Sentient in San Francisco – 29 April 2020

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Olga Sabadin: Part I of II.

Below – “Warm Evening”; “Sun Rays”; “Full Moon”; “Bouquet of Cornflowers”; “Sunny Kavala”; “Sunrise.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 29 April 1863, Died 29 April 1933 – Constantine P. Cavafy, a Greek poet and journalist: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Constantine P. Cavafy:

“My life has been awaiting you. Your footfall was my own heart’s beat.”
“Body, remember not only how much you were loved, not only the beds you lay on, but also those desires glowing openly in eyes that looked at you, trembling for you in voices.”
“Return often and take me, beloved sensation, return and take me – When memory of the body awakens, and old desire again runs through the blood; when the lips and skin remember, and the hands feel as if they touch again.”
“That we’ve broken their statues, that we’ve driven them out of their temples, doesn’t mean at all that the gods are dead. O land of Ionia, they’re still in love with you, their souls still keep your memory.”
“Roses by the head, jasmine at the feet so appear the longings that have passed without being satisfied, not one of them granted a night of sensual pleasure, or one of its radiant mornings.”
“Guard, O my soul, against pomp and glory. And if you cannot curb your ambitions, at least pursue them hesitantly, cautiously. And the higher you go, the more searching and careful you need to be.”

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Olga Sabadin: Part II of II.

Below – “Full Moon”; “Greek Cats”; “Roses”; “The Road to the Sea”; “Street Lamp”; “Greek Cats.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 29 April 1863, Died 29 April 1933 – Constantine P. Cavafy, a Greek poet and journalist: Part II of II.

by C. P. Cavafy
(translated by Edmund Keeley)

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Contemporary Greek Art – Despina Kouvatsou

Below – “Kalais Poetry”; “Airy Symphony”; “Purple’s Magic”; “Lady in Red”; “White Symphony I”; “Symphony in red.”

A Poem for Today

“A Center”
by Ha JIn

You must hold your quiet center,
where you do what only you can do.
If others call you a maniac or a fool,
just let them wag their tongues.
If some praise your perseverance,
don’t feel too happy about it—
only solitude is a lasting friend.

You must hold your distant center.
Don’t move even if earth and heaven quake.
If others think you are insignificant,
that’s because you haven’t held on long enough.
As long as you stay put year after year,
eventually you will find a world
beginning to revolve around you.

Contemporary Austrian Art – Ellen Fasthuber-Huemer

Below – “Sea Breeze”; “Roses”; “Sudliche Landschaft”; “Fields of summer”; “Window Nr.4, Sunny Day”; “The Rooster.”

A Poem for Today

by Dorianne Laux

For days now a red-breasted bird
has been trying to break in.
She tests a low branch, violet blossoms
swaying beside her, leaps into the air and flies
straight at my window, beak and breast
held back, claws raking the pane.
Maybe she longs for the tree she sees
reflected in the glass, but I’m only guessing.
I watch until she gives up and swoops off.
I wait for her return, the familiar
click, swoosh, thump of her. I sip cold coffee
and scan the room, trying to see it new,
through the eyes of a bird. Nothing has changed.
Books piled in a corner, coats hooked
over chair backs, paper plates, a cup
half-filled with sour milk.
The children are in school. The man is at work.
I’m alone with dead roses in a jam jar.
What do I have that she could want enough
to risk such failure, again and again?

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