Wandering in Woodacre – 12 May 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 12 May 1828 – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an English painter, illustrator, and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Below – “The Day Dream”; “Lady Lilith”; “Proserpine”; “Jane Morris (The Blue Silk Dress)”; “The Blessed Damozel”; “The Beloved.”

This Date in Literary/Art History: Born 12 May 1812 – Edward Lear, an English poet and illustrator.

“The Owl and the Pussy-Cat”
by Edward Lear

I
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!”

II
Pussy said to the Owl, “You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

III
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?” Said the Piggy, “I will.”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Below – Lear’s illustration for the poem.

Contemporary Canadian Art – Eunice Sim

Below – “Thoughts”; “From My Spring Garden”; “Look 3”; “Summer Dream”; “Look 4′; “Summer Forest.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 12 May 1967 – John Masefield, an English poet, essayist, playwright, and Poet Laureate from 1930 until 1967.

“Sea Fever”
by John Masefield

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Contemporary British Art – Christabel Blackman

Below – “Enchanted Garden”; “Blue Gardenias”; “A Moment of Happiness”; “Mermaid on the Rock”; “The Lovers”; “Watching Magnolias Bloom.”


This Date in Cultural/Entertainment History: Born 12 My 1937 – George Carlin, an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, and author of “Last Words” (published posthumously).

Some quotes from the work of George Carlin:

“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”
“That’s why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”
“If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?”
“Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.”
“Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!
But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money!”
“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”
“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”
“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as an orgasm.”
“We’re so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody’s going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven’t learned how to care for one another. We’re gonna save the fuckin’ planet? . . . And, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin’ great. It’s been here over four billion years . . . The planet isn’t goin’ anywhere, folks. We are! We’re goin’ away. Pack your shit, we’re goin’ away. And we won’t leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we’ll be gone. Another failed mutation; another closed-end biological mistake.”

Contemporary British Art – William Oxer

Below – “Coming Home”; “Love’s Fragility”; “The Most Beautiful Dream”; “Eternal Romance”; “Ophelia”; “Quiet Muse.”

A Poem for Today

“Thanks in Old Age”
by Walt Whitman

Thanks in old age—thanks ere I go, For health, the midday sun, the impalpable air—for life, mere life,
For precious ever-lingering memories, (of you my mother dear—you, father—you, brothers, sisters, friends,)
For all my days—not those of peace alone—the days of war the same,
For gentle words, caresses, gifts from foreign lands,
For shelter, wine and meat—for sweet appreciation,
(You distant, dim unknown—or young or old—countless, un-specified, readers belov’d,
We never met, and ne’er shall meet—and yet our souls embrace, long, close and long;)
For beings, groups, love, deeds, words, books—for colors, forms,
For all the brave strong men—devoted, hardy men—who’ve forward sprung in freedom’s help, all years, all lands,
For braver, stronger, more devoted men—(a special laurel ere I go, to life’s war’s chosen ones,
The cannoneers of song and thought—the great artillerists—the foremost leaders, captains of the soul:)
As soldier from an ended war return’d—As traveler out of myriads, to the long procession retrospective,
Thanks—joyful thanks!—a soldier’s, traveler’s thanks.

Below – Walt Whitman (born 1819) in 1887.

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