This Date in Art History: Died 20 July 1994 – Paul Delvaux, a Belgian painter noted for his dream-like scenes of women, train stations, skeletons, and classical architecture in surrealist contexts.
Below- “The Joy of Life”; “The Summer”; “The Village of the Sirens”; “The Skeletons”; “A Siren in Full Moonlight”; “Loneliness”; “Train in Evening.”
This Date in Literary History: Born 20 July 1933 – Cormac McCarthy, an American novelist, playwright, screenwriter, author of “All the Pretty Horses,” “No Country for Old Meh,” “The Road,” and “Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West,” and recipient of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
Some quotes from the work of Cormac McCarthy:
“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”
“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”
“Probably I don’t believe in a lot of things that I used to believe in but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in anything.”
“One of the things you realize about gettin older is that not everybody is goin to get older with you.”
“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.”
“It is supposed to true that those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. I don’t believe knowing can save us. What is constant in history is greed and foolishness and love of blood.”
“If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it.”
“The rain falls upon the just And also on the unjust fellas But mostly it falls upon the just Cause the unjust have the just’s umbrellas.”
“The things that I loved were very frail. Very fragile. I didn’t know that. I thought they were indestructible. They weren’t.”
“He stood at the window of the empty cafe and watched the activites in the square and he said that it was good that God kept the truths of life from the young as they were starting out or else they’d have no heart to start at all.”
“You give up the world line by line. Stoically. And then one day you realize that your courage is farcical. It doesn’t mean anything. You’ve become an accomplice in your own annihilation and there is nothing you can do about it. Everything you do closes a door somewhere ahead of you. And finally there is only one door left.”
“The man who believes that the secrets of the world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down. The rain will erode the deeds of his life. But that man who sets himself the task of singling out the thread of order from the tapestry will by the decision alone have taken charge of the world and it is only by such taking charge that he will effect a way to dictate the terms of his own fate.”
“They heard somewhere in that tenantless night a bell that tolled and ceased where no bell was and they rode out on the round dais of the earth which alone was dark and no light to it and which carried their figures and bore them up into the swarming stars so that they rode not under but among them and they rode at once jaunty and circumspect, like thieves newly loosed in that dark electric, like young thieves in a glowing orchard, loosely jacketed against the cold and ten thousand worlds for the choosing.”
“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
“Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow.They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”
Below – “Meeting”; “Flower Shade, Girl”; “Wolf and deer”; “Come on, come on!”; “Don’t leave me alone”; “Hidden wolf.”
This Date in Literary History: Died 20 July 1928 – Kostas Karyotakis, a Greek poet.
by Kostas Karyotakis
From the depth of good times
our loves greet us bitterly
You’re not in love, you say, and you don’t remember.
And if your heart has filled and you shed the tears
that you couldn’t shed like you did at first,
you’re not in love and you don’t remember, even though you cry.
Suddenly you’ll see two blue eyes
– how long it’s been! – that you caressed one night;
as though inside yourself you hear
an old unhappiness stirring and waking up.
These memories of time past
will begin their danse macabre;
and like then, your bitter tear will
well up on your eyelid and fall.
The eyes suspended – pale suns –
the light that thaws the frozen heart,
the dead loves that begin to stir,
the old sorrows that again ignite. . . .
Below – Klaas Koster: “Nostalgia”
Contemporary Lithuanian Art – Justinas Krasuckas
Below – “Cold summer day”; “Looking for myself”; “Evening”; “Flow”; “In the dark forest”; “Evening”; “Friend.”
A Poem for Today
“Insomnia and the Seven Steps to Grace”
by Joy Harjo
At dawn the panther of the heavens peers over the edge of the world. She hears the stars gossip with the sun, sees the moon washing her lean darkness with water electrified by prayers. All over the world there are those who can’t sleep, those who never awaken.
My granddaughter sleeps on the breast of her mother with milk on her mouth. A fly contemplates the sweetness of lactose.
Her father is wrapped in the blanket of nightmares. For safety he approaches the red hills near Thoreau. They recognize him and sing for him.
Her mother has business in the house of chaos. She is a prophet disguised as a young mother who is looking for a job. She appears at the door of my dreams and we put the house back together.
Panther watches as human and animal souls are lifted to the heavens by rain clouds to partake of songs of beautiful thunder.
Others are led by deer and antelope in the wistful hours to the villages of their ancestors. There they eat cornmeal cooked with berries that stain their lips with purple while the tree of life flickers in the sun.
It’s October, though the season before dawn is always winter. On the city streets of this desert town lit by chemical yellow travelers search for home.
Some have been drinking and intimate with strangers. Others are escapees from the night shift, sip lukewarm coffee, shift gears to the other side of darkness.
One woman stops at a red light, turns over a worn tape to the last chorus of a whispery blues. She has decided to live another day.
The stars take notice, as do the half-asleep flowers, prickly pear and chinaberry tree who drink exhaust into their roots, into the earth.
She guns the light to home where her children are asleep and may never know she ever left. That their fate took a turn in the land of nightmares toward the sun may be untouchable knowledge.
It is a sweet sound.
The panther relative yawns and puts her head between her paws. She dreams of the house of panthers and the seven steps to grace.
Below – Tanya Casteel: “Black Panther”