Sentient in San Francisco – 24 October 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 24 October 1898 – Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, a French painter and illustrator.

Below – “Hope”; “The Shepherd’s Song”; “The Wine Press”; “The White Rocks”; “Young Girls by the Edge of the Sea”; “Fantasy.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 October 1932 – Adrian Mitchell, an English journalist, novelist, playwright, and poet.

“Song in Space”
by Adrian Mitchell

When man first flew beyond the sky
He looked back into the world’s blue eye.
Man said: What makes your eye so blue?
Earth said: The tears in the ocean do.
Why are the seas so full of tears?
Because I’ve wept so many thousand years.
Why do you weep as you dance through space?
Because I am the mother of the human race.

This Date in Art History: Died 24 October 1917 – James Carroll Beckwith, an American painter.

Below – “Bassin de Neptune Versailles”; “Woman with Guitar”; “Terminal Figure of Ceres”; “A Wistful Look”; “Man Sketching”; “The Green Dress”; “A Naiad.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 October 1930 – Elaine Feinstein, an English poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright, biographer, and translator.

by Elaine Feinstein

We first recognised each other as if we were siblings,
and when we held hands your touch
made me stupidly happy.

Hold my hand, you said in the hospital .

You had big hands, strong hands, gentle
as those of a Mediterranean father
caressing the head of a child.

Hold my hand , you said. I feel
I won’t die while you are here.

You took my hand on our first aeroplane
and in opera houses, or watching
a video you wanted me to share.

Hold my hand, you said. I’ll fall asleep
and won’t even know you’re not there.

This Date in Art History: Died 24 October 1938 – Ernst Barlach, a German sculptor.

Below – “The Singing Man”; “Pregnant Girl”; “Kissing Group III”; “The Flame”; “Freezing Crone”; “The Avenger.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 October 1923 – Denise Levertov, an American poet: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Denise Levertov:

“You have come to the shore. There are no instructions.”
“Grief is a hole you walk around in the daytime and at night you fall into it.”
“It’s when we face for a moment the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know the taint in our own selves, that awe cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart.”
“A poet articulating the dreads and horrors of our time is necessary in order to make readers understand what is happening, really understand it, not just know about it but feel it: and should be accompanied by a willingness on the part of those who write it to take additional action towards stopping the great miseries which they record.”
“Insofar as poetry has a social function it is to awaken sleepers by other means than shock.”
“In the dark I rest, unready for the light which dawns day after day, eager to be shared. Black silk, shelter me. I need more of the night before I open eyes and heart to illumination. I must still grow in the dark like a root not ready, not ready at all.”
“But for us the road unfurls itself, we don’t stop walking, we know there is far to go.”
“Every day, every day I hear enough to fill a year of nights with wondering.”
“But we have only begun to love the earth. We have only begun to imagine the fullness of life. How could we tire of hope?-so much is in bud.”

This Date in Art History: Born 24 October 1875 – Konstantin Yuon, a Russian painter.

Below – “Spring sunny day”; “People”; “The blue bush”; “Soft goods”; “Portrait of Klavdiya Yuon” (the artist’s wife); “Self-portrait.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 24 October 1923 – Denise Levertov, an American poet: Part II of II.

“The Secret”
by Denise Levertov

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of

I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

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