Wandering in Woodacre – 23 January 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1832 – Edouard Manet, a French painter.

Below – “A Bar at the Folies-Bergere”; “Boating”; “The Fifer”; “The reading”; “The Luncheon on the Grass”; “Railway.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 23 January 2018 – Nicanor Parra, a Chilean poet.

“The Last Toast”
by Nicanor Parra

Whether we like it or not,
We have only three choices:
Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And not even three
Because as the philosopher says
Yesterday is yesterday
It belongs to us only in memory:
From the rose already plucked
No more petals can be drawn.

The cards to play
Are only two:
The present and the future.

And there aren’t even two
Because it’s a known fact
The present doesn’t exist
Except as it edges past
And is consumed…,
like youth.

In the end
We are only left with tomorrow.
I raise my glass
To the day that never arrives.

But that is all
we have at our disposal.

Below – Donna Schaffer: “Let’s Toast”

This Date in Art History: Died 23 January 1944 – Edvard Munch, a Norwegian painter and illustrator.

Below – “The Scream”; “Ashes”; “Melancholy”; “Young woman on the shore”; “Nude”; “Lady from the sea.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 23 January 1930 – Derek Walcott, a Saint Lucian poet, playwright, and recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature: Part I of II.

“Midsummer, Tobago”
by Derek Walcott

Broad sun-stoned beaches.
White heat.
A green river.
A bridge,
scorched yellow palms
from the summer-sleeping house
drowsing through August.
Days I have held,
days I have lost,
days that outgrow, like daughters,
my harbouring arms.

Below – Karin Dawn Kaishali-Best: “Eventide Tobago”

This Date in Art History: Born 23 January 1927 – Fred Williams, an Australian painter.

Below – “Sapling Forest”; “Hillock”; “Iron ore landscape”; “Waterpond in a landscape II”; “Saplings Mittagong II”; “Upwey Landscape II.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 23 January 1930 – Derek Walcott, a Saint Lucian poet, playwright, and recipient of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature: Part II of II.

“Love After Love”
by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Below – Anne Weirich: “The old man and the sea”

This Date in Art History: Died 23 January 1989 – Salvador Dali, a Spanish painter and sculptor.

Below – “The Persistence of Memory”; “Galatea of the Spheres”; “Landscape with Butterflies”; “My Wife Nude Contemplating Her Own Flesh Becoming Stairs, Three Vertebra of a Column, Sky and Architecture”; “The Poetry of America”; “Leda Atomica.”

A Poem for Today

“Baby Wrens’ Voices”
by Thomas R. Smith

I am a student of wrens.
When the mother bird returns
to her brood, beak squirming
with winged breakfast, a shrill
clamor rises like jingling
from tiny, high-pitched bells.
Who’d have guessed such a small
house contained so many voices?
The sound they make is the pure sound
of life’s hunger. Who hangs our house
in the world’s branches, and listens
when we sing from our hunger?
Because I love best those songs
that shake the house of the singer,
I am a student of wrens.

Contemporary British Art – Richard Seekins

Below – “Moving On”; “Desire”; “Breath”; “Relax”; “Purple Dancer”; “Dragon Tattoo.”

A Poem for Today

“Ah, Ah”
by Joy Harjo

for Lurline McGregor

Ah, ah cries the crow arching toward the heavy sky over the marina.
Lands on the crown of the palm tree.

Ah, ah slaps the urgent cove of ocean swimming through the slips.
We carry canoes to the edge of the salt.

Ah, ah groans the crew with the weight, the winds cutting skin.
We claim our seats. Pelicans perch in the draft for fish.

Ah, ah beats our lungs and we are racing into the waves.
Though there are worlds below us and above us, we are straight ahead.

Ah, ah tattoos the engines of your plane against the sky—away from these waters.
Each paddle stroke follows the curve from reach to loss.

Ah, ah calls the sun from a fishing boat with a pale, yellow sail. We fly by
on our return, over the net of eternity thrown out for stars.

Ah, ah scrapes the hull of my soul. Ah, ah.

Below – Photograph courtesy of Yasuaki Segawa.

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