Wandering in Woodacre – 12 October 2020

This Date in Art History: Died 12 October 1858 – Hiroshige Utagawa, a Japanese woodblock print artist: Part I of II.

Below – “Kanbara”; “Rain Shower at Shono”; “The Plum Garden in Kameido”; “Evening View of Tsukuda with Lady on a Balcony”; “Fishing boats on a lake”; “Sokokura.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 12 October 1908 – Paul Engle, an American poet, novelist, playwright, and critic: Part I of II.

“Twenty Below”
by Paul Engle

Twenty below, I said, and closed the door,
A drop of five degrees and going down.
It makes a tautened drum-hide of the floor,
Brittle as leaves each building in the town.
I wonder what would happen to us here
If that hard wind of winter never stopped,
No man again could watch the night grow clear,
The blue thermometer forever dropped.

I hope, you answered, for so cruel a storm
To freeze remoteness from our lives too cold.
Then we could learn, huddled all close, how warm
The hearts of men who live alone too much,
And once, before our death, admit the old
Need of a human nearness, need of touch.

Below – Kateryna feher Yosypivna: “Is Winter in mountains”

This Date in Art History: Died 12 October 1858 – Hiroshige Utagawa, a Japanese woodblock print artist: Part II of II.

Below – “Evening on the Sumida River”; “Sudden Shower Over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake”; “Moon Bridge in Meguro”; “Horikiri Iris Garden”; “A shrine among trees on a moor”; “Full moon over a mountain landscape.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 12 October 1908 – Paul Engle, an American poet, novelist, playwright, and critic: Part II of II.

“Return in Autumn”
by Paul Engle

The land unchanged, the cattle track,
Narrow for two split hooves to meet,
Winds to walnut grove and back
As when I walked it with bare feet,

Horses with no different eye—
Brown water flowing over stone—
Watch white-maned north wind running by,
Or corn from fields that they had sown.

New mood in older things must be
An inner change, mind’s bone grown longer,
Nerves less blind, more quick to see,
Blood’s cry for air turned stronger.

A man’s age like returning rain
Mingles with flesh it knew when younger,
Raising for him that bitter grain,
Remembered things, which ease no hunger.

Through that rain beating on my face
I see the huddled shape of days
That wandered with me in this place,
But lost their old and friendly ways.

Can I hills, horses understand,
And not past self? Yet here, I know
That one tense mind, one troubled hand,
Make present self forever go,

As frozen pond, the end of food,
Drives the southward duck to flying.
Though I return in autumn wood
I can find nothing but its crying.

Below – Orest-Vasyl Kuziv: “Autumn”


Contemporary Russian Art – Marina Podgaevskaya: Part I of II.

Below – “Nude #5”; “Morning bouquet”; “Aurora No. 2”; “Head of Venus”; “Forest Nymph”; “Butterfly No. 6.”


A Poem for Today

“Nest”
by Jeffrey Harrison

It wasn’t until we got the Christmas tree
into the house and up on the stand
that our daughter discovered a small bird’s nest
tucked among its needled branches.

Amazing, that the nest had made it
all the way from Nova Scotia on a truck
mashed together with hundreds of other trees
without being dislodged or crushed.

And now it made the tree feel wilder,
a balsam fir growing in our living room,
as though at any moment a bird might flutter
through the house and return to the nest.

And yet, because we’d brought the tree indoors,
we’d turned the nest into the first ornament.
So we wound the tree with strings of lights,
draped it with strands of red beads,

and added the other ornaments, then dropped
two small brass bells into the nest, like eggs
containing music, and hung a painted goldfinch
from the branch above, as if to keep them warm.


Contemporary Russian Art – Marina Podgaevskaya: Part II of II.

Below – “Blue dream”; “Florence”; “Butterfly No. 3”; “The birth of Venus”; “Butterfly No. 8”; “Orchids.”

A Poem for Today

“Family Vacation”
by Judith Slater

Four weeks in, quarreling and far
from home, we came to the loneliest place.
A western railroad town. Remember?
I left you at the campsite with greasy pans
and told our children not to follow me.
The dying light had made me desperate.
I broke into a hobbled run, across tracks,
past warehouses with sun-blanked windows
to where a playground shone in a wooded clearing.
Then I was swinging, out over treetops.
I saw myself never going back, yet
whatever breathed in the mute woods
was not another life. The sun sank.
I let the swing die, my toes scuffed earth,
and I was rocked into remembrance
of the girl who had dreamed the life I had.
Through night, dark at the root, I returned to it.

Below – Liz Bretz: “Gone” (photograph)

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