Sentient in San Francisco – 30 May 2020

Contemporary Polish Art – Anna Szotek

Below – “Kingfisher”; “dreaming”; “old woman”; “The Swing.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 30 May 1903 – Countee Cullen, an American poet, novelist, and playwright.

“Youth Sings a Song of Rosebuds”
By Countee Cullen

Since men grow diffident at last,
And care no whit at all,
If spring be come, or the fall be past,
Or how the cool rains fall,
I come to no flower but I pluck,
I raise no cup but I sip,
For a mouth is the best of sweets to suck;
The oldest wine’s on the lip.
If I grow old in a year or two,
And come to the querulous song
Of ‘Alack and aday’ and ‘This was true,
And that, when I was young,’
I must have sweets to remember by,
Some blossom saved from the mire,
Some death-rebellious ember I
Can fan into a fire.

Below – Fiona Jack: “Rose Bud”

Contemporary Italian Art – Donatella Marraoni

Below – “red love…poppies II”; “there are hugs that make the difference”; “Let me think”; “Barbed wire…And poppies”; “Poppies…in love”; “portrait II woman.”

This Date in Literary/Intellectual History: Died 30 May 1778 – Voltaire (the pen name of Francois-Marie Arouet), French philosopher, writer, historian, and author of “Candide.”

Some quotes from the work of Voltaire:

‘In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to another.”
“It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.”
“The more often a stupidity is repeated, the more it gets the appearance of wisdom.”
“Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.”
“If you want to know who controls you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize.”
“The mirror is a worthless invention. The only way to truly see yourself is in the reflection of someone else’s eyes.”
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.”
“The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.”
“The more a man knows, the less he talks.”

Below – A portrait of Voltaire by Nicolas de Largillière.

Contemporary American Art – Micheal Lopez

Below – “Seated woman with hat”; “Seated Woman II”; “Seated woman in sunlight”; “Nomen Nescio 2020”; “Boy.”

A Poem for Today

“The Hot Dog Factory (1937)”
by Grace Cavalieri

Of course now children take it for granted but once
we watched boxes on a conveyor belt, sliding by,
magically filled and closed, packed and wrapped.
We couldn’t get enough of it, running alongside the machine.
In kindergarten Miss Haynes walked our class down
Stuyvesant Avenue, then up Prospect Street
to the hot dog factory. Only the girls got to go
as the boys were too wild.
We stood in line, wiggling with excitement as the man
talked about how they made hot dogs, then he handed us
one, and Jan dropped hers, so I broke mine in half.
This was the happiest day of our lives,
children whose mothers didn’t drive, and had nowhere
to go but school and home, to be taken to that street
to watch the glittering steel and shining rubber belts moving,
moving meats, readymade.  I wish I could talk with Jan,
recalling the miracle and thrill of the hot dog factory,
when she was alive, before it all stopped—
bright lights, glistening motors, spinning wheels.

Contemporary Italian Art – Liliana Cecchin

Below – “Red and blue ghosts”; “Freccia rossa al binary 10”; “The red bicycle”; “Turin Porta Nuova station”; “Ottogallery 3”; “Metro ora di punta.”

A Poem for Today

“Lifting My Daughter”
by Joseph Hutchinson

As I leave for work she holds out her arms, and I
bend to lift her . . . always heavier than I remember,
because in my mind she is still that seedling bough
I used to cradle in one elbow. Her hug is honest,
fierce, forgiving. I think of Oregon’s coastal pines,
wind-bent even on quiet days; they’ve grown in ways
the Pacific breeze has blown them all their lives.
And how will my daughter grow? Last night, I dreamed
of a mid-ocean gale, a howl among writhing waterspouts;
I don’t know what it meant, or if it’s still distant,
or already here. I know only how I hug my daughter,
my arms grown taut with the thought of that wind.

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