Sentient in San Francisco – 3 May 2019

The Third of May in Art History

Below – “The Third of May 1808,” painted by Spanish artist Francisco Goya. In the words of one writer, the painting commemorates “Spanish resistance to Napoleon’s armies during the occupation of 1808 in the Peninsular War.”


Contemporary French Art – Frederic Belaubre

Below – “Cat and kittens”; “The golden cat.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 3 May 1912 – May Sarton, an American ;poet, novelist, and memoirist: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of May Sarton:

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”
“I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep…. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.”
“The trouble is, old age is not interesting until one gets there. It’s a foreign country with an unknown language to the young and even to the middle-aged.”
“I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. It is the tree’s way of being. Strongly rooted perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind.”
“One thing is certain, and I have always known it – the joys of my life have nothing to do with age. They do not change. Flowers, the morning and evening light, music, poetry, silence, the goldfinches darting about.”
“It is only when we can believe that we are creating the soul that life has any meaning, but when we can believe it – and I do and always have – then there is nothing we do that is without meaning and nothing that we suffer that does not hold the seed of creation in it.”
“The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of room, not try to be or do anything whatever.”
“What frightens me about America today is that in the large majority there is no active sense of the value of the individual: few citizens feel that they are the Republic, responsible for what happens. And when the individual in a democracy ceases to feel his importance, then there is grave danger that he will give over his freedom, if not to a Fascist State, then to the advertising men or Publicity Agents or to the newspaper he happens to read.”
“In the middle of the night, things well up from the past that are not always cause for rejoicing–the unsolved, the painful encounters, the mistakes, the reasons for shame or woe. But all, good or bad, give me food for thought, food to grow on.”
“Now I become myself. It’s taken time, many years and places.”
“Read between the lines. Then meet me in the silence if you can.”

Contemporary German Art – David Rothenfels

Below – “Friendship 7”; “Negotiations.”


A Poem for Today

“Marriage”
by Dan Gerber

When you are angry it’s your gentle self
I love until that’s who you are.
In any case, I can’t love this anger any more
than I can warm my heart with ice.
I go on loving your smile
till it finds its way back to your face.


Contemporary Italian Art – Davide Querin: Part I of II.

Below – “Sliding doors”; “ID84”; “Descent”; “IB84”; “Conjoined rings”; “Without words.”


This Date in Music History: Born 3 May 1919 – Peter Seeger, an American singer-songwriter and social activist.

Contemporary Italian Art – Davide Querin: Part II of II.

Below – “Still life by candlelight”; “Parallel dimensions”; “IQ84”; “IK84”; “Each in their own way”; “What has been has been.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 3 May 1912 – May Sarton, an American ;poet, novelist, and memoirist: Part II of II.

“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.

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