Wandering in Woodacre – 29 August 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 29 August 1780 – Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, a French painter and illustrator.

Below – “Oedipus and the Sphinx”; “Virgil Reading The Aeneid before Augustus”; “The Princesse de Broglie”; “The Grande Baigneuse”; “The Envoys of Agamemnon”; “Le Grande Odalisque.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 29 August 1956 – Steve Yarbrough, an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, and author of “The Realm of Last Chances.”

Some quotes from the work of Steve Yarbrough:

“Every place is different, but every place is the same, because you carry yourself with you wherever you go.”
“It’s a lot easier to say when something ended rather than when it began. Most of us can recognize the end from a mile away, but the beginning always slips up on us, lulling us into thinking what we’re living through is yet another moment, in yet another day.”
“‘Just look what happens to poets,’ I used to tell my honors class on the first day of school. ‘Half the time they go mad. And you know why I think that happens? Too much truth distilled to its essence, all surrounding evidence ignored or discarded. And I’m not faulting them for that.’”
“At the age of twenty, I failed to grasp the difference between guilt, which can almost always be atoned for, and grief, which can only be borne.”

This Date in Art History – Died 29 August 1946 – John Steuart Curry, an American painter.

Below – “Tornado Over Kansas”; “Baptism in Kansas”; “Ajax”; “Our Good Earth”; “Peonies and Rabbit”; “Nude in a Waterfall.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 29 August 1929 – Thom Gunn, an Anglo-American poet: Part I of II.

“From the Wave”
by Thom Gunn

It mounts at sea, a concave wall
Down-ribbed with shine,
And pushes forward, building tall
Its steep incline.

Then from their hiding rise to sight
Black shapes on boards
Bearing before the fringe of white
It mottles towards.

Their pale feet curl, they poise their weight
With a learn’d skill.
It is the wave they imitate
Keeps them so still.

The marbling bodies have become
Half wave, half men,
Grafted it seems by feet of foam
Some seconds, then,

Late as they can, they slice the face
In timed procession:
Balance is triumph in this place,
Triumph possession.

The mindless heave of which they rode
A fluid shelf
Breaks as they leave it, falls and, slowed,
Loses itself.

Clear, the sheathed bodies slick as seals
Loosen and tingle;
And by the board the bare foot feels
The suck of shingle.

They paddle in the shallows still;
Two splash each other;
Then all swim out to wait until
The right waves gather.

Below – Peter de Boer: “Lines”


This Date in Art History: Died 29 August 2003 – Patrick Procktor, an English painter.

Below – “Corfu”; “Still Life with Cat”; “Aerial View of Marylebone Gardens”; “Nude Study”; “Chrysanthemums”; “Woman and Child.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 29 August 1929 – Thom Gunn, an Anglo-American poet: Part II of II.

“The Man with Night Sweats”
by Thom Gunn

I wake up cold, I who
Prospered through dreams of heat
Wake to their residue,
Sweat, and a clinging sheet.

My flesh was its own shield:
Where it was gashed, it healed.

I grew as I explored
The body I could trust
Even while I adored
The risk that made robust,

A world of wonders in
Each challenge to the skin.

I cannot but be sorry
The given shield was cracked,
My mind reduced to hurry,
My flesh reduced and wrecked.

I have to change the bed,
But catch myself instead

Stopped upright where I am
Hugging my body to me
As if to shield it from
The pains that will go through me,

As if hands were enough
To hold an avalanche off.

Below – Zachary Long: “Sweating”

Contemporary German Art – Ece Gauer

Below – “love”; “woman in red”; “sacrifice”; “Lovers”; “listen.”

Musings in Summer: Sei Shonagon (Japanese, circa 966-1025)

“Refined and elegant things”

A girl’s over-robe of white on white over pale violet-grey.
The eggs of the spot-billed duck.
Shaved ice with a sweet syrup, served in a shiny new metal bowl.
A crystal rosary.
Wisteria flowers.
Snow on plum blossoms.
An adorable little child eating strawberries.

Below – Toyohara Chikanobu: “Sei Shonagon”

Contemporary Irish Art – Anna Matykiewicz

Below – “Amazed by the stars”; “I need a rest”; “With Iris”; “Red magic”; “Glimmers”; “Lily.”

A Poem for Today

“Yellowjackets”
By Karen J. Weyant

When my father held his Bic lighter
to the nests in back of the garage,
the gray paper pulp sparked

then blackened. Ashes fell,
coating crawling ivy and clover.
A few yellowjackets fled,

one or two swirled, flying
into the sweaty face of my father,
but most too stunned,

their usual side-to-side swag
of a dance, flailing in the smoke.
When one landed on my arm, I stiffened.

His wings settled into a still gauze,
body coiled in yellow bands,
the same shade as buttercups we held

to our skin, cupping sunlight near our chins.
Every step, careful, quivering, as if neither
of us knew who was supposed to sting.

Below – Michael Dicks: “Yellow Jacket”

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