Wandering in Woodacre – 19 January 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 19 January 1920 – Bernard Dunstan, an English painter.

Below – “The Ironing Board”; “Model in the studio I”; “Bathers Surprised”; “Misty Morning, Santa Maria Formosa”; “Portrait of Dana, the Artist’s Wife”; “Venetian Interior.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 19 January 1997 – James Dickey, an American poet, novelist, author of “Deliverance,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

“The Heaven of Animals”
by James Dickey

Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.

Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.

To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.

For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,

More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey

May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk

Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain

At the cycle’s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.

Contemporary Italian Art – Domenico Antonio Frassineti

Below – “Lina”; “The girl from the Old Antigua Inn”; “Madame E”;
“Citta Nuova”; “The Voyager”; “Sinbad’s memories.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 19 January 1946 – Julian Barnes, an award-winning English novelist, short story writer, essayist, critic, and author of “The Sense of an Ending.”

Some quotes from the work of Julian Barnes:

“I certainly believe we all suffer damage, one way or another. How could we not, except in a world of perfect parents, siblings, neighbours, companions? And then there is the question on which so much depends, of how we react to the damage: whether we admit it or repress it, and how this affects our dealings with others.Some admit the damage, and try to mitigate it; some spend their lives trying to help others who are damaged; and there are those whose main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost. And those are the ones who are ruthless, and the ones to be careful of.”
“Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren’t. I’m not surprised some people prefer books.”
“In life, every ending is just the start of another story.”
“When you read a great book, you don’t escape from life, you plunge deeper into it. There may be a superficial escape – into different countries, mores, speech patterns – but what you are essentially doing is furthering your understanding of life’s subtleties, paradoxes, joys, pains and truths. Reading and life are not separate but symbiotic.”
“Later on in life, you expect a bit of rest, don’t you? You think you deserve it. I did, anyway. But then you begin to understand that the reward of merit is not life’s business.”
“Does character develop over time? In novels, of course it does: otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story. But in life? I sometimes wonder. Our attitudes and opinions change, we develop new habits and eccentricities; but that’s something different, more like decoration. Perhaps character resembles intelligence, except that character peaks a little later: between twenty and thirty, say. And after that, we’re just stuck with what we’ve got. We’re on our own. If so, that would explain a lot of lives, wouldn’t it? And also – if this isn’t too grand a word – our tragedy.”

Contemporary American Art – Lynn Stein

Below – “Models Falling”; “In the Beginning it was Fun”; “Dancing in a Box”; “Almost Snow Wnite” “Sammy” “Hold.”


A Poem for Today

“The Whistle”
by Robert Hayden

You could whistle me home from anywhere
in the neighborhood; avenues away,
I’d pick out your clear, alternating pair
of notes, the signal to quit my child’s play
and run back to our house for supper,
or a Saturday trip to the hardware store.
Unthrottled, wavering in the upper
reaches, your trilled summons traveled farther
than our few blocks. I’ve learned too, how your heart’s
radius extends, though its beat
has stopped. Still, some days a sudden fear darts
through me, whether it’s my own city street
I hurry across, or at a corner in an unknown
town: the high, vacant air arrests me—where’s home?

Below – George Gosti: “Walking Alone”

 

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