Sentient in Seattle – 24 December 2018

Contemporary Russian Art – Natalia Baykalova: Part I of II.

Below – “Golden Flowers”; “In the Night Air”; “The Kiss”; “Hakama No. 4”; “Manhattan morning light”; “Flowers No. 3.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 24 December 1961 – Robert Hillyer, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

by Robert Hillyer

The long canoe
Toward the shadowy shore,
One . . . two . . .
Three . . . four . . .
The paddle dips,
Turns in the wake,
Pauses, then
Forward again,
Water drips
From the blade to the lake.
Nothing but that,
No sound of wings;
The owl and bat
Are velvet things.
No wind awakes,
No fishes leap,
No rabbits creep
Among the brakes.

The long canoe
At the shadowy shore,
One . . . two . . .
Three . . . four . . .
A murmur now
Under the prow
Where rushes bow
To let us through.
One . . . two . . .
Upon the shore,
Three . . . four . . .
Upon the lake,
No one’s awake,
No one’s awake,
One . . .
Two . . .
No one,
Not even

Below – Amy Whitehouse: “Man in Canoe”

Contemporary Russian Art – Natalia Baykalova: Part II of II.

Below – “The light”; “Smiling at blue room”; “The Sixth Sense”; “Waiting for your call”; “Sunday morning in Paris”; “Red flowers.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 24 December 1822 – Matthew Arnold, an English poet and critic.

“Dover Beach”
by Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Contemporary French Art – Philippe Vignal

Below – “What?”; “Rhinocerox”; “Beautiful Girl”; “The Siren”; “Chocolate”; “Black Pearls.”

Remembering a Writer on the Date of His Birth: Born 24 December 1950 – Dana Gioia, an award-winning American poet and critic.

“Becoming a Redwood”
By Dana Gioia

Stand in a field long enough, and the sounds
start up again. The crickets, the invisible
toad who claims that change is possible,

And all the other life too small to name.
First one, then another, until innumerable
they merge into the single voice of a summer hill.

Yes, it’s hard to stand still, hour after hour,
fixed as a fencepost, hearing the steers
snort in the dark pasture, smelling the manure.

And paralyzed by the mystery of how a stone
can bear to be a stone, the pain
the grass endures breaking through the earth’s crust.

Unimaginable the redwoods on the far hill,
rooted for centuries, the living wood grown tall
and thickened with a hundred thousand days of light.

The old windmill creaks in perfect time
to the wind shaking the miles of pasture grass,
and the last farmhouse light goes off.

Something moves nearby. Coyotes hunt
these hills and packs of feral dogs.
But standing here at night accepts all that.

You are your own pale shadow in the quarter moon,
moving more slowly than the crippled stars,
part of the moonlight as the moonlight falls,

Part of the grass that answers the wind,
part of the midnight’s watchfulness that knows
there is no silence but when danger comes.

Contemporary South Korean Art – Taeil Kim: Part I of II.

Below – “The stream of consciousness”; “Reality and Ideality No. 0526”; “Red sweater”; “Spring breeze”; “Reality and Ideality No. 0306”; “Space No 1026.”

Remembering an Influential Writer on the Date of His Death: Died 24 December 1914 – John Muir, a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, mountaineer, geologist, conservationist, co-founder of the Sierra Club, and “Father of the National Parks.”

Some quotes from the work of John Muir:

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”
“The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us. Thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. The trees wave and the flowers bloom in our bodies as well as our souls, and every bird song, wind song, and tremendous storm song of the rocks in the heart of the mountains is our song, our very own, and sings our love.”
“Hiking – I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter?’ It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre,’ ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.”
“To sit in solitude, to think in solitude with only the music of the stream and the cedar to break the flow of silence, there lies the value of wilderness.”
“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.”
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”
“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”
“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

Contemporary South Korean Art – Taeil Kim: Part II of II.

Below – “Structure II”; “Reality and Ideality No. 0111”; “Serendipity No. 0827”; “Deep blue No. 0320”; “Space No. 1104”; “Constraint Layout No. 0309.”

This Date in Art History: Born 24 December 1885 – Paul Manship, an American sculptor.

Below – “Prometheus”; “Duck Girl”; “Dancer and Gazelles”; “The Flight of Europa”; “Group of Bears”; “Aero Memorial.”

A Poem for Today

“The Oxen”
by Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel,

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

Below – Paul Gauguin: “Christmas Night (the Blessing of the Oxen)”

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