Sentient in San Francisco – 28 August 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 28 August 1910 – Morris Graves, an American painter.

Below – “Bird of the Spirit”; “Winter Bouquet”; “Black Lily of the Nile and Re”; “Winter Bouquet (Flowering Quince, Rosehaws, Narcissus and Winter Rose)”; “Kid Goat in an Abandoned Garden”; “Bird and the Sea.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 28 August 1993 – William Stafford, an American poet: Part I of III.

“Assurance”
by William Stafford

You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or the silence after lightening before it says
its names- and then the clouds’ wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon,
long aisles- you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head-
that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.

This Date in Art History: Died 28 August 2015 – Nelson Shanks, an American painter.

Below – “Ghost Horse”; “Loni”; “Blue Bird”; “Laura’s Theme”; “Danilova’s Slipper”; “Symbols.”

A Poem for Today

“They Feed They Lion”
by Philip Levine

Out of burlap sacks, out of bearing butter,
Out of black bean and wet slate bread,
Out of the acids of rage, the candor of tar,
Out of creosote, gasoline, drive shafts, wooden dollies,
They Lion grow.

Out of the gray hills
Of industrial barns, out of rain, out of bus ride,
West Virginia to Kiss My Ass, out of buried aunties,
Mothers hardening like pounded stumps, out of stumps,
Out of the bones’ need to sharpen and the muscles’ to stretch,
They Lion grow.

Earth is eating trees, fence posts,
Gutted cars, earth is calling in her little ones,
“Come home, Come home!” From pig balls,
From the ferocity of pig driven to holiness,
From the furred ear and the full jowl come
The repose of the hung belly, from the purpose
They Lion grow.

From the sweet glues of the trotters
Come the sweet kinks of the fist, from the full flower
Of the hams the thorax of caves,
From “Bow Down” come “Rise Up,”
Come they Lion from the reeds of shovels,
The grained arm that pulls the hands,
They Lion grow.

From my five arms and all my hands,
From all my white sins forgiven, they feed,
From my car passing under the stars,
They Lion, from my children inherit,
From the oak turned to a wall, they Lion,
From they sack and they belly opened
And all that was hidden burning on the oil-stained earth
They feed they Lion and he comes.

Contemporary American Art – Kenneth Jackson

Below (photographs) – “Two Bison”; “First Light”; “Ghost Tree”; “Fallen Oak”; “Imagine”; “Beechwood Path.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 28 August 1993 – William Stafford, an American poet: Part II of III.

“At the Un-National Monument Along the Canadian Border”
by William Stafford

This is the field where the battle did not happen,
where the unknown soldier did not die.
This is the field where grass joined hands,
where no monument stands,
and the only heroic thing is the sky.

Birds fly here without any sound,
unfolding their wings across the open.
No people killed – or were killed – on this ground
hallowed by neglect and an air so tame
that people celebrate it by forgetting its name.

Contemporary Vietnamese Art – Xuan Khanh Nguyen

Below – “Autumn Wind”; “Spring song”; “After school 8”; “Spring 6”; “Shine After The Rain #4”; “Going through the fall.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 28 August 1993 – William Stafford, an American poet: Part III of III.

“Traveling Through the Dark”
by William Stafford

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon:
that road is narrow; to swerve might make more dead.

By glow of the tail-light I stumbled back of the car
and stood by the heap, a doe, a recent killing;
she had stiffened already, almost cold.
I dragged her off; she was large in the belly.

My fingers touching her side brought me the reason–
her side was warm; her fawn lay there waiting,
alive, still, never to be born.
Beside that mountain road I hesitated.

The car aimed ahead its lowered parking lights;
under the hood purred the steady engine.
I stood in the glare of the warm exhaust turning red;
around our group I could hear the wilderness listen.

I thought hard for us all–my only swerving–,
then pushed her over the edge into the river.

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