26 May 2017 – From the Edge of the Continent: Part I

Musings in Spring: Robert Frost

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.”

Below – Ken Fiery: “Mending Wall”

Art for Spring – Part I of V: Clyde Butcher (American, contemporary)

Below – “Flying Dutchman” (panorama photograph print)

Musings in Spring: Jack London

“San Francisco is gone. Nothing remains of it but memories. ”

Below – Jack London: “San Francisco City Hall 1906”

Art for Spring – Part II of V: Alexei Butirskiy (Russian, contemporary)

Below – “A Peaceful Sunset”

A Poem for Today
By David Allan

“Sixty Years Later I Notice, Inside A Flock Of Blackbirds,”

the Venetian blinds
I dusted off

for my mother on
Saturday mornings,

closing, opening them
with the pull cord a few

times just to watch the outside
universe keep blinking,

as the flock suddenly
rises from November stubble,

hovers a few seconds,
closing, opening,

blinking, before it tilts,
then vanishes over a hill.

Below – memadtwo: “Thirteen Blackbirds”

Art for Spring – Part III of V: Bob Byerley (American, contemporary)

Below – “Echoes of the Sea”

Musings in Spring: Peter Hessler

“The American appetite for loneliness impressed me, and there was something about this solitude that freed conversation. One night at a bar, I met a man, and within five minutes he explained that he had just been released from prison. Another drinker told me that his wife had passed away, and he had recently suffered a heart attack, and now he hoped that he would die within the year. I learned that there’s no reliable small talk in America; at any moment a conversation can become personal.”

Below – Leroy Neiman: “Harry’s Bar”

Art for Spring – Part IV of V: Ghitta Caiserman-Roth (Canadian, 1923-2005)

Below – “Marioneitistes – Domespe”

A Second Poem for Today

“Bones and Shadows”
By John Philip Johnson

She kept its bones in a glass case
next to the recliner in the living room,
and sometimes thought she heard
him mewing, like a faint background music;
but if she stopped to listen, it disappeared.
Likewise with a nuzzling around her calves,
she’d reach absent-mindedly to scratch him,
but her fingers found nothing but air.

One day, in the corner of her eye,
slinking by the sofa, there was a shadow.
She glanced over, expecting it to vanish.
But this time it remained.
She looked at it full on. She watched it move.
Low and angular, not quite as catlike
as one might suppose, but still, it was him.

She walked to the door, just like in the old days,
and opened it, and met a whoosh of winter air.
She waited. The bones in the glass case rattled.
Then the cat-shadow darted at her,
through her legs, and slipped outside.
It mingled with the shadows of bare branches,
and leapt at the shadow of a bird.
She looked at the tree, but there was no bird.
Then he blended into the shadow of a bush.
She stood in the threshold, her hands on the door,
the sharp breeze ruffling the faded flowers
of her house dress, and she could feel
her own bones rattling in her body,
her own shadow trying to slip out.

Below – Carolyn M. Fletcher:”Shadow of the Cat”

Art for Spring – Part V of V: Will Caldwell (American, contemporary)

Below – “Coca Cola”

Musings in Spring: Frederic Gros

“The Native Americans, whose wisdom Thoreau admired, regarded the Earth itself as a sacred source of energy. To stretch out on it brought repose, to sit on the ground ensured greater wisdom in councils, to walk in contact with its gravity gave strength and endurance. The Earth was an inexhaustible well of strength: because it was the original Mother, the feeder, but also because it enclosed in its bosom all the dead ancestors. It was the element in which transmission took place. Thus, instead of stretching their hands skyward to implore the mercy of celestial divinities, American Indians preferred to walk barefoot on the Earth: The Lakota was a true Naturist – a lover of Nature. He loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth. Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth. The birds that flew in the air came to rest on the earth and it was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing. That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life-giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly; he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him. Walking, by virtue of having the earth’s support, feeling its gravity, resting on it with every step, is very like a continuous breathing in of energy. But the earth’s force is not transmitted only in the manner of a radiation climbing through the legs. It is also through the coincidence of circulations: walking is movement, the heart beats more strongly, with a more ample beat, the blood circulates faster and more powerfully than when the body is at rest. And the earth’s rhythms draw that along, they echo and respond to each other. A last source of energy, after the heart and the Earth, is landscapes. They summon the walker and make him at home: the hills, the colours, the trees all confirm it. The charm of a twisting path among hills, the beauty of vine fields in autumn, like purple and gold scarves, the silvery glitter of olive leaves against a defining summer sky, the immensity of perfectly sliced glaciers … all these things support, transport and nourish us.”

Below – Courtesy of Utah Historical Society: “Navajo family in Monument Valley” (1960’s)

Contemporary American Art – J. Anne Butler

Artist Statement: “Born and raised in a farming community in the English Lake District, I now reside in Scottsdale, Arizona, a major centre of the Arabian horse world. Beginning my sculpting career later in life than most artists, my passion in life is to create the finest bronze sculptures around the world. I worked for Border Fine Arts, an international figurine company as a painter, then returned to Art College to pursue a career in textile design. Due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to further my chosen path, but I was given the opportunity to work in the origination studio of the figurine company I initially started sculpting. I textured clays that had been produced by Master Sculptors. I then moved on to undertake my own work for the company, which are highlighted on my resume. Although in recent times I have concentrated on Arabian horse artistic pieces, I have been successful in creating art in various subject matters.”

Below – “Mermaid” (bronze); “Earth” (bronze); “Epona – Celtic Goddess of Horses” (bronze); “Atlantis” (bronze); “Seasons” (bronze); “Air” (bronze); “Phoenix” (bronze).

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