Musings in Spring: Walt Whitman
“Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”
Art for Spring – Part I of VI: Karel Appel (Dutch, 1921-2006)
Below – “Circus Suite No. 28”
A Poem for Today
By Sharon Chmielarz
A roadside inn. Lakeside dive. Spiffed up.
End of a summer day. And I suppose
I should be smiling beneficently
at the families playing near the shore,
their plastic balls and splashes and chatter.
But my eye pivots left to a couple;
he is carrying her into the water.
He’s strong enough, and she is light
enough to be carried. I see
how she holds her own, hugging
his neck, his chest steady as his arms.
I have never seen such a careful dunk,
half-dunk, as he gives her. That beautiful
play he makes lifting her from the water.
And I suppose I should be admiring
the sunset, all purple and orange and rose now.
Nice porch here, too. Yeah, great view.
But I have never seen such a loving
carrying as he gives her. Imagine
Art for Spring – Part II of VI: Shusaku Arakawa (Japanese, 1936-2010)
Below – “Look at It”
Musings in Spring: Michelle Held
“Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.”
Below – Debbie Miller: “Free Bird”
Art for Spring – Part III of VI: Dave Archer (American, contemporary)
Below – “Comet Showers”
Musings in Spring: William Butler Yeats
Time drops in decay
Like a candle burnt out.
And the mountains and woods
Have their day, have their day;
But, kindly old rout
Of the fire-born moods,
You pass not away.
Below – M. Weiss: “time drops in decay”
Art for Spring – Part IV of VI: Arman Arman (French, 1928-2005)
Below – “Renaissance Fiddle”
A Second Poem for Today
By Stephen Behrendt
Pruning back the old spirea bushes
that sprawled for years in summer’s heat,
I bared the snake skin, a yard and a half long:
its naked empty length rippled in the streaming wind
lifting its ghostly coils from the dead shoots
that scraped the slough from the slithering body
that shed it in that narrow, shaded space.
I paused—who wouldn’t?—shears poised,
slipped off gray canvas gloves, extracted
the sere, striated casing from the brown stalks
that had held it, silent, hidden.
I coiled the paper-thin curling sheath with care,
delicately, eased it into a simple squatty box
for keeping, for care, for my daughters
to take to school, to show, to explain
how some sinuous body we’ve never glimpsed,
that haunts about our shrubs, our porch,
left for us this translucent, scale-scored wrapper,
this silent hint of all that moves unseen.
Art for Spring – Part V of VI: Giuseppe Armani (Italian, contemporary)
Below – “White Wings” (porcelain sculpture)
Musings in Spring: Cree Indian Prophecy
Only when the last tree has been cut down,
Only when the last river has been poisoned,
Only when the last fish has been caught,
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”
Art for Spring – Part VI of VI: David Armstrong (American, contemporary)
Below – “Ruffled Waters”
A Third Poem for Today
“The Girl on the Bullard Overpass”
By Peter Everwine
The girl on the Bullard overpass
looks happy to be there, getting soaked
in a light rain but waving her hands
to the four o’clock freeway traffic
in which I’m anything but happy.
You might think she’s too dumb
to come in out of the rain, but rain
or shine, it doesn’t seem to matter.
She’s there most every afternoon,
as if she does this for a living.
Some living, I’d say. Doesn’t she ever
get bored, or wish someone would stop
and say, “Where to?” and her life would change?
That’s how I’d be, hating the noise,
the stink of exhaust, the press of people.
I can’t imagine what her life is;
mine is confused and often fretful.
But there’s something brave about standing alone
in the rain, waving wild semaphores
of gladness to impatient passersby
too tired or preoccupied to care.
Seeing her at her familiar station
I suddenly grin like a fool, wave back,
and forgive the driver to my right,
who is sullen and staring as I pass.
I find her in my rear-view mirror,
then head for a needed drink and supper.
I don’t know where she goes, but I hope
it’s to a place she loves. I hope the rain
lets up. I hope she’s there tomorrow.
Contemporary Russian Art – Anton Arkhipov
In the words of one writer, “Arkhipov was born into a family blessed by generations of artists. His Father, a great influence on young Anton, was a well known dissident artist. Anton grew up around the world of art and knew at an early age that it was his calling. Showing early talent and drive, Anton graduated with honors from the prestigious Surikov College of Fine Art in Moscow. Through many years of intense schooling and rigorous training in all aspects of art, Arkhipov comes to us thoroughly free to speak with a high level language of creativity seldom seen. Arkhipov’s paintings are about all of us. Anton’s art celebrates the good life; such as fine food, good wines, and the “rolling hills” of nature. He speaks to us of living life artfully. Playfulness is encouraged. He honors our being engaged in lovely pursuits like traveling, skiing, picnicking, watching the beauty of the sky.”
Musings in Spring: Pam Shaw
“After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.”
Contemporary American Art – Lily Liu Zhang
In the words of one writer, “Lily Liu was born in China. She worked at the China Archaeology Institute for ten years and studied drawing at Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing. When she and her husband moved to the United States, she studied watercolor at the New Orleans Fine Art Academy. Once in Dallas, Lily worked for a local jewelry company before devoting herself full time to painting. She has studied oil painting with her husband, Xiang Zhang and is currently moving away from the classical style towards Post Impressionism. Her passion is to apply the intense color contrast and bold brush stroke to convey the colorful subjects as she interprets them. Her personal artistic philosophy is that art must be stronger than what we see in life.”