Wandering in Woodacre – 28 March 2021

Friends: Today marks the beginning of Holi, a Hindu celebration considered as the “festival of love,” “the festival of colors,” and “the festival of Spring.” In the words of one writer, “The festival celebrates the eternal and divine love of Radha and Krishna. It also signifies the triumph of good over evil.”

Below – Geeta Biswas: “Holi with Radha and Krishna”

This Date in Art History: Died 28 March 1985 – Marc Chagall, a Russian-French painter.

Below – “Still-life”; “Bella with White Collar”; “Bestiaire”; “The Circus Horse”; “I and the Village”; “To My Betrothed.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 28 March 1909 – Nelson Algren, an American novelist, short story writer, author of “The Man with the Golden Arm,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Nelson Algren:

“Our myths are so many, our vision so dim, our self-deception so deep and our smugness so gross that scarcely any way now remains of reporting the American Century except from behind the billboards …”
“Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own.”
“You can’t be a good writer in the States anymore… Because to be a good one you have to have a country where you can be poor and still eat, and still make your living standards secondary to your writing. Thoreau himself couldn’t do that in the States today.”
“And money can’t buy everything. For example: poverty.”
“Chicago divided your heart. Leaving you loving the joint for keeps. Yet knowing it never can love you.”
“Chicago is an October sort of city even in spring.”
“…a city that was to live by night after the wilderness had passed. A city that was to forge out of steel and blood-red neon its own peculiar wilderness.”
“The great trains howling from track to track all night. The taut and telegraphic murmur of ten thousand city wires, drawn most cruelly against a city sky. The rush of city waters, beneath the city streets. The passionate passing of the night’s last El.”
“It’s the place built out of Man’s ceaseless failure to overcome himself. Out of Man’s endless war against himself we build our successes as well as our failures. Making it the city of all cities most like Man himself— loneliest creation of all this very old poor earth.”

This Date in Art History: Died 28 March 2006 – Pro Hart, an Australian painter.

Below – “Aboriginal Hut Scene”; Untitled”; “Dragonfly”; “Stockman’s Hut”;“Swagman with Sheep”; “Catching the XMAS Roast.”

A Poem for Today

“Afraid So”
by Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Is it starting to rain?
Did the check bounce?
Are we out of coffee?
Is this going to hurt?
Could you lose your job?
Did the glass break?
Was the baggage misrouted?
Will this go on my record?
Are you missing much money?
Was anyone injured?
Is the traffic heavy?
Do I have to remove my clothes?
Will it leave a scar?
Must you go?
Will this be in the papers?
Is my time up already?
Are we seeing the understudy?
Will it affect my eyesight?
Did all the books burn?
Are you still smoking?
Is the bone broken?
Will I have to put him to sleep?
Was the car totaled?
Am I responsible for these charges?
Are you contagious?
Will we have to wait long?
Is the runway icy?
Was the gun loaded?
Could this cause side effects?
Do you know who betrayed you?
Is the wound infected?
Are we lost?
Will it get any worse?

Below – Elena Varsavikova: “The Reverse”

This Date in Art History: Born 28 March 1913 – Toko Shinoda. In the words of one writer, she “was a Japanese artist working with sumi ink paintings and prints. Her art merged traditional calligraphy with modern abstract expressionism.

Below – “Praise – E”; Untitled; “Soar 8”; “Sailing”; “Quietude.”

A Poem for Today

“I Was Popular In Certain Circles”
by Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Among the river rats and the leaves.
For example. I was huge among the lichen,
and the waterfall couldn’t get enough
of me. And the gravestones?
I was hugely popular with the gravestones.
Also with the meat liquefying
beneath. I’d say to the carrion birds,
I’d say, “Are you an eagle? I can’t see
so well.” That made them laugh until we
were screaming. Eagle. Imagine.

The vultures loved me so much they’d feed
me the first morsel. From their delicate
talons, which is what I called them:
such delicate talons. They loved me so deeply
they’d visit in pairs. One to feed me.
One to cover my eyes with its velvety wings.
Which were heavy as theater curtains. Which I was
sure to remark on. “Why can’t I see what I’m eating?”
I’d say. And the wings would pull me into
the great bird’s chest. And I’d feel the nail
inside my mouth.

What pals I was with all the scavengers!
And the dead things too. What pals.
As for the living, the fox would not be outdone.
We’d sit on the cliff’s edge and watch the river
like a movie and I’d say, “I think last night…”
and the fox would put his paw on top of mine
and say, “Forget it. It’s done.” I mean,
we had fun. You haven’t lived until a fox
has whispered something the ferns told him
in your one good ear. I mean truly.
You have not lived.

Below – EllenM McDermott: “Girl with Fox” (photograph)

Contemporary German Art – Emma Gomara

Below – “Freedom”; “The reader”; “Marrakech”; “Lady Blue”; “Wallpaper meditation”; “Willmary under the sea.”

A Poem for Today

by Jake Adam York

Forgive me if I forget
with the birdsong and the day’s
last glow folding into the hands
of the trees, forgive me the few
syllables of the autumn crickets,
the year’s last firefly winking
like a penny in the shoulder’s weeds
if I forget the hour, if I forget
the day as the evening star
pours out its whiskey over the gravel
and asphalt I’ve walked
for years alone, if I startle
when you put your hand in mine,
if I wonder how long your light
has taken to reach me here.

Below – Phyllis Mahon: “Love in a Twilight Landscape”

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