Sentient in San Francisco – 3 May 2020

Contemporary Italian Art – Maria Lorek

Below – “Weaves”; “Black Matter”; “Dark Sea”; “Softness”; “Materia”; “Meadow.”

A Poem for Today

“Saving Nails”
by Thomas R. Moore

I strip the porch roof, pick out the used
nails, and toss the shingles down onto

a drop cloth, remembering when I shingled
my grandmother’s roof fifty years ago:

the tar smell, the brackets, planks, and
ladders all the same, but level now

with hemlock limbs instead of locust.
I lug four shingles up the ladder, kneel

and drive the old nails home, slide
another shingle into place, pound,

toes bent, knees creaking. ‘Miserliness,’
a friend jokes about the nails, but I call it

‘caring,’ thinking of the man who gave
us this land on the cove, the cottage, the boat-

house full of boats. The only time I saw
him he was at his work bench, a rich

man straightening nails, moving from
the ‘bent’ can to the anvil to the ‘straight.’

Contemporary British Art – Alec Cumming

Below – “Moments of Clarity”; “Soaked up pool rays”; “Hazy Poolside Dreamin’”; “Sunset palms”; “Laid Out, Basking”; “Golden State.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 3 May 1912 – May Sarton, an American poet, novelist, and memoirist: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of May Sarton:

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”
“In the country of pain we are each alone.”
“I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep…. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.”
“I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.”
“Read between the lines.Then meet me in the silence if you can.”
“It is only when we can believe that we are creating the soul that life has any meaning, but when we can believe it – and I do and always have – then there is nothing we do that is without meaning and nothing that we suffer that does not hold the seed of creation in it.”
“Absence becomes the greatest Presence.”
“It is, I assume, quite easy to wither into old age, and hard to grow into it.”
“One thing is certain, and I have always known it – the joys of my life have nothing to do with age. They do not change. Flowers, the morning and evening light, music, poetry, silence, the goldfinches darting about.”
“I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. It is the tree’s way of being. Strongly rooted perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind.”
“Now I become myself. It’s taken time, many years and places.”

Contemporary American Art – Elizabeth Becker

Below – “Iris No. 91”; “Cherry Blossoms No. 20”; “The Woods No. 43”; “Rose Study No. 46”; “Melancholy”; “Night No. 4.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 3 May 1912 – May Sarton, an American poet, novelist, and memoirist: Part II of II.

“December Moon”
by May Sarton

Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.

Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
Where the wild creatures ranged
While the moon rose and shone.

Why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?

How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we’ll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.

Contemporary American Art – Susan Kinsella

Below – “The Clearing Storm”; “Hydrangeas on Blue”; “Respire Cottage”; “Oranges on Indigo”; “Golden Hour”; “Peace Captured.”

A Poem for Today

“Audubon Warblers”
by Kevin Cole

The Audubon warblers keep the time of their coming,
Arriving on stillness of a storm,
Their breast and backs as dark as low bruised banks of cloud,
Rumps and throats as yellow as blooms of buckwheat.

They throng this evening in the newly-leaved
Tender-tipped canopies nervously weaving
Through the catkins like frantic prophets
Bearing some divine prophecy of the coming spring.

I wait, hoping for nothing too grave:
News of ruinous lands, of cutting and swarming locusts,
Of withering vines and empty granaries,
Of fasting, weeping, and rending of garments.

No, I wait for lighter fare:
Perhaps a promise that the green heron will nest
On the west end of the slough and that the ironweed
And wood lily will once again together bloom.

This would be an ample prophecy for another year—
This and a promise to keep the time of their coming.

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