Sentient in San Francisco – 21 May 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 21 May 1844 – Henri Rousseau, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “The Dream”; “A Carnival Evening”; “The Sleeping Gypsy”; “The Flamingoes”; “Bouquet of Flowers”; “Self Portrait.”

Musings in Spring: Jeanne Moreau

“To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.”

This Date in Art History: Born 21 May 1844 – Henri Rousseau, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – “The Snake Charmer”; “The Muse Inspiring the Poet”; “Apes in the Orange Grove”; “Seine and Eiffel Tower in the Sunset”; Jungle with Lion”; “Self-Portrait with a Lamp.”

A Poem for Today

“Bless Their Hearts”
by Richard Newman

At Steak ‘n Shake I learned that if you add
“Bless their hearts” after their names, you can say
whatever you want about them and it’s OK.
‘My son, bless his heart, is an idiot,’ 
she said. ‘He rents storage space for his kids’ 
toys—they’re only one and three years old!’ 
I said, ‘my father, bless his heart, has turned 
into a sentimental old fool. He gets man for
weepy when he hears my daughter’s greeting 
on our voice mail.’ Before our Steakburgers came
someone else blessed her office mate’s heart,
then, as an afterthought, the jealous hearts
of the entire anthropology department.
We bestowed blessings on many a heart
that day. I even blessed my ex-wife’s heart.
Our waiter, bless his heart, would not be getting
much tip, for which, no doubt, he’d bless our hearts.
In a week it would be Thanksgiving,
and we would each sit with our respective
families, counting our blessings and blessing
the hearts of family members as only family
does best. Oh, bless us all, yes, bless us, please
bless us and bless our crummy little hearts.

Below – Eugene de Blaas: “The Friendly Gossips”

Musings in Spring: Aristotle

“Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.”

Contemporary British Art – Thomas Donaldson

Below – “3-22-19“5-8-19 head study”; “1-10-16 figure study”; “2-19-19 anticipation.”

A Poem for Today

“Believe This”
by Richard Levine

All morning, doing the hard, root-wrestling
work of turning a yard from the wild
to a gardener’s will, I heard a bird singing
from a hidden, though not distant, perch;
a song of swift, syncopated syllables sounding
like, ‘Can you believe this, believe this, believe? 
Can you believe this, believe this, believe?’ 
And all morning, I did believe. All morning,
between break-even bouts with the unwanted,
I wanted to see that bird, and looked up so
I might later recognize it in a guide, and know
and call its name, but even more, I wanted
to join its church. For all morning, and many
a time in my life, I have wondered who, beyond
this plot I work, has called the order of being,
that givers of food are deemed lesser
than are the receivers. All morning,
muscling my will against that of the wild,
to claim a place in the bounty of earth,
seed, root, sun and rain, I offered my labor
as a kind of grace, and gave thanks even
for the aching in my body, which reached
beyond this work and this gift of struggle.

Below – Vincent van Gogh: “Portrait of a Gardener”

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