Sentient in San Francisco – 1 August 2019

Greeting August

Below – John Singer Sargent: “Group with Parasols”


Art for August – Emile Claus: “Mother and Daughter in a Sunlit Garden”

Musings in August: Barry Cornwall

“Oh, the summer night,
Has a smile of light,
And she sits on a sapphire throne.”

Art for August – Winslow Homer: “Children on the Beach”


A Poem for August

“Fireflies in the Garden”
by Robert Frost

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.


Art for August – George A. Weymouth: “August, 1974”

Musings in August: Iannis Xenakis

“The collision of hail or rain with hard surfaces, or the song of cicadas in a summer field. These sonic events are made out of thousands of isolated sounds; this multitude of sounds, seen as totality, is a new sonic event.”

Art for August – Utagawa Hiroshige: “16th Station, from Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido”

A Poem for August

“Summer at North Farm”
by Stephen Kuusisto

Finnish rural life, ca. 1910

Fires, always fires after midnight,
the sun depending in the purple birches

and gleaming like a copper kettle.
By the solstice they’d burned everything,

the bad-luck sleigh, a twisted rocker,
things “possessed” and not-quite-right.

The bonfire coils and lurches,
big as a house, and then it settles.

The dancers come, dressed like rainbows
(if rainbows could be spun),

and linking hands they turn
to the melancholy fiddles.

A red bird spreads its wings now
and in the darker days to come.

Art for August – Edward Hopper: “The Mansard Roof”

Musings in August: Sylvia Plath

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”

Below – Filippo Funari:”August Rain”

Art for August – Claude Monet: “Camille on the Beach at Trouville”

Musings in August: Elizabeth Mama Taylor

“August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
Expected,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a matchflame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
A moment,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away.”

Below – Frederick Edwin Church: “Twilight in the Wilderness”

Art for August – Tracie Thompson: “August Flowers”


This Date in Art History: Died 1 August 1939 – Edmund C Tarbell, an American painter.

Below – “In the Orchard.”

Art for August – Pablo Picasso: “Two Women Running on the Beach”

Musings in August: Henry David Thoreau

“In August, the large masses of berries, which, when in flower, had attracted many wild bees, gradually assumed their bright velvety crimson hue, and by their weight again bent down and broke their tender limbs.”

Art for August – Valentine Cameron Prinsep: “The Gamekeeper’s Daughter”

Musings in August: Crestless Wave

“August is a gentle reminder for not doing a single thing from your new year resolution for seven months and not doing it for next five.”

Art for August – Stephen Morath: “August Evening”


Musings in August: R. Combe Miller

“Fairest of the months!
Ripe summer’s queen
The hey-day of the year
With robes that gleam with sunny sheen
Sweet August doth appear.”

Art for August – Ruth Bodycott: “Sunflowers in a Field”


Musings in August: Sarah Helen Power Whitman

“When summer gathers up her robes of glory, and like a dream of beauty glides away.”


Art for August – Duane Dorshimer: “August Tobacco With Barn”

This Date in Art History: Born 1 August 1910 – James Henry Govier, a British painter and etcher.

Below – “Kite Girl”

Art for August – Henry Scott Tuke: “August Blue”

Musings in August: Victor Nekrasov

“August was nearly over – the month of apples and falling stars, the last care-free month for the school children. The days were not hot, but sunny and limpidly clear – the first sign of advancing autumn.”

Gustav Klimt: “Apple Tree II”


Art for August – Graham Gerkin: “Beach Sand Shadows”

A Poem for August

“California Hills in August”
by Dana Goia

I can imagine someone who found
these fields unbearable, who climbed
the hillside in the heat, cursing the dust,
cracking the brittle weeds underfoot,
wishing a few more trees for shade.

An Easterner especially, who would scorn
the meagerness of summer, the dry
twisted shapes of black elm,
scrub oak, and chaparral, a landscape
August has already drained of green.

One who would hurry over the clinging
thistle, foxtail, golden poppy,
knowing everything was just a weed,
unable to conceive that these trees
and sparse brown bushes were alive.

And hate the bright stillness of the noon
without wind, without motion,
the only other living thing
a hawk, hungry for prey, suspended
in the blinding, sunlit blue.

And yet how gentle it seems to someone
raised in a landscape short of rain –
the skyline of a hill broken by no more
trees than one can count, the grass,
the empty sky, the wish for water.
And hate the bright stillness of the noon
without wind, without motion.
the only other living thing
a hawk, hungry for prey, suspended
in the blinding, sunlit blue.

And yet how gentle it seems to someone
raised in a landscape short of rain—
the skyline of a hill broken by no more
trees than one can count, the grass,
the empty sky, the wish for water.

Below – Terry Sauvre: “California Hills in Summer, Marin Country”


Art for August – Emile Claus: “End of August”


Musings in August: Howard Nemerov

“When in still air and still in summertime
A leaf has had enough of this, it seems
To make up its mind to go; fine as a sage
Its drifting in detachment down the road.”


Art for August – Gretzsky: “August Sun”

This Date in Literary History: Born 1 August 1819 – Herman Melville, an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and author of “Moby Dick.”

Some quotes from “Moby Dick”:

“Call me Ishmael.”
“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”
“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own.”
“Ignorance is the parent of fear.”
“Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks. Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.
Consider all this; and then turn to the green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!”
“As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.”
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
“There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.”
“Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.”


Art for August – John William Waterhouse: “Sleeping Beauty”

A Poem for August

“Miracles”
by Walt Whitman

Why! who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love—or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with my mother,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds—or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down—or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;
Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best—mechanics, boatmen, farmers,
Or among the savans—or to the soiree—or to the opera,
Or stand a long while looking at the movements of machinery,
Or behold children at their sports,
Or the admirable sight of the perfect old man, or the perfect old woman,
Or the sick in hospitals, or the dead carried to burial,
Or my own eyes and figure in the glass;
These, with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring—yet each distinct, and in its place.

To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same;

Every spear of grass—the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.

To me the sea is a continual miracle;
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships, with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

Art for August – Evelyn de Morgan: “Cassandra”

A Poem for August

“Moths”
by Jennifer O’Grady

Adrift in the liberating, late light
of August, delicate, frivolous,
they make their way to my front porch
and flutter near the glassed-in bulb,
translucent as a thought suddenly
wondered aloud, illumining the air
that’s thick with honeysuckle and dusk.
You and I are doing our best
at conversation, keeping it light, steering clear
of what we’d like to say.
You leave, and the night becomes
cluttered with moths, some tattered,
their dumbly curious filaments
startling against my cheek. How quickly,
instinctively, I brush them away.
Dazed, they cling to the outer darkness
like pale reminders of ourselves.
Others seem to want so desperately
to get inside. Months later, I’ll find
the woolens, snug in their resting places,
full of missing pieces.


Art for August – Edward Potthast: “Beach Scene 2”


Musings in August: Sara Baume

“This morning, the sun endures past dawn. I realise that it is August: the summer’s last stand.”

Below – Robert Lackney: “August Sun”

Art for August – August Malmstrom: “Dancing Fairies”


A Poem for August

“Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout”
by Gay Snyder

Down valley a smoke haze
Three days heat, after five days rain
Pitch glows on the fir-cones
Across rocks and meadows
Swarms of new flies.

I cannot remember things I once read
A few friends, but they are in cities.
Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup
Looking down for miles
Through high still air.


Art for August – Amy Bickford: “Path in Ferry Beach”


Musings in August: William Allingham

“O Spirit of the Summertime!
Bring back the roses to the dells;
The swallow from her distant clime,
The honey-bee from drowsy cells.
Bring back the friendship of the sun;
The gilded evenings, calm and late,
When merry children homeward run,
And peeping stars bid lovers wait.
Bring back the singing; and the scent
Of meadowlands at dewy prime;—
Oh, bring again my heart’s content,
Thou Spirit of the Summertime!”


Art for August – John William Waterhouse: ’Windflowers’


A Poem for August

“The Pond”

by Mary Oliver

August of another summer, and once again
I am drinking the sun
and the lilies again are spread across the water.
I know now what they want is to touch each other.
I have not been here for many years
during which time I kept living my life.
Like the heron, who can only croak, who wishes he
could sing,
I wish I could sing.
A little thanks from every throat would be appropriate.
This is how it has been, and this is how it is:
All my life I have been able to feel happiness,
except whatever was not happiness,
which I also remember.
Each of us wears a shadow.
But just now it is summer again
and I am watching the lilies bow to each other,
then slide on the wind and the tug of desire,
close, close to one another,
Soon now, I’ll turn and start for home.
And who knows, maybe I’ll be singing.”


Art for August – Wu Li: “Whiling Away the Summer”

Welcome, Wonderful August

Below – Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “La Ghirlandata”

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