Sentient in San Francisco – 27 February 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 27 February 1863 – Joaquin Sorolla, a Spanish painter.

Below – “My Wife and Daughters in the Garden”; “Walk on the Beach”; “After Bathing”; “Beach at Zarauz”; “Setting Sun in Biarritz”; “Maria on the Beach at Biarritz.”

Musings in Winter: Gary Snyder

“Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind. Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.”

Contemporary American Art – Darren Engleman

Below – “How many answers are hidden inside?”; “The moment before I was born”; “I am not a cow”; “Last one standing”; “Yes.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 27 February 1807 – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, an American poet.
I know that on previous occasions I have posted the first six lines of Longfellow’s “Evangeline: A Tale of Arcadie,” but I think them beautiful enough to warrant another posting.

THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

Below – Sharyn Winters: “Forest Primeval”


Contemporary Canadian Art – Zoe Pawlak

Below – “Once More with Feeling”; “What the Ocean Knows”; “Things I’d Like to Show Your”; “Gold Vessel”; “Follow Me”; “The Weight of All This Gold II.”

A Poem for Today

“City Lights”
by Mary Avidano

My father, rather a quiet man,
told a story only the one time,
if even then—he had so little
need, it seemed, of being understood.
Intervals of years, his silences!
Late in his life he recalled for us
that when he was sixteen, his papa
entrusted to him a wagonload
of hogs, which he was to deliver
to the train depot, a half-day’s ride
from home, over a hilly dirt road.
Lightly he held the reins, light his heart,
the old horses, as ever, willing.
In town at noon he heard the station-
master say the train had been delayed,
would not arrive until that evening.
The boy could only wait. At home they’d
wait for him and worry and would place
the kerosene lamp in the window.
Thus the day had turned to dusk before
he turned about the empty wagon,
took his weary horses through the cloud
of fireflies that was the little town.
In all his years he’d never seen those
lights—he thought of this, he said, until
he and his milk-white horses came down
the last moonlit hill to home, drawn as
from a distance toward a single flame.

Contemporary American Art – Arun Prem

Below – “Woman in the Mountain”; “Aliens”; “Future of Memory”; “Jet Lag”; “Frida in Green”; “Dance of the Mermaid.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 27 February 1912 – Lawrence Durrell, an expatriate British novelist, poet, dramatist, travel writer, and author of the surpassingly beautiful “The Alexandria Quartet.”
I know that some fans of television series are binge watchers, but I am a binge reader. On a Friday morning in summer many years ago, I began reading “The Alexandria Quartet,” and I finished the fourth and final volume early Sunday afternoon. Since that time, part of me remains a citizen of the Alexandria that Durrell brought to life with consummate artistry, and in my imagination I sometimes find myself wandering the city’s labyrinthine, love-haunted streets.

Some quotes from the work of Lawrence Durrell:

“Like all young men I set out to be a genius, but mercifully laughter intervened.”
“I am quite alone. I am neither happy nor unhappy; I lie suspended like a hair or a feather in the cloudy mixtures of memory.”
“Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.”
“We are the children of our landscape; it dictates behavior and even thought in the measure to which we are responsive to it.”
“A city becomes a world when one loves one of its inhabitants.”
“These are the moments which are not calculable, and cannot be assessed in words; they live on in the solution of memory, like wonderful creatures, unique of their own kind, dredged up from the floors of some unexplored ocean.”
“We are all hunting for rational reasons for believing in the absurd.”
“It is the duty of every patriot to hate his country creatively.”
“It is not peace we seek but meaning.”
“Try and travel with the eyes of the spirit wide open, and not too much factual information. To tune in, without reverence, idly — but with real inward attention. It is to be had for the feeling, that mysterious sense of rapport, of identity with the ground. You can extract the essence of a place once you know how. If you just get as still as a needle you’ll be there.”
“Does not everything depend on our interpretation of the silence around us?”
“The appalling thing is the degree of charity women are capable of. You see it all the time… love lavished on absolute fools. Love’s a charity ward, you know.”
“I don’t believe one reads to escape reality. A person reads to confirm a reality he knows is there, but which he has not experienced.”
“The whole Mediterranean, the sculpture, the palm, the gold beads, the bearded heroes, the wine, the ideas, the ships, the moonlight, the winged gorgons, the bronze men, the philosophers – all of it seems to rise in the sour, pungent taste of these black olives between the teeth. A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.”
“Everything really desirable has come about because of, or in spite of, wine!”

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