Contemporary British Art – Anna McNeil: Part I of II.
Below – “Whisper”; “After Noon”; “Woods”; Untitled; “Ponytail”; “Deep Waters.”
This Date in Intellectual/Cultural History: Died 14 April 1964 – Rachel Carson, an influential marine biologist, conservationist, author of “Silent Spring” and “The Sea Around Us,” and recipient of the National Book Award.
Some quotes from the work of Rachel Carson:
“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.”
“In nature nothing exists alone.”
“But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”
“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.”
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.”
“The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are. If there is wonder and beauty and majesty in them, science will discover these qualities… If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.”
“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”
“For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it’s a pity we use it so little.”
“Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is… we cannot expect things to be much better in this world… We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in killing we set back the progress of humanity.”
“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew i would never see it again?’”
Contemporary British Art – Anna McNeil: Part II of II.
Below – “girl with cat”; “Luna”; “Into the Blue”; “springtime”; On the River”: Untitled.
A Poem for Today
“This Year I Mean To Be An Elephant”
by Wendy Xu
I don’t know if you understand me when
I say hopefully there is a future and we
are both allowed in it. I mean last year it
was OK just to be flattened by our ideas.
I sat in so many rooms and eventually felt
interesting and not like a chair. Do you
feel like a straight line? I worry about how
I don’t. I worry that when I turn on
the radio this morning it sounds just like
I expect. I am thinking about kicking what
I expect in the shin. Last year I forgot
whole people until having lunch again
with those people. Last year I forgot really
embarrassing secrets like how I am allergic
to regular soap. Cue all different kinds
of light and what music makes you feel
not dead. Last night I dreamt about sand.
Below – Kristin Hart: “Remembering” (photograph)
Contemporary American Art – Therese Mulgrew
Below – “Beatrice”; “Coco”; “Teah II”; “Self Portrait”; “Leah and Sean”; “Robin.”
“Calmly We Walk through This April’s Day”
by Delmore Schwartz
Calmly we walk through this April’s day,
Metropolitan poetry here and there,
In the park sit pauper and ‘rentier’,
The screaming children, the motor-car
Fugitive about us, running away,
Between the worker and the millionaire
Number provides all distances,
It is Nineteen Thirty-Seven now,
Many great dears are taken away,
What will become of you and me
(This is the school in which we learn …)
Besides the photo and the memory?
(… that time is the fire in which we burn.)
(This is the school in which we learn …)
What is the self amid this blaze?
What am I now that I was then
Which I shall suffer and act again,
The theodicy I wrote in my high school days
Restored all life from infancy,
The children shouting are bright as they run
(This is the school in which they learn …)
Ravished entirely in their passing play!
(… that time is the fire in which they burn.)
Avid its rush, that reeling blaze!
Where is my father and Eleanor?
Not where are they now, dead seven years,
But what they were then?
No more? No more?
From Nineteen-Fourteen to the present day,
Bert Spira and Rhoda consume, consume
Not where they are now (where are they now?)
But what they were then, both beautiful;
Each minute bursts in the burning room,
The great globe reels in the solar fire,
Spinning the trivial and unique away.
(How all things flash! How all things flare!)
What am I now that I was then?
May memory restore again and again
The smallest color of the smallest day:
Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.
Below – Jonathan Stone: “time is the fire”