Wandering in Woodacre – 30 July 2021

Contemporary Russian Art – Gala Turovskaya

Below – “Still life with hydrangea and apples”; “Summer breakfast on a blue tablecloth”; “Pansies in a blue vase”; “Artist’s Garden”; “Peonies and Zinnias.”

A Poem for Today

“My Mother’s Penmanship Lessons”
by Wesley McNair

In her last notes, when her hand began
to tremble, my mother tried to teach it

the penmanship she was known for,
how to make the slanted stems

of the p’s and d’s, the descending
roundness of the capital m’s, the long

loops of the f’s crossed at the center,
sending it back again and again

until each message was the same:
a record of her insistence that the hand

return her to the way she was before,
and of all the ways the hand had disobeyed.

Contemporary Italian Art – Carla Sutero Sardo

Below (photographs) – “Nature”; Untitled; “Rumore di mare”; “A fairy tale in the city”; “AQVA Orange”; “Lying on the belly of the earth.”

A Poem for Today

“At the Lake House”
by Jon Loomis

Wind and the sound of wind—
across the bay a chainsaw revs
and stalls. I’ve come here to write,

but instead I’ve been thinking
about my father, who, in his last year,
after his surgery, told my mother

he wasn’t sorry—that he’d cried
when the other woman left him,
that his time with her

had made him happier than anything
he’d ever done. And my mother,
who’d cooked and cleaned for him

all those years, cared for him
after his heart attack, could not
understand why he liked the other

woman more than her,
but he did. And she told me
that after he died she never went

to visit his grave—not once.
You think you know them,
these creatures robed

in your parents’ skins. Well,
you don’t. Any more than you know
what the pines want from the wind,

if the lake’s content with this pale
smear of sunset, if the loon calls
for its mate, or for another.

Below – Kristina Anishchenko: “Wind in the Pines”

Contemporary French Art – Dorina Costras

Below – “Sanziene”; “Dreamcatcher 2”; “October Song”; “Daydream Spring”; “Daydreaming 2”; “Counting stars 2”; “The Girls With The Sleeping Cat.”

A Poem for Today

“A Man Alone”
by Steven Orlen

I hated breaking up and I hated
Being left, finding myself in an apartment
With an extra set of silverware and a ghost,
Impatient to be gone. Then to summon up
Who I was before the bed was full with woman.
To shift the street-mind from getting to
To slowing down and window shop. In the bar down the street,
To let my eyes simplify again, and make no judgments,
And breathe in the smoke that drifts
Through one body then another,
And find myself close enough
To whisper into a woman’s just-washed hair
And inhale that ten thousand year old scent.
To memorize a phone number.
To learn to say goodnight at her door.
To keep my hands in my pockets, like a boy.
To open the heart, only a little at a time.

Below – Les Panchyshyn: “Silence”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 29 July 2021

Contemporary Russian Art – Ekaterina Prisich

Below – ‘Vanilla waterfall”; “Sunlit Flowers”; “Morning in the Garden”; “Everyday Aesthetics”; “Butterfly on thistle”; “Eucalyptus branch.”

A Poem for Today

“Bees Were Better”
by Naomi Shihab Nye

In college, people were always breaking up.
We broke up in parking lots,
beside fountains.
Two people broke up
across a table from me
at the library.
I could not sit at that table again
though I did not know them.
I studied bees, who were able
to convey messages through dancing
and could find their ways
home to their hives
even if someone put up a blockade of sheets
and boards and wire.
Bees had radar in their wings and brains
that humans could barely understand.
I wrote a paper proclaiming
their brilliance and superiority
and revised it at a small café
featuring wooden hive-shaped honey-dippers
in silver honeypots
at every table.

Contemporary Mexican Art – Zoe Lunar

Below – “There are days when I think of the horizon and its colors”: “Look at a destination”; “A radiant look”; “Eyes nailed to warmth”; “Yelowish half a day”; “Celestial sunset.”

A Poem for Today

“Cash Register Sings the Blues”
by Maria Nazos

This isn’t my dream-job. As a young sheet
of steel and plastic I dreamt of being melted

down into a dancer’s pole in Vegas. I wanted
a woman in a headdress glossy as a gossamer

to wrap her lithe limbs around me. I wanted
to be strewn in lights, smell her powdery perfume.

Instead I’m a squat box crouched behind the counter,
noticed only if someone robs me. I’m touched all day,

but never caressed. Listen: somewhere gold tokens
spew from slots. I want to drink space-alien-dyed martinis on black

leather sectional couches. Watch tipsy women with acid-
washed jeans and teased hair dreamily press their faces

against slot machines while people treat currency
carelessly as spit in the wind.

I’m everywhere you look, ubiquitous and ignored.
I’m the container of your dreams that tossed aside my own.

I’ve kept my clean, sleek lines but you never say a thing.
Feed me, feed me with the only love we know.

Contemporary Spanish Art – Oihergi Eleder Estornes Riviera

Below – “Poolside”; “Bathers 2”; “Shower”; “Flower vase”; “Nude shape 4”; “View of backyard.”

A Poem for Today

“Midnight Snow”
by James Crews

Outside in the creek that feeds the lake
and never freezes, an otter slaps the water
with his paw to feel the current’s pulse—
‘Slip in, lie back. Slip in, lie back’. He shuts
his eyes and obeys, knowing the layers
of hair and underfur will warm him while
he floats on a faith we wish could carry us.

The sound of his splashing fades, but not
his joy in being pushed, light as driftwood,
back to the mouth of the den I have seen
carved out beneath the roots of a fallen fir
now packed with snow and lined with leaves
that promise his sleep will be deep.

Because no dreams wait softly for me,
I open the woodstove and strike a match,
hold the bloom of the flame to kindling
that catches quick as my wish: To be that
slick body sliding into the lake that holds
the moon, bright portal to glide through
without so much as a shiver, no doubt
about where I’m going, how to get there.

Below – Apollo Environmental Artist: “Moonlight Swim”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 28 July 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 28 July 1879 – Stefan Filipkiewicz, a Polish painter.

Below – “Meadow”; “Wild beach in Jastrzębia Gora”; “Peonies”; “Zakopane”; “Forest Landscape”; “Tatra Mountains at dawn.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 28 July 1866 – Beatrix Potter, an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, conservationist, and author of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.”
“Miss Potter” (2006), directed by Chris Noonan and starring Renee Zellweger in the title role, is an altogether lovely movie.

Some quotes from the work of Beatrix Potter:

“Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were–Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter. ”
“All outward forms of religion are almost useless, and are the causes of endless strife. . . . Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest.”
“I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense.”
“The place is changed now, and many familiar faces are gone, but the greatest change is myself. I was a child then, I had no idea what the world would be like. I wished to trust myself on the waters and the sea. Everything was romantic in my imagination. The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk. The Lords and Ladies of the last century walked with me along the overgrown paths, and picked the old fashioned flowers among the box and rose hedges of the garden.”
“If I have done anything, even a little, to help small children enjoy honest, simple pleasures, I have done a bit of good.”

This Date in Art History: Born 28 July 1902 – Albert Namatjira, an Aboriginal painter from Australia.

Below – “Central Australian Landscape”; “MacDonnell Ranges”; “Glen Helen Gorge”; “Jay Creek Country, early 1950s”; “River Gum Near Bitter Springs Gorge”; “Group of Ghost Gums.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 28 July 1959 – William T. Vollmann, an American novelist, journalist, war correspondent, short story writer, essayist, author of “Europe Central,” and recipient of the National Book Award for Fiction.

Some quotes from the work of William T. Vollmann:

“Maybe life is a process of trading hopes for memories.”
“Rising up, rising down! History shambles on! What are we left with? A few half-shattered Greek stelae; Trotsky’s eyeglasses; Gandhi’s native-spun cloth, Cortes’ pieces of solid gold (extorted from their original owner, Montezuma); a little heap of orange peels left on the table by the late Robespierre; John Brown’s lengthily underlined letters; Lenin’s bottles of invisible ink; one of Di Giovanni’s suitcases, with an iron cylinder of gelignite and two glass tubes of acid inside; the Constitution of the Ku Klux Klan; a bruised ear (Napoleon pinched it with loving condescension)… And dead bodies, of course. (They sing about John Brown’s body.) Memoirs, manifestoes, civil codes, trial proceedings, photographs, statues, weapons now aestheticized by that selfsame history – the sword of Frederick the Great, and God knows what else. Then dust blows out of fresh graves, and the orange peels go grey, sink, wither, rot away. Sooner or later, every murder becomes quaint. Charlemagne hanged four and a half thousand “rebels” in a single day, but he has achieved a storybook benevolence. And that’s only natural: historiography begins after the orange has been sucked,; the peeler believes in the “great and beautiful things,” or wants to believe; easy for us to believe likewise, since dust reduced truth and counterfeit to the same greyness – caveat emptor. But ends remain fresh, and means remain inexplicable. Rising up and rising down! And whom shall I save, and who is my enemy, and who is my neighbor?”
“Are you a censor? Do you tell people not to say ‘girl’? Shame on you! If nothing offends you, you’re a saint or you’re psychotic. If a few things offend you, deal with them–fairly. If you’re often offended by things, you’re probably a self-righteous asshole and it’s too bad you weren’t censored yourself–by your mother in an abortion clinic.”
“If this advertisement be not sufficient, I can only protrude my wormlike tendrils of apology, craving forbearance on the grounds that a writer must write about what he knows, and since I know nothing about any subject it scarcely matters where I dabble.”
“Self-deception is a pessimistic definition of optimism.”
“I do most sincerely believe that ethical behavior as we best construe it ought to be followed by us throughout our lives, even on the last day of life, and that if we have made a bad or even evil choice we are not barred (or excused) thereby from continuing to live the last moments or years given to us in whatever way we consider to be most right.”

Contemporary American Art – JoAnn Giles

Below – “Reflections on Another Journey”; “I Think Summer is Over”; “Red Gates”; “Dusk Falls”; “Splash!”

This Date in Literary History: Born 28 July 1927 – John Ashbery, an American poet and recipient of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

“Some Trees”
by John Ashbery

These are amazing: each
Joining a neighbor, as though speech
Were a still performance.
Arranging by chance

To meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing
With it, you and I
Are suddenly what the trees try

To tell us we are:
That their merely being there
Means something; that soon
We may touch, love, explain.

And glad not to have invented
Such comeliness, we are surrounded:
A silence already filled with noises,
A canvas on which emerges

A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.
Placed in a puzzling light, and moving,
Our days put on such reticence
These accents seem their own defense.

Below- Karl-Karol Chrobok: “Trees in winter no. 8”

Contemporary German Art – Kevin Gray

Below – “Lady making Silk from Lotus”; “Orange Sunset”; “Poppyfield 26”; “Woman with Blue Scarf”; “Waterlily Sunset”; “Tizian’s Venus Cutoff.”

A Poem for Today

by Robyn Sarah

It is possible that things will not get better
than they are now, or have been known to be.
It is possible that we are past the middle now.
It is possible that we have crossed the great water
without knowing it, and stand now on the other side.
Yes: I think that we have crossed it. Now
we are being given tickets, and they are not
tickets to the show we had been thinking of,
but to a different show, clearly inferior.

Check again: it is our own name on the envelope.
The tickets are to that other show.

It is possible that we will walk out of the darkened hall
without waiting for the last act: people do.
Some people do. But it is probable
that we will stay seated in our narrow seats
all through the tedious dénouement
to the unsurprising end–riveted, as it were;
spellbound by our own imperfect lives
because they are lives,
and because they are ours.

Below – Nicholas St, John Rosse: “Spellbound”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 27 July 2021

Contemporary German Art – Thomas Rudolph

Below – “Midsummer”; “Giuliana”; “AD 2”; “Act Two”; “Ms. Johnson”; “AD2122.”

A Poem for Today

by Connie Wanek

We used to play, long before we bought real houses.
A roll of the dice could send a girl to jail.
The money was pink, blue, gold, as well as green,
and we could own a whole railroad
or speculate in hotels where others dreaded staying:
the cost was extortionary.

At last one person would own everything,
every teaspoon in the dining car, every spike
driven into the planks by immigrants,
every crooked mayor.
But then, with only the clothes on our backs,
we ran outside, laughing.

Below – Herschel fall: “Buying Pennsylvania”

Contemporary Mexican Art – Su Lin Casanova

Below – “Looking at life in the eye”; “Swallowed the sun”; “Rescued”; “Past Life.”

A Poem for Today

“Hope and Love”
by Jane Hirshfield

All winter
the blue heron
slept among the horses.
I do not know
the custom of herons,
do not know
if the solitary habit
is their way,
or if he listened for
some missing one—
not knowing even
that was what he did—
in the blowing
sounds in the dark,
I know that
hope is the hardest
love we carry.
He slept
with his long neck
folded, like a letter
put away.

Below – Bob Armstrong:Great-blue Heron, sleeping (photograph)

Contemporary Belarusian Art – Iryna Kastsova

Below – “Glaze of the sun on the water 5”; “Ocean. Regatta”; “Ocean waves. Light”; “Ocean. Palm trees. Beach”; “Regatta 37.”

A Poem for Today

“The World Has Need of You”
by Ellen Bass

‘…everything here seems to need us…’ —Rilke

I can hardly imagine it
as I walk to the lighthouse, feeling the ancient
prayer of my arms swinging
in counterpoint to my feet.
Here I am, suspended
between the sidewalk and twilight,
the sky dimming so fast it seems alive.
What if you felt the invisible
tug between you and everything?
A boy on a bicycle rides by,
his white shirt open, flaring
behind him like wings.
It’s a hard time to be human. We know too much
and too little. Does the breeze need us?
The cliffs? The gulls?
If you’ve managed to do one good thing,
the ocean doesn’t care.
But when Newton’s apple fell toward the earth,
the earth, ever so slightly, fell
toward the apple as well.

Apple falling from tree. Date:

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Wandering in Woodacre – 26 July 2021

Contemporary American Art – Christy Powers

Below – “ladies room”; “lost suburban nights”; “dreaming of jet setting”; “the spaceship”; “the explorer”; “Castaway.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 25 July 1959 – Rick Bragg, an American writer, journalist, author of “All Over But the Shoutin’” and “The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People, Lost and Found,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

Some quotes from the work of Rick Bragg:

“Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity, no matter how poor or damaged the shell that carries it.”
“But I hope I will never have a life that is not surrounded by books, by books that are bound in paper and cloth and glue, such perishable things for ideas have lasted thousands of years . . . I hope I am always walled in by the very weight and breadth and clumsy, inefficient, antiquated bulk of them, hope that I spend my last days on this Earth arranging and rearranging them on thrones of good, honest pine, oak, and mahogany, because I just like to look at their covers, and dream of the promise of the great stories inside.”
“Don’t worry about what people think, because once it’s all over the people who love you will make you what they want you to be, and the people who don’t love you will, too.”
“It was a good moment, the kind you would like to press between the pages of a book, or hide in your sock drawer, so you could touch it again.”
“Momma kept a garden, which sounds romantic to people who have never held a hoe.”
“The children start school now in August. They say it has to do with air-conditioning, but I know sadism when I see it.”
“This is home and home is not something you remember, it is something you see every day and every moment.”

Contemporary British Art – Richard Palmer

Below – “Out Of The Darkness”; “Two Crows”; “Winter Tree”; “Return To The Far Reaching Tree”; “Tree In Summer”; “Light Into The Woods.”

A Poem for Today

by Tami Haaland

When I open the door
and reach to the light switch
the world opens as it did each time.

The garlic jar on the ledge,
the ceramic cup holding
cheese cutters and paring knives.

Outside a branch
from the ash tree
worries the window.

It was a place where I knew
the drawer pulls, the feel of steps
to the basement, the smell of cool cement.

If I open the middle cabinet,
the linen is there as you left it,
well-ordered, none of it fine.

Contemporary Italian Art – Paolo Terdich

Below – “Aqua 55”; “Aqua 47”; “Alabastro”; “Aqua 42”; “Ossessione I”; “Aqua 24.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 25 July 1875 – Antonio Machado, a Spanish poet.

[“Traveler, your footprints’]
by Antonio Machado
translated by Mary G. Berg and Dennis Maloney

Traveler, your footprints
are the only road, nothing else.
Traveler, there is no road;
you make your own path as you walk.
As you walk, you make your own road,
and when you look back
you see the path
you will never travel again.
Traveler, there is no road;
only a ship’s wake on the sea.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 25 July 2021

Contemporary American Art – Steven Page Prewitt

Below – “Retro Palette Colors of Spring”; “View from the Breakfast Room Window”; “Autumn in the Blue Ridge”; “November Frosty Moon”; “Red Barn Feeder Under the Harvest Moon.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 25 July 1905 – Elias Canetti, a Bulgarian-Swiss novelist, playwright, memoirist, author of “Crowds and Power,” and recipient of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Elias Canetti:

“Relearn astonishment.”
“All things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams.”
“There are books, that one has for twenty years without reading them, that one always keeps at hand, that one takes along from city to city, from country to country, carefully packed, even when there is very little room, and perhaps one leafs through them while removing them from a trunk; yet one carefully refrains from reading even a complete sentence. Then after twenty years, there comes a moment when suddenly, as though under a high compulsion, one cannot help taking in such a book from beginning to end, at one sitting: it is like a revelation. Now one knows why one made such a fuss about it. It had to be with one for a long time; it had to travel; it had to occupy space; it had to be a burden; and now it has reached the goal of its voyage, now it reveals itself, now it illuminates the twenty bygone years it mutely lived with one. It could not say so much if it had not been there mutely the whole time, and what idiot would dare to assert that the same things had always been in it.”
“Travelling, one accepts everything; indignation stays at home. One looks, one listens, one is roused to enthusiasm by the most dreadful things because they are new. Good travellers are heartless.”
“What a man touched upon, he should take with him. If he forgot it, he should be reminded. What gives a man worth is that he incorporates everything he has experienced. This includes the countries where he has lived, the people whose voices he has heard. It also takes in his origins, if he can find out something about them… not only one’s private experience but everything concerning the time and place of one’s beginnings. The words of a language one may have spoken and heard only as a child imply the literature in which it flowered. The story of a banishment must include everything that happened before it as well as the rights subsequently claimed by the victims. Others had fallen before and in different ways; they too are part of the story. It is hard to evaluate the justice of such a claim to history… We should know not only what happened to our fellow men in the past but also what they were capable of. We should know what we ourselves are capable of. For that, much knowledge is needed; from whatever direction, at whatever distance knowledge offers itself, one should reach out for it, keep it fresh, water it and fertilize it with new knowledge.”
“How could I, fool that I am, go on sitting in my office, or here at home, instead of leaping onto a train with my eyes shut and opening them only when I am with you?”
“A head full of stars, just not in constellation yet.”

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Lita Akhmetova

Below – “Walnut with pliers”; “the white crane”; “Yak Ari in the rays of light”; “Anaghur crowned with golden horns.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 25 July 1875 – Jim Corbett, a British author naturalist, environmentalist, and hunter of man-eating tigers and leopards in India.
When I was in seventh grade, I purchased a copy of Corbett’s “Man-Eaters of Kumaon” (for ten cents!) through the “Weekly Reader,” and I still recall what an exciting read it was.

Some quotes from the work of Jim Corbett:

“Tigers, except when wounded or when man-eaters, are on the whole very good-tempered…Occasionally a tiger will object to too close an approach to its cubs or to a kill that it is guarding. The objection invariably takes the form of growling, and if this does not prove effective itis followed by short rushes accompanied by terrifying roars. If these warnings are disregarded, the blame for any injury inflicted rests entirely with the intruder.”
“The book of nature has no beginning, as it has no end. Open this book where you will, and at any period of your life, and if you have the desire to acquire knowledge you will find it of intense interest, and no matter how long or how intently you study the pages, your interest will not flag, for in nature there is no finality.”
“Those who have never seen a leopard under favourable conditions in his natural surroundings can have no conception of the grace of movement, and beauty of colouring, of this the most gracefuL and the most beautiful of all animals in our Indian jungles.”
“I had spent many nights in the jungle looking for game, but this was the first time I had ever spent a night looking for a man-eater. The length of road immediately in front of me was brilliantly lit by the moon, but to right and left the overhanging trees cast dark shadows, and when the night wind agitated the branches and the shadows moved, I saw a dozen tigers advancing on me, and bitterly regretted the impulse that had induced me to place myself at the man-eater’s mercy. I lacked the courage to return to the village and admit I was too frightened to carry out my self-imposed task, and with teeth chattering, as much from fear as from cold, I sat out the long night. As the grey dawn was lighting up the snowy range which Iwas facing, I rested my head on my drawn-up knees, and it was in this position my men an hour later found me fast asleep; of the tiger I had neither heard nor seen anything.”
“There are events in one’s life which, no matter how remote, never fade from memory.”
“Minutes passed, each pulling my hopes down a little lower from the heights to which they had soared, and then, when tension on my nerves and the weight of the heavy rifle were becoming unbearable, I heard a stick snap at the upper end of the thicket. Here was an example of how a tiger can move through the jungle. From the sound she had made I knew her exact position, had kept my eyes fixed on the spot, and yet she had come, seen me, stayed some time watching me, and then gone away without my having seen a leaf or a blade of grass move.”
“There is no universal language in the jungles; each species has its own language, and though the vocabulary of some is limited, as in the case of porcupines and vultures, the language of each species is understood by all the jungle-folk.”
“It was as though the man-eater – for no other leopard would have killed the goat and laid it on the track- had said, ‘Here, if you want your goat so badly, take it; and as it is now dark and you have a long way to go, we will see which of you lives to reach the village.’”
“The dividing line between the superstitions of simple uneducated people who live on high mountains, and the beliefs of sophisticated educated people who live at lesser heights, is so faint that it is difficult to determine where the one ends and the other begins.”
“The time I spent in the jungles held unalloyed happiness for me, and that happiness I would now gladly share. My happiness, I believe, resulted from the fact that all wildlife is happy in its natural surroundings. In nature there is no sorrow, and no repining. A bird from a flock, or an animal from a herd, is taken by hawk or carnivorous beast and those that are left rejoice that their time had not come today, and have no thought of tomorrow.”

Contemporary Italian Art – Paola Consonni

Below – “Study of a woman portrait LXXXIX”; “Study of a woman portrait LXXXV melancholy”; “Study of woman portrait LXXX11”; “Study of faces portraits LXVI”; “Study of a woman portrait LIX”; “The Charity III.”

Poem for Today

“Late Ripeness”
by Czeslaw Milosz

Not soon, as late as the approach of my ninetieth year,
I felt a door opening in me and I entered
the clarity of early morning.

One after another my former lives were departing,
like ships, together with their sorrow.

And the countries, cities, gardens, the bays of seas
assigned to my brush came closer,
ready now to be described better than they were before.

I was not separated from people,
grief and pity joined us.
We forget—I kept saying—that we are all children of the King.

For where we come from there is no division
into Yes and No, into is, was, and will be.

We were miserable, we used no more than a hundredth part
of the gift we received for our long journey.

Moments from yesterday and from centuries ago—
a sword blow, the painting of eyelashes before a mirror
of polished metal, a lethal musket shot, a caravel
staving its hull against a reef—they dwell in us,
waiting for a fulfillment.

I knew, always, that I would be a worker in the vineyard,
as are all men and women living at the same time,
whether they are aware of it or not.

Below – Kristin McCoy: “White Sails”

Contemporary British Art – Robert Owen Bloomfield

Below – “Blaine”; “Zoha”; “Bleu”; “Oti”; “Karuk”; “Edlyn”; “aspen.”

A Poem for Today

“You Never Get One Thing”
by Greg Kosmicki

This notebook is so old the paper is yellow.
I wonder where the tree grew.

Seems like you never get one thing without losing another.
There’s some sort of law about that
to do with finite resources.

Somewhere some guys have figured out to the exact ounce
how much my life has cost the earth,
how many people have died that I might live.

Start with my parents, and theirs, and all who died
because of them. It’s like we drip in blood.
Who can wake up then tomorrow morning,
do the tasks set out before them
as if it was their work and their work only?
Who has the courage to look out to the east again
at someone else’s sun?

Maurice Sapiro: “Looking East”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 24 July 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 24 July 1927 – Alex Katz, an American painter and sculptor.

Below – “Vivien with Hat”; “Ada in Spain”; “Grey Ribbon (Ada)”; “Yellow Flags 4”; “Chance”; “Sunset 1.”

Japanese-themed Art for Today – Kind of Cyan: “Hashiguchi Goya Inspired Japanese Cyanotype”

This Date in Literary History: Died 24 July 1927 – Ryunosuke Akutagawa, a Japanese writer regarded as the father of the Japanese short story and author of “In a Grove,” one of the great short stories in world literature.

Some quotes from the work of Ryunosuke Akutagawa:

“What is the life of a human being—a drop of dew, a flash of lightning? This is so sad, so sad.”
“It’s not so much that I want to die as that I’m tired of living.”
“The human heart harbors two conflicting sentiments. Everyone of course sympathizes with people who suffer misfortunes. Yet when those people manage to overcome their misfortunes, we feel a certain disappointment. We may even feel (to overstate the case somewhat) a desire to plunge them back into those misfortunes. And before we know it, we come (if only passively) to harbor some degree of hostility toward them.”
“It is important-even necessary-for us to become acutely aware of the fact that we can’t trust ourselves. The only ones you can trust to some extent are people who really know that. We had better get this straight.”
“One chilly autumn evening, he was reminded of the painter by a stalk of corn: the way it stood there armed in its rough coat of leaves, exposing its delicate roots atop the mounded earth like so many nerves, it was also a portrait of his own most vulnerable self. The discovery only served to increase his melancholy.”

Japanese-themed Art for Today – Catalin Ilinca: “Spring flower (L’une 108)”

Contemporary British Art – James Cowan

Below – “The Pink Building”; “New York Carousel Horses”; “Style Moderne”; “New York Diner”; “New York Fire Escape with White Ladder”; “The Subway Train New York.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 24. July 1991 – Isaac Bashevis Singer, a Polish-born Jewish-American novelist, short story writer, author of “A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories,” two-time recipient of the National Book Award and recipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Isaac Bashevis Singer:

“Two important things are to have a genuine interest in people and to be kind to them. Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything.”
“What do they know-all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world – about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.”
“It is a general rule that when the grain of truth cannot be found, men will swallow great helpings of falsehood.”
“Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why then should man expect mercy from God? It is unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give.”
“I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens.”
“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.”
“As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.”
“There are 500 reasons I write for children…. Children read books, not reviews. They don’t give a hoot about the critics…. They don’t read to free themselves of guilt, to quench their thirst for rebellion, or to get rid of alienation. They still believe in God, the family, angels, devils, witches, goblins, logic, clarity, punctuation, and other such obsolete stuff…. They don’t expect their beloved writer to redeem humanity. Young as they are, they know that it is not in his power. Only the adults have such childish illusions.”
“Literature is the memory of humanity.”

Contemporary Mexican Art – Roque Reyes

Below – “Lighted Clouds”; “Bulls and Wolf”; “Cougar”; “Tlacochahuaya”; “Ancestral Seeds”; “In the Deep.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 July 1895 – Robert Graves, an English poet, novelist, critic, memoirist, and author of “Good-Bye to All That,” “The White Goddess,” and “I, Claudius.”

Some quotes from the work of Robert Graves:

“She tells her love while half asleep,
In the dark hours,
With half-words whispered low:
As Earth stirs in her winter sleep
And puts out grass and flowers
Despite the snow,
Despite the falling snow.”
“Marriage, like money, is still with us; and, like money, progressively devalued.”
“In love as in sport, the amateur status must be strictly maintained.”
“There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.”
“The child alone a poet is:
Spring and Fairyland are his.”
“There are two different ways of writing history: one is to persuade men to virtue and the other is to compel men to truth.”
“Religious fanaticism is the most dangerous form of insanity.”
“The White Goddess

All saints revile her, and all sober men
Ruled by the God Apollo’s golden mean –
In scorn of which we sailed to find her
In distant regions likeliest to hold her
Whom we desired above all things to know,
Sister of the mirage and echo.

It was a virtue not to stay,
To go our headstrong and heroic way
Seeking her out at the volcano’s head,
Among pack ice, or where the track had faded
Beyond the cavern of the seven sleepers:
Whose broad high brow was white as any leper’s,
Whose eyes were blue, with rowan-berry lips,
With hair curled honey-coloured to white hips.

The sap of Spring in the young wood a-stir
Will celebrate with green the Mother,
And every song-bird shout awhile for her;
But we are gifted, even in November
Rawest of seasons, with so huge a sense
Of her nakedly worn magnificence
We forget cruelty and past betrayal,
Heedless of where the next bright bolt may fall.”

Contemporary Argentinian Art – Daniela Rodriguez Vasseur

Below – “Natural Habitat I”; “The Wave”; “Women II”; “(Non Driver)s License”; “Rush Hour”; “Natural Habitat II.”

Japanese-themed Art for Today – Catalin Ilinca: “Memories of a geisha (L’une 104)”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 July 1886 – Jun’ichiro Tanizaki, a Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist, and author of “In Praise of Shadows” and “The Makioka Sisters” (a literal translation of the book’s title – “Sasameyuki” – would be “Light Snow”).

Some quotes from the work of Jun’ichiro Tanizaki:

“Whenever I see the alcove of a tastefully built Japanese room, I marvel at our comprehension of the secrets of shadows, our sensitive use of shadow and light. For the beauty of the alcove is not the work of some clever device. An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into its forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.”
“The older we get the more we seem to think that everything was better in the past.”
“With lacquerware there is an extra beauty in that moment between removing the lid and lifting the bowl to the mouth, when one gazes at the still, silent liquid in the dark depths of the bowl, its colour hardly differing from that of the bowl itself. What lies within the darkness one cannot distinguish, but the palm senses the gentle movements of the liquid, vapour rises from within, forming droplets on the rim, and the fragrance carried upon the vapour brings a delicate anticipation … a moment of mystery, it might almost be called, a moment of trance.”
“We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates.”
“The ancients waited for cherry blossoms, grieved when they were gone, and lamented their passing in countless poems. How very ordinary the poems had seemed to Sachiko when she read them as a girl, but now she knew, as well as one could know, that grieving over fallen cherry blossoms was more than a fad or convention.”

Japanese-themed Art for Today – Catalin Ilinca: “Cherry Blossom (L’une 92)”

Contemporary Portuguese Art – K Lewis

Below – “Window to Graca, Pink Interior”; “Evening Meditation”; “The Neighbor’s Garden”; “Interior with Daisies and Rocking Chair III”; “View with Japanese Pot”; “Nude with Braid and Decorative Fabrics.”

A Poem for Today

“Music I Heard”
by Conrad Aiken

Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread.
Now that I am without you, all is desolate,
All that was once so beautiful is dead.

Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved:
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.

For it was in my heart you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes.
And in my heart they will remember always:
They knew you once, O beautiful and wise!

Below- louise camrass: “Since You’ve Been Gone”

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Wandering in Woodacre- 23 July 2021

Contemporary Dutch Art – kaili smith

Below – “This Little Thing ofOurs”; “Royal Benching”; “I’ll Tell You My Biggest Fears Don’t You Ever Go Expose Them”: “Got Everything We Need”; “I Have Seen Big Men Crumble”; “See You & I We Were Titans.”

A Poem for Today

“Yard Sale”
by Matthew Brennan

The renters bring out their greasy table,
End of the month again: It sags,
Weighted and warped like them, unable
To hold much more than glasses and rags.

Old clothes and rusty tools compete
For space with magazines they stole
From garbage bins behind our street;
Each shoe reveals a run-down sole.

A few come by, inspect, and leave,
Almost always with empty hands.
But when, at sundown, all things cleave
To slanted light, and when it lands

So rubber, glass, and metal glint—
And for a moment make you squint—
You’ll see our neighbors bathed in gold
As if their worth cannot be sold.

Contemporary American Art – Bo Kravchenko

Below – “red bridge”; “Poetry”; “Colorful Mountains”; “Soft Shimmering”; “Clarity”; “Bon Voyage.”

A Poem for Today

“Saving Nails”
by Thomas R. Moore

I strip the porch roof, pick out the used
nails, and toss the shingles down onto

a drop cloth, remembering when I shingled
my grandmother’s roof fifty years ago:

the tar smell, the brackets, planks, and
ladders all the same, but level now

with hemlock limbs instead of locust.
I lug four shingles up the ladder, kneel

and drive the old nails home, slide
another shingle into place, pound,

toes bent, knees creaking. ‘Miserliness’,
a friend jokes about the nails, but I call it

‘caring’, thinking of the man who gave
us this land on the cove, the cottage, the boat-

house full of boats. The only time I saw
him he was at his work bench, a rich

man straightening nails, moving from
the ‘bent’ can to the anvil to the ‘straight’.

Contemporary American Art – Janet Pedersen

Below – “Sisters”; “Cherry Blossom”; “Park”; “Summer”; “Alone, Together”: “Zoom Muse.”

A Poem for Today

by Dorianne Laux

For days now a red-breasted bird
has been trying to break in.
She tests a low branch, violet blossoms
swaying beside her, leaps into the air and flies
straight at my window, beak and breast
held back, claws raking the pane.
Maybe she longs for the tree she sees
reflected in the glass, but I’m only guessing.
I watch until she gives up and swoops off.
I wait for her return, the familiar
click, swoosh, thump of her. I sip cold coffee
and scan the room, trying to see it new,
through the eyes of a bird. Nothing has changed.
Books piled in a corner, coats hooked
over chair backs, paper plates, a cup
half-filled with sour milk.
The children are in school. The man is at work.
I’m alone with dead roses in a jam jar.
What do I have that she could want enough
to risk such failure, again and again?

Below – Harvey Schipper: “Red Breasted Blackbird” (photograph)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 22 July 2021

Contemporary Serbian Art – Emma Pesti

Below – “Arctic sunset”; “Antarctica”; “Wounded landscape III”; “Blue mountain”; “Green night II”; “Glacier series IV.”

This Date in American History: Died 22 July 1869 – John A. Roebling, a German-American engineer who designed the Brooklyn Bridge.

from “The Bridge: To Brooklyn Bridge”
by Hart Crane

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty—

Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
As apparitional as sails that cross
Some page of figures to be filed away;
—Till elevators drop us from our day …

I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights
With multitudes bent toward some flashing scene
Never disclosed, but hastened to again,
Foretold to other eyes on the same screen;

And Thee, across the harbor, silver paced
As though the sun took step of thee yet left
Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,—
Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!

Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft
A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,
Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning,
A jest falls from the speechless caravan.

Down Wall, from girder into street noon leaks,
A rip-tooth of the sky’s acetylene;
All afternoon the cloud flown derricks turn …
Thy cables breathe the North Atlantic still.

And obscure as that heaven of the Jews,
Thy guerdon … Accolade thou dost bestow
Of anonymity time cannot raise:
Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show.

O harp and altar, of the fury fused,
(How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!)
Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge,
Prayer of pariah, and the lover’s cry,

Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift
Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,
Beading thy path—condense eternity:
And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.

Under thy shadow by the piers I waited
Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.
The City’s fiery parcels all undone,
Already snow submerges an iron year …

O Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the prairies’ dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.

Below – Tom Shropshire: “Brooklyn Bridge”

Contemporary American Art – Jan W Fail

Below (photographs) – “Ford Tractor”; “Mrs. Franklin Goes for a ride”; “Bumper cars”; “Lights Out!”; “General Store at Bodie”; “Golden Gate Tower in the clouds.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 22 July 1932 – Tom Robbins, an award-winning American novelist and author of “Another Roadside Attraction,” “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” and “Still Life with Woodpecker.”

Some quotes from the work of Tom Robbins:

“Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.”
“When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on–series polygamy–until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.”
“There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who believe there are two kinds of people in this world and those who are smart enough to know better.”
“Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, is what separates the truly alive from those who are merely going through the motions.”
“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”
“Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.”
“You should never hesitate to trade your cow for a handful of magic beans.”
“We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.”
“The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being.”
“A sense of humor…is superior to any religion so far devised.”
“When two people meet and fall in love, there’s a sudden rush of magic. Magic is just naturally present then. We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it’s usually too late, we’ve used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It’s hard work, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.”
“Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not.
Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning and an end.
Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm.
There is only one serious question. And that is: Who knows how to make love stay?
Answer me that and I will tell you whether or not to kill yourself.”
“Who knows how to make love stay?
1. Tell love you are going to Junior’s Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if loves stays, it can have half. It will stay.
2. Tell love you want a momento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a moustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay.
3. Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.”
“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”
“In the haunted house of life, art is the only stair that doesn’t creak.”

Contemporary American Art – Yolanda Santa Cruz

Below – “Ain’t always easy, but is always worth it”; “State”; “The weightofyour absence”; “Not here”; “Leaving the city”; “The call.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 22 July 1967 – Carl Sandburg, an American poet, historian, and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 21 July 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 21 July 1858 – Lovis Corinth, a German painter.

Below – “Blooming Cottage Garden”; “Portrait of Mrs. Kaumann”; “Woman by a Goldfish Tank”; “Woman in a Deck Chair by the Window”; “The Violinist”; “Self Portrait with his Wife and a Glass of Champagne.”

A Poem for Today

“How It Worked”
by Jeffrey Harrison

It was hard to sit there with my father,
watching one of my sister’s girls playing
a set of tennis against my son or daughter
because he’d forget himself and with a groan
of disappointment or a grunt
of sympathetic exertion make it clear
that he was rooting for my sister’s child
and against mine. There was no use
calling him on it, because he’d deny it
and get angry. So I would get angry
but try not to show it, until I couldn’t
stand it any longer and would get up
and walk away. That was how it worked
between us, the unspoken building up
like thunderheads above the tennis court,
where the kids played on, not caring who won
and hardly noticing the sky had darkened.

Contemporary Spanish Art – Carmen Moreno

Below – “German River”; “Leaving The Century Of Mediocrity”; “Night of Wolves”; “The Italian Renaissance Smiles at the 21st Century”: “You Are Here”; “Midsummer Night’s dream” (triptych).

A Poem for Today

“Fund Drive”
byTerri Kirby Erickson

She could be a Norman Rockwell painting,
the small girl on my front porch with her eager
face, her wind-burned cheeks red as cherries.
Her father waits by the curb, ready to rescue
his child should danger threaten, his shadow
reaching halfway across the yard. I take the
booklet from the girl’s outstretched hand,
peruse the color photos of candy bars and
caramel-coated popcorn, pretend to read it.
I have no use for what she’s selling, but I
can count the freckles on her nose, the scars
like fat worms on knobby knees that ought
to be covered on a cold day like this, when
the wind is blowing and the trees are losing
their grip on the last of their leaves. ‘I’ll take
two of these and one of those,’ I say, pointing,
thinking I won’t eat them, but I probably will.
It’s worth the coming calories to see her joy,
how hard she works to spell my name right,
taking down my ‘information.’ Then she turns
and gives a thumbs-up sign to her father, who
grins like an outfielder to whom the ball has
finally come—his heart like a glove, opening.

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Olha Laptieva

Below- “Sun drawing”; “Do you remember how we met the dawn”; “The charm of a winter day”; “magic of light”; “First snow”; “Way up.”

A Poem for Today

by Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Massive and black
the frigate birds,
on brambles in the distance.

Their bright red gular sacs,
full as spinnaker sails
billow from their feathers,

like giant hearts of skin and air.
They remind us of our own

hearts, oversized and awkward,
quivering in the lightest wind.

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