Sentient in San Francisco – 28 February 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 28 February 1887 – William Zorach, an American sculptor and painter: Part I of II: Sculpture.

Below – “Puma”; “Floating Figure”; “Spirit of the Sea”; “Winter Morning”; “Head”; “Novation”; “Head.”

A Poem for Today

by Sarah Freligh

On the fire escape, one
stupid petunia still blooms,
purple trumpet blowing
high notes at the sky long
after the rest of the band
has packed up
and gone home.

This Date in Art History: Born 28 February 1887 – William Zorach, an American sculptor and painter: Part II of II: Paintings.

Below – “Tree-Yosemite”; “Old Horse Chestnut Tree in Winter”; “Half Dome, Yosemite”; “Vermont Autumn”; “Flowers in a Blue Vase by a Window.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 28 February 1916 – Henry James, an American-British essayist, dramatist, travel writer, and one of the greatest novelists in the English language.

Some quotes from the work of Henry James:

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”
“Do not mind anything that anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.”
“Life is, in fact, a battle. Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting, but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no narrow illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of the night; we wake up to it, forever and ever; and we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it.”
“You must save what you can of your life; you musn’t lose it all simply because you’ve lost a part.”
“Deep experience is never peaceful.”
“The right time is any time that one is still so lucky as to have.”
“It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.”

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Vasyl Khodakivskyi

Below – “The Big Dipper”; “Behind the scenes”; “Morning bliss”; “The amazing morning”; “Dancers”; “In chamomile.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 28 February 1909 – Stephen Spender, Ann English poet, novelist, and essayist.

“The Truly Great”
by Stephen Spender

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light, where the hours are suns,
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit, clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious, is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog, the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields,
See how these names are fêted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s centre.
Born of the sun, they travelled a short while toward the sun
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.

Contemporary British Art – Anna McNeil

Below – “dusk”; Untitled; Untitled; “boy”; “Memento PS”; “Rain Dance.”

A Poem for Today
by Ellen Bass

“The Thing Is”

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you down like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, ‘How can a body withstand this?’
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

Below – Photograph by Cristina Coral.

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