Sentient in San Francisco – 1 December 2018

Greeting December

Below – Edvard Munch: “New Snow in the Avenue”

Art for December – Pierre-Auguste Renoir: “Skaters in the Bois de Boulogne”


A Poem for December

“Snow”
by Louise MacNeice

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes –
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands –
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.


Art for December – Claude Monet: “Boulevard Saint Denis, Argenteuil, in Winter”


A Poem for December

“River Snow”
by Liu Zhongyuan

A thousand hills, but no birds in flight,
Ten thousand paths, with no person’s tracks.
A lonely boat, a straw-hatted old man,
Fishing alone in the cold river snow.


Art for December – Paul Gauguin: “Winter Landscape”

A Poem for December

“First Sight”
by Philip Larkin

Lambs that learn to walk in snow
When their bleating clouds the air
Meet a vast unwelcome, know
Nothing but a sunless glare.
Newly stumbling to and fro
All they find, outside the fold,
Is a wretched width of cold.

As they wait beside the ewe,
Her fleeces wetly caked, there lies
Hidden round them, waiting too,
Earth’s immeasurable surprise.
They could not grasp it if they knew,
What so soon will wake and grow
Utterly unlike the snow.

Art for December – Vincent van Gogh: “Landscape with Snow”


A Poem for December

“Night Snow”
by Bai Juyi

I was surprised my quilt and pillow were cold,
I see that now the window’s bright again.
Deep in the night, I know the snow is thick,
I sometimes hear the sound as bamboo snaps.

Art for December – Wassiily Kandinsky: “Winter Landscape”


A Poem for December

“December Moon”
by May Sarton

Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.

Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
where the wild creatures ranged
while the moon rose and shone.

Why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?

How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we’ll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.


Art for December – Peter Doig: “Reflection (What does your soul look like?)”


Welcome, Wonderful December

Below – Katsushika Hokusai: “Cranes on Branch of Snow-covered Pine”

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