Musings in Winter: Mary Oliver
“Do you think the wren ever dreams of a better house?”
Art for Winter – Part I of IV: Gabriel Picart (Spanish, contemporary)
Below – “Shawls of Spain – Azul”; “Shawl of Spain – Purpora”; “Woman Reading”
Remembering an Important and Influential Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 27 January 2010 – Howard Zinn, an American historian, political scientist, playwright, social activist, and author of “A People’s History of the United States” – a book that every American should read.
Some quotes from the work of Howard Zinn:
“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
“History is important. If you don’t know history it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.”
“I’m worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel – let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they’re doing. I’m concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that’s handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.”
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
“Historically, the most terrible things – war, genocide, and slavery – have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.”
“But I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is… to tell the truth.”
“I wonder how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of all children everywhere as our own.”
“The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.”
Art for Winter – Part II of IV: Pietro Piccoli (Italian, contemporary)
Below – “Interno”; “La Magdalena”; “Colpi di Luce”
Below – “Le Cheval de Cirque”; Untitled Seascape; “Conversation”
Remembering an Influential Activist on the Date of His Death: Died 27 January 2014 – Pete Seeger, an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and social activist.
Art for Winter – Part IV of IV: Jack Pierson (American, contemporary)
Below – “Casa Malaga” (photographic print); “Blue Lagoon” (chromgenic print); “More Than This” (oil stick on paper)
“Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to do.”
This Date in Art History: Born 27 January 1805 – Samuel Palmer, a British landscape painter, etcher, and printmaker.
Below – “A Cornfield by Moonlight with the Evening Star”; “Garden in Shoreham”; “A Dream of the Apennine”; “The Herdsman’s Cottage”; “Harvesters by Firelight”; “The Sleeping Shepherd, Early Morning.”
Worth a Thousand Words: Hintersee Lake in the German Alps. (This photograph by Daniel Fleischhacker is a National Award Winner.)
This Date in Art History: Born 27 January 1885 – Seison Maeda, a Japanese painter.
Below – “White Plum”; “Yoritomo in a Cave”; “Off Manazuru”; “Mountains”; “Fish”; “Moon in Autumn.”
A Poem for Today
“Beloved, Let Us Once More Praise The Rain”
by Conrad Aiken
Beloved, let us once more praise the rain.
Let us discover some new alphabet,
For this, the often praised; and be ourselves,
The rain, the chickweed, and the burdock leaf,
The green-white privet flower, the spotted stone,
And all that welcomes the rain; the sparrow too, –
Who watches with a hard eye from seclusion,
Beneath the elm-tree bough, till rain is done.
There is an oriole who, upside down,
Hangs at his nest, and flicks an orange wing, –
Under a tree as dead and still as lead;
There is a single leaf, in all this heaven
Of leaves, which rain has loosened from its twig:
The stem breaks, and it falls, but it is caught
Upon a sister leaf, and thus she hangs;
There is an acorn cup, beside a mushroom
Which catches three drops from the stooping cloud.
The timid bee goes back to the hive; the fly
Under the broad leaf of the hollyhock
Perpends stupid with cold; the raindark snail
Surveys the wet world from a watery stone…
And still the syllables of water whisper:
The wheel of cloud whirs slowly: while we wait
In the dark room; and in your heart I find
One silver raindrop, on a hawthorn leaf, –
Orion in a cobweb, and the World.
This Date in Art History: Born 27 January 1965 – Abraham Walkowitz, an American painter.
Below – “New York”; “Nude with Pink Towel”; “Isadora Duncan”; “Figures in Doorway”; “Head”; “The Bathers.”