three mounted Indians, motionless in the paused breeze,
who vanished when you turned your head.

We have felt the presence on this land of others,
of some who paused here, some who passed, who have left
in the thick clay shards and splinters of themselves that we dig up,
turn up with spade and tine when we garden or bury our animals;
their voices whisper on moonless nights in the back pasture hollow
where the horses snort and nicker, wary with alarm.

Below – Marcia Baldwin: “Three Pinto Indian Ponies”

 

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Sentient in San Francisco – 18 June 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 18 June 1964 – Giorgio Morandi, an Italian painter and printmaker who specialized in still life.

Below – “Still Life”; “Still Life”; “Metaphysical Still Life”; “Still Life”; “Still Life.”

This Date in Journalism History: Died 18 June 1989 – I. F. Stone, an award-winning, politically progressive American investigative journalist.

Some quotes from the work of I. F. Stone:

“A certain moral imbecility marks all ethnocentric movements.”
“If you want to know about governments, all you need to know is two words: Governments lie.”
“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you’re going to lose, because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose until someday, somebody who believes as you do wins.”
“If you expect to see the final results of your work, you simply have not asked a big enough question.”
“Rich people march on Washington every day.”
“When war comes, reason is regarded as treason.”
“Every man is his own Pygmalion, and spends his life fashioning himself. And in fashioning himself, for good or ill, he fashions the human race and its future.”
“History is a tragedy, not a morality tale.”


Contemporary Spanish Art – Marco Ferraris

Below (photographs) – “Magnolia”; ““Mitos Submarinos – La Isla Project – Atargatis”; “El Origen – La Isla Project”; “El Renacimiento de las Criaturas Luminosas”; “End of Reality”; “Mitos Submarinos – La Isla Project – Medusa.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 18 June 1932 – Geoffrey Hill, an award-winning English poet.

“On Seeing The Wind At Hope Mansell”
by Geoffrey Hill

Whether or not shadows are of the substance
such is the expectation I can
wait to surprise my vision as a wind
enters the valley: sudden and silent
in its arrival, drawing to full cry
the whorled invisibilities, glassen towers
freighted with sky-chaff; that, as barnstorming
powers, rammack the small
orchard; that well-steaded oaks
ride stolidly, that rake the light-leafed ash,
that glowing yew trees, cumbrous, heave aside.
Amidst and abroad tumultuous lumina,
regents, reagents, cloud-fêted, sun-ordained,
fly tally over hedgerows, across fields.

Below – Hope Mansell.


Contemporary Malaysian Art – Rajasekharan Parameswaran: Part I of II.

Below – “Golden Kailas – 2”; “Kathakali”; “Bliss”; “Subhadra”; “Waiting”; “The Wind Beneath My Wings”; “Desire.”


This Date in Entertainment History: Born 18 June 1904 – Keye Luke, an award-winning, Chinese-born American film and television actor, technical advisor and artist, and a founding member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Keye Luke has a special place in my memory for two of his character portrayals. First, he played Lee Chan, the “Number One Son” in the Charlie Chan films. These films might not be cinematic masterpieces, but the benevolent, brilliant, and heroic Charlie Chan presented a refreshing alternative to the Yellow Peril and Fu Manchu stereotypes present in some Hollywood movies.

However, I am most grateful for Keye Luke’s portrayal of Master Po in the television series “Kung Fu” (see below). In the words of one writer, “The series aired on ABC from October 1972 to April 1975 for a total of 63 episodes. ‘Kung Fu’ was preceded by a full-length (90 minutes, with commercial breaks) feature television pilot, an ABC Movie of the Week, which was broadcast on February 22, 1972.” I happened to see that pilot, and though I could not have realized it at the time, viewing it and subsequent “Kung Fu” episodes nudged me farther along the path that would eventually lead to my training in martial arts, teaching in Taiwan and Hawaii, studying Buddhism and Taoism with Chinese, Japanese, and Tibetan teachers, trekking in the Himalaya regions of Tibet, Sikkim, Ladakh, and Nepal, and becoming an Asian Studies teacher.

Contemporary Malaysian Art – Rajasekharan Parameswaran: Part II of II.

Below – Golden Kailas”; “Happy”; “Desire”; “Lotus”; “Reflection”; “Solitude”; “Colour of Souls.”

A Poem for Today

“Blank”
by George Bilgere

When I came to my mother’s house
the day after she had died
it was already a museum of her
unfinished gestures. The mysteries
from the public library, due
in two weeks. The half-eaten square
of lasagna in the fridge.

The half-burned wreckage
of her last cigarette,
and one red swallow
of wine in a lipsticked
glass beside her chair.

Finally, a blue Bic
on a couple of downs
and acrosses left blank
in the Sunday crossword,
which actually had the audacity
to look a little smug
at having, for once, won.

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Sentient in San Francisco – 17 June 2019

Contemporary French Art – Sabine Danze

Below – “The Dancer 17”; “Monsieur de Paris 3”; “Haute Couture 7”; “Descabello 10”; “The Dancer 4”; “Skyline 3.”

A Poem for Today

“Eating Them As He Came”

by Christopher Todd Matthews

Dark by five, the day gives up and so do I, 

stalled at the top of the stairs I forget what for, 

adrift in a scrap of dream that’s not a dream 

exactly but a stupor, unrefined. I go astray 

in old routines, I dare myself to reconstruct 

the rules of old invented games—that one 

of throwing snowballs at the roof, to watch them 

shrink as they rolled down, spinning to their pits, 

to see the force that made them briefly a thing 

so neatly undone. Today an old friend’s tiny boy 

lobbied me to pitch some snowballs at him. I bowed 

to his dense little will. But planned to miss. 

As I packed and flung each one to its unpacking, 

he hunted down the humble bits and crumbs 

of every impact, as they ran from him along 

the icy slope, and gathered and carried them 

back to me at the top. Eating them as he came. 

So that’s how you get to the marrow of breakdown. 

I forgot. That you could put what’s left to your lips.

Below – Amber Walden: “Boy Eating Snow”

Contemporary American Art – Leslie Dannenberg: Part I of III.

Below – “Rooftop Views”; “Residence of Doors”; “Interior with Patio Door”; “Three Lives Bookstore”; “Monument Valley Utah”; “Aspen Trees Autumn.”

Musings in Spring: David Brower

“Sometimes luck is with you, and sometimes not, but the important thing is to take the dare. Those who climb mountains or raft rivers understand this.”

Contemporary American Art – Leslie Dannenberg: Part II of III.

Below – “Red Pagoda Guests”; “Track 28”; “Tanager Pair on Birch Tree”; “Blue Porcelain”; “Aspen Eyes”; “Woodpeckers on Sweet Gum Tree.”

A Poem for Today

“At the Office Holiday Party”

by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

I can now confirm that I am not just fatter 

than everyone I work with, but I’m also fatter 

than all their spouses. Even the heavily bearded 

bear in accounting has a little otter-like boyfriend.

 

When my co-workers brightly introduce me 

as “the funny one in the office,” their spouses 

give them a look which translates to, Well, duh, 

then they both wait for me to say something funny.

 

A gaggle of models comes shrieking into the bar 

to further punctuate why I sometimes hate living 

in this city. They glitter, a shiny gang of scissors. 

I don’t know how to look like I’m not struggling.

 

Sometimes on the subway back to Queens, 

I can tell who’s staying on past the Lexington stop 

because I have bought their shoes before at Payless. 

They are shoes that fool absolutely no one.

 

Everyone wore their special holiday party outfits. 

It wasn’t until I arrived at the bar that I realized 

my special holiday party outfit was exactly the same 

as the outfits worn by the restaurant’s busboys.

 

While I’m standing in line for the bathroom, 

another patron asks if I’m there to clean it.

Contemporary American Art – Leslie Dannenberg: Part III of III.

Below – “Early Morning Parking”; “Anchor Island Lighthouse”; “Shopping”; “Rodgers and Astaire”; “The Study”; “Autumn in a Small Town.”

Musings in Spring: Joe Queenan

“The world is changing, but I am not changing with it. There is no e-reader or Kindle in my future. My philosophy is simple: Certain things are perfect the way they are. The sky, the Pacific Ocean, procreation and the Goldberg Variations all fit this bill, and so do books. Books are sublimely visceral, emotionally evocative objects that constitute a perfect delivery system. Books that we can touch; books that we can smell; books that we can depend on. Books that make us believe, for however short a time, that we shall all live happily ever after.”

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Sentient in San Francisco – 16 June 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 16 June 1878 – Kikuchi Yosai, a Japanese painter.

Below – “Self-Portrait”; “Mount Fuji”; “Shoki – Demon Queller”; “Taira no Atsumori.”

This Date in Literary History: 16 June 1904 – In the words of one writer, on this day “Irish author James Joyce begins a relationship with Nora Barnacle and subsequently uses the date to set the actions for his novel ‘Ulysses‘; this date is now traditionally called ‘Bloomsday‘.”

Below – Nora Barnacle and James Joyce on their wedding day in 1931; the great “Bloomsday Book.”

This Date in Art History: Born 16 June 1917 – Irving Penn, an American photographer.

Below – “Pablo Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, 1957”;  “Marlene Dietrich, New York, 1948”; “Cuzco Children, 1948”; “Tribesman with nose disc, New Guinea, 1970”; “Girl Drinking (Mary Jane Russell, New York, 1949.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 16 June 1938 – Joyce Carol Oates, an American novelist, short story writer, critic, poet, and recipient of the National Book Award: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Joyce Carol Oates: 

“How lovely this world is, really: one simply has to look.”

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”

“And this is the forbidden truth, the unspeakable taboo – that evil is not always repellent but frequently attractive; that it has the power to make of us not simply victims, as nature and accident do, but active accomplices.”

“Read widely, and without apology. Read what you want to read, not what someone tells you you should read.”

“It’s where we go, and what we do when we get there, that tells us who we really are.”

“Keep a light, hopeful heart. But ­expect the worst.”

“The strangeness of Time. Not in its passing, which can seem infinite, like a tunnel whose end you can’t see, whose beginning you’ve forgotten, but in the sudden realization that something finite, has passed, and is irretrievable.”

“Tragedy is the highest form of art.”

“Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.”

“The mere passage of time makes us all exiles.”

“The heavenly light you admire is fossil-light, it’s the unfathomably distant past you gaze into, stars long extinct.”

Contemporary Israeli Art – Lior Patel

Below (photographs) – “Night over ice cream car”; Of Elephant and Man”; “Gently”; “Skin”; “Order! (Urban obsession)”; “Husky Power.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 16 June 1938 – Joyce Carol Oates, an American novelist, short story writer, critic, poet, and recipient of the National Book Award: Part II of II.

“Women Whose Lives are Food, Men Whose Lives are Money”

by Joyce Carol Oates

Mid-morning Monday she is staring

peaceful as the rain in that shallow back yard

she wears flannel bedroom slippers

she is sipping coffee

she is thinking—

—gazing at the weedy bumpy yard

at the faces beginning to take shape

in the wavy mud

in the linoleum

where floorboards assert themselves

 

Women whose lives are food

breaking eggs with care

scraping garbage from the plates

unpacking groceries hand over hand

 

Wednesday evening: he takes the cans out front

tough plastic with detachable lids

Thursday morning: the garbage truck whining at 7

Friday the shopping mall open till 9

bags of groceries unpacked

hand over certain hand

 

Men whose lives are money

time-and-a-half Saturdays

the lunchbag folded with care and brought back home

unfolded Monday morning

 

Women whose lives are food

because they are not punch-carded

because they are unclocked

sighing glad to be alone

staring into the yard, mid-morning

mid-week

by mid-afternoon everything is forgotten

 

There are long evenings

panel discussions on abortions, fashions, meaningful work

there are love scenes where people mouth passions

sprightly, handsome, silly, manic

in close-ups revealed ageless

the women whose lives are food

the men whose lives are money

fidget as these strangers embrace and weep and mis-

understand and forgive and die and weep and embrace

and the viewers stare and fidget and sigh and

begin yawning around 10:30

never made it past midnight, even on Saturdays,

watching their braven selves perform

 

Where are the promised revelations?

Why have they been shown so many times?

Long-limbed children a thousand miles to the west

hitch-hiking in spring, burnt bronze in summer

thumbs nagging

eyes pleading

“Give us a ride, huh? Give us a ride?”

 

and when they return nothing is changed

the linoleum looks older

the Hawaiian Chicken is new

the girls wash their hair more often

the boys skip over the puddles

in the GM parking lot

no one eyes them with envy

 

their mothers stoop

the oven doors settle with a thump

the dishes are rinsed and stacked and

by mid-morning the house is quiet

it is raining out back

or not raining

the relief of emptiness rains

simple, terrible, routine

at peace 

Contemporary Russian Art – Gleb Krukov

Below (sculpture) – ‘Intuition”; “River Horse ‘Hippopotamus’”; “Kensei ‘Sacred Sword”; “Top-Tiroir. High Society.”

A Poem for Today

“Hunter’s Moon”

by Molly Fisk

Early December, dusk, and the sky 

slips down the rungs of its blue ladder 

into indigo. A late-quarter moon hangs 

in the air above the ridge like a broken plate 

and shines on us all, on the new deputy 

almost asleep in his four-by-four, 

lulled by the crackling song of the dispatcher, 

on the bartender, slowly wiping a glass 

and racking it, one eye checking the game. 

It shines down on the fox’s red and grey life, 

as he stills, a shadow beside someone’s gate, 

listening to winter. Its pale gaze caresses 

the lovers, curled together under a quilt, 

dreaming alone, and shines on the scattered 

ashes of terrible fires, on the owl’s black flight, 

on the whelks, on the murmuring kelp, 

on the whale that washed up six weeks ago 

at the base of the dunes, and it shines 

on the backhoe that buried her.

Below – Image by Jim Kaler.

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