Sentient in San Francisco – 5 October 2019

Contemporary Norwegian Art – Kesha Tabaczuk

Below – “Receiving Hands”; “Boy floating on water”; “Stormy Sky”; “Magenta Hills”; “Boy with balloons.”

A Poem for Today

“Medical History”
By Carrie Shipers

I wanted it: arc of red and blue
strobing my skin, sirens singing
my praises, the cinching embrace
of the cot as the ambulance
slammed shut and steered away.
More than needle-pierce
or dragging blade, I wanted the swab
of alcohol and cotton, the promise
of gauze-covered cure.
My mother saved anyone
who asked, but never me,
never the way I wanted:
her palms skimming my limbs
for injury, her fingers finding
what hurt, her lips whispering,
‘I got here just in time.’

Contemporary Dutch Art – Sophia Heeres: Part I of II.

Below – “Beach huts”; “Prinsengracht (Amsterdam)”; “Small orchestra”; “Lighthouse”; “Feathers’ splendor.”

This Date in Literary/Political History: Born 5 October 1936 – Vaclav Havel, a Czech poet, playwright, and the first President of the Czech Republic.

Some quotes from the work of Vaclav Havel:

“The kind of hope that I often think about…I understand above all as a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope within us, or we don’t. It is a dimension of the soul It’s not essentially dependent upon some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation. Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
“Our social and economic statistics are telling us what we already know in our hearts: we have created a world that works for only a few. To change this, we must learn to act toward each other and our environment in profoundly different ways.”
“Ideology is a specious way of relating to the world. It offers human beings the illusion of an identity, of dignity, and of morality while making it easier for them to part with them.”
“The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.”
“I am not an optimist, because I am not sure that everything ends well. Nor am I a pessimist, because I am not sure that everything ends badly. I just carry hope in my heart. Hope is the feeling that life and work have a meaning. You either have it or you don’t, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you. Life without hope is an empty, boring, and useless life. I cannot imagine that I could strive for something if I did not carry hope in me.”
“Human rights are universal and indivisible. Human freedom is also indivisible: if it is denied to anyone in the world, it is therefore denied, indirectly, to all people. This is why we cannot remain silent in the face of evil or violence; silence merely encourages them.”
“Follow the man who seeks the truth; run from the man who has found it.”

Contemporary Dutch Art – Sophia Heeres: Part II of II.

“Tuscany”; “Heather”; “Drentsche Aa (river in the north of the Netherlands)”; “Encounters & On the opening”; “Growth.”

A Poem for Today

“Today’s News”
by David Tucker

A slow news day, but I did like the obit about the butcher
who kept the same store for fifty years.   People remembered
when his street was sweetly roaring, aproned
with flower stalls and fish stands.
The stock market wandered, spooked by presidential winks,
by micro-winds and the shadows of earnings.   News was stationed
around the horizon, ready as summer clouds to thunder–
but it moved off and we covered the committee meeting
at the back of the statehouse, sat around on our desks,
then went home early.   The birds were still singing,
the sun just going down.   Working these long hours,
you forget how beautiful the early evening can be,
the big houses like ships turning into the night,
their rooms piled high with silence.

Contemporary American Art – Athena Petra Tasiopoulos

Artist Statement: “My imagination is continuously lured by the mystery of found photographs –piles of ‘instant relatives’ discarded and forgotten in musty antique stores. It is as if the subjects I select exist in an interesting sort of limbo – simultaneously trapped yet saved within the photograph. I find myself feeling compassion for them. By re-inventing the portrait, I aim to disjoint my subjects from an antiquated identity, allowing them to transcend the constraints of time and place.”

Below – “Aunt Nellie”; “Polka Dots”; “More Than That”; “Reach”; “Look”; “Children.”

A Poem for Today

by Steven Huff

You used to be able to flag a ride in this country.
Impossible now—everyone is afraid
of strangers.   Well, there was fear then too,
and it was mutual: drivers versus hitchhikers.
And we rode without seat belts,
insurance or beliefs.  People
would see me far ahead on a hill like a seedling,
watch me grow in the windshield
and not know they were going to stop until
they got right up to me.  Maybe they wanted
company or thought I’d give them
some excitement.  It was the age
of impulse, of lonesome knee jerks.  An old woman
stopped, blew smoke in my face
and after I was already in her car she asked me
if I wanted a ride.  I’m telling you.
Late one night a construction boss pulled over.
One of his crew had been hit
by the mob, he said as he drove, distraught
and needing to talk to someone.
We rode around for a long time.
He said, ‘I never wore a gun to a funeral before,
but they’ve gotta be after me too.’
Then he looked at me and patted the bulge
in his coat.  ‘Don’t worry,’ he said, ‘you’re safe.’

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 4 October 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 4 October 1814 – Jean-Francois Millet, a French painter.

Below – “The Sower”; “The Sheepfold”; “Woman Baking Bread”; “The Gleaners”; “The Potato Harvest”; “The Man with the Hoe.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 4 October 1974 – Anne Sexton, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part I of II.

Some quotes from the work of Anne Sexton:

“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”
“I’m lost. And it’s my own fault. It’s about time I figured out that I can’t ask people to keep me found.”
“I am a collection of dismantled almosts.”
“As it has been said: Love and a cough cannot be concealed. Even a small cough. Even a small love.”
“I am alone here in my own mind. There is no map and there is no road. It is one of a kind just as yours is.”
“Sometimes the soul takes pictures of things it has wished for, but never seen.”
“I am crazy as hell, but I know it. And knowing it is a kind of sanity that makes the sickness worse.”
“One can’t build little white picket fences to keep nightmares out.”
“Love? Be it man. Be it woman. It must be a wave you want to glide in on, give your body to it, give your laugh to it, give, when the gravelly sand takes you, your tears to the land. To love another is something like prayer and can’t be planned, you just fall into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.”
“I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible things to repair.”
“The joy that isn’t shared dies young.”
“It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.”
“I’m hunting for the truth. It might be a kind of poetic truth, and not just a factual one, because behind everything that happens to you, there is another truth, a secret life.”
“My ideas are a curse.
They spring from a radical discontent
with the awful order of things.
I play clown. I play carpenter. I play nurse.
I play witch.”

This Date in Art History: Born 4 October 1861 – Frederic Remington, an American painter, sculptor, and illustrator: Part I of II.

Below – “The Coming and Going of the Pony Express”; “A Dash for the Timber”; “The Scout:Friends or Foes?”; “Shotgun Hospitality”; “A
New Year on the Cimarron”; “Indians Simulating Buffalo”; “Cowpuncher’s Lullaby.”

Musings in Autumn: Albert Einstein

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

This Date in Art History: Born 4 October 1861 – Frederic Remington, an American painter, sculptor, and illustrator: Part II of II.

Below – “The Broncho Buster”; “On the Range”; “The Cheyenne”; “The Wicket Pony”; “Rattlesnake”; “Medicine Man.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 4 October 1974 – Anne Sexton, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize: Part II of II.

“Her Kind”
by Anne Sexton

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

This Date in Art History: Died 4 October 1935 – Jean Beraud, a French painter.

Below – “Cafe Gloppe”; “Symphony in Red and Gold”; “The Drinkers”; “Personnages”; “La Pal Mabile.”

A Poem for Today

“In Your Absence”
by Judith Harris

Not yet summer,
but unseasonable heat
pries open the cherry tree.

It stands there stupefied,
in its sham, pink frills,
dense with early blooming.

Then, as afternoon cools
into more furtive winds,
I look up to see
a blizzard of petals
rushing the sky.

It is only April.
I can’t stop my own life
from hurrying by.
The moon, already pacing.

Below – Karen Hoger: “Cherry Blossoms in Wind”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 3 October 2019

This Date in Art History: Born 3 October 1865 – Gustave Loiseau, a French painter.

Below – “La cascade”; “Nature morte aux pommes”; “Pont-Aven, Temps Gris, Brittany”; “Le Verger en Hiver”; “Bateaux sur la Seine à Oissel.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 3 October 1916 – James Herriot (the pen name of James Alfred Wight), a British veterinary surgeon, writer, and author of “All Creatures Great and Small.”

Some quotes from the work of James Herriot:

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs …[they] are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no right to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty.”
“No animal is a better judge of comfort than a cat.”
“And the peace which I always found in the silence and emptiness of the moors filled me utterly.”
“I think it was the beginning of Mrs. Bond’s unquestioning faith in me when she saw me quickly enveloping the cat till all you could see of him was a small black and white head protruding from an immovable cocoon of cloth. He and i were now facing each other, more or less eyeball to eyeball, and George couldn’t do a thing about it. As i say, I rather pride myself on this little expertise, and even today my veterinary colleagues have been known to remark, ‘Old Herriot may be limited in many respects, but by God he can wrap a cat.’”
“I could do terrible things to people who dump unwanted animals by the roadside.”
“I love writing about my job because I loved it, and it was a particularly interesting one when I was a young man. It was like holidays with pay to me.”
“I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed. These things, to me, are expressions of love.”

This Date in Art History: Born 3 October 1867 – Pierre Bonnard, a French painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Woman with a Dog”; “The Omnibus”; “Dancers”; “Two Dogs in a Deserted Street”; “The Dining Room in the Country”; “Nude against the Light.”

A Poem for Today

“The Inevitable”
by Allan Peterson

To have that letter arrive
was like the mist that took a meadow
and revealed hundreds
of small webs once invisible
The inevitable often
stands by plainly but unnoticed
till it hands you a letter
that says death and you notice
the weed field had been
readying its many damp handkerchiefs
all along

This Date in Art History: Born 3 October 1867 – Pierre Bonnard, a French painter: Part II of II.

Below – Painted screen with crane, ducks, pheasant, bamboo and ferns; “Women in the Garden” (in the Japanese kamemono style); Painted screen: the Bonnard family in the garden”; “Stairs with Mimosa”; “La Charmille”;“Self-Portrait.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 3 October 1900 – Thomas Wolfe, an American novelist and author of “Look Homeward, Angel.”

Some quotes from the work of Thomas Wolfe:

“All things belonging to the earth will never change-the leaf, the blade, the flower, the wind that cries and sleeps and wakes again, the trees whose stiff arms clash and tremble in the dark, and the dust of lovers long since buried in the earth-all things proceeding from the earth to seasons, all things that lapse and change and come again upon the earth-these things will always be the same, for they come up from the earth that never changes, they go back into the earth that lasts forever. Only the earth endures, but it endures forever.”
“The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.”
“Man is born to live, to suffer, and to die, and what befalls him is a tragic lot. There is no denying this in the final end. But we must deny it all along the way.”
“Is this not the true romantic feeling; not to desire to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping you.”
“The dark ancestral cave, the womb from which mankind emerged into the light, forever pulls one back – but…you can’t go home again…you can’t go…back home to the escapes of Time and Memory. You Can’t Go Home Again.”
“The thought of these vast stacks of books would drive him mad: the more he read, the less he seemed to know — the greater the number of the books he read, the greater the immense uncountable number of those which he could never read would seem to be…. The thought that other books were waiting for him tore at his heart forever.”
“Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother’s face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.
Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father’s heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?
O waste of lost, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this weary, unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When?
O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.”
“My dear, dear girl [. . .] we can’t turn back the days that have gone. We can’t turn life back to the hours when our lungs were sound, our blood hot, our bodies young. We are a flash of fire–a brain, a heart, a spirit. And we are three-cents-worth of lime and iron–which we cannot get back.”
“A destiny that leads the English to the Dutch is strange enough; but one that leads from Epsom into Pennsylvania, and thence into the hills that shut in Altamont over the proud coral cry of the cock, and the soft stone smile of an angel, is touched by that dark miracle of chance which makes new magic in a dusty world.
Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.
The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London cutpurse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time.
This is a moment:”
“And who shall say–whatever disenchantment follows–that we ever forget magic; or that we can ever betray, on this leaden earth, the apple-tree, the singing, and the gold?”
“The old hunger for voyages fed at his heart….To go alone…into strange cities; to meet strange people and to pass again before they could know him; to wander, like his own legend, across the earth–it seemed to him there could be no better thing than that.”
“Then summer fades and passes and October comes. We’ll smell smoke then, and feel an unexpected sharpness, a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a sense of sadness and departure.”
“There came to him an image of man’s whole life upon the earth. It seemed to him that all man’s life was like a tiny spurt of flame that blazed out briefly in an illimitable and terrifying darkness, and that all man’s grandeur, tragic dignity, his heroic glory, came from the brevity and smallness of this flame. He knew his life was little and would be extinguished, and that only darkness was immense and everlasting. And he knew that he would die with defiance on his lips, and that the shout of his denial would ring with the last pulsing of his heart into the maw of all-engulfing night.”

This Date in Art History: Born 3 October 1882 – A. Y. Jackson, a Canadian painter.

Below – “Red Maple”; “Northern Landscape, Great Bear Lake”; “Sunlit Tapestry”; “Aurora”; “Red Cedar”; “Gatineau.”

A Poem for Today

“Part of a Legacy”
by Frank Steele

I take pillows outdoors to sun them
as my mother did.  “Keeps bedding fresh,”
she said.  It was April then, too—
buttercups fluffing their frail sails,
one striped bee humming grudges, a crinkle
of jonquils.  Weeds reclaimed bare ground.
All of these leaked somehow
into the pillows, looking odd where they
simmered all day, the size of hams, out of place
on grass.  And at night I could feel
some part of my mother still with me
in the warmth of my face as I dreamed
baseball and honeysuckle, sleeping
on sunlight.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 2 October 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 2 October 1953 – John Marin, an American painter.

Below – “Hudson River Valley”; “Small Pond, Maine”; “Brooklyn Bridge”; “Autumn Scene”; “Hurricane.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 2 October 2005 – August Wilson, an American playwright, author of “Century Cycle,” and two-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes fro the work of August Wilson:

“I believe in the American theatre. I believe in its power to inform about the human condition, its power to heal … its power to uncover the truths we wrestle from uncertain and sometimes unyielding realities.”
“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”
“All of art is a search for ways of being, of living life more fully.”
“All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.”
“Blues is the bedrock of everything I do. All the characters in my plays, their ideas and their attitudes, the stance that they adopt in the world, are all ideas and attitudes that are expressed in the blues.”
“I am not a historian. I happen to think that the content of my mother’s life – her myths, her superstitions, her prayers, the contents of her pantry, the smell of her kitchen, the song that escaped from her sometimes parched lips, her thoughtful repose and pregnant laughter – are all worthy of art.”
“I’m trying to take culture and put it onstage, demonstrate it is capable of sustaining you. There is no idea that can’t be contained by life: Asian life, European life, certainly black life. My plays are about love, honor, duty, betrayal – things humans have written about since the beginning of time.”

This Date in Art History: Died 2 October 1971 – Jessie Arms Botke, an American painter.

Below – “Ducks”; “Flamingos, Swans, Egrets, and Birds at a Waterhole”; “Three Tropical Birds”; “Young Geese in a Birch Wood”; “White Necked Crane.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 October 1904 – Graham Greene, an English novelist, playwright, and essayist,

Some quotes from the work of Graham Greene:

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”
“Our worst enemies here are not the ignorant and simple, however cruel; our worst enemies are the intelligent and corrupt.”
“Hate is a lack of imagination.”
“It is always of interest to know what strikes another human being as remarkable.”
“One’s life is more formed, I sometimes think, by books than by human beings: it is out of books one learns about love and pain at second hand. Even if we have the happy chance to fall in love, it is because we have been conditioned by what we have read, and if I had never known love at all, perhaps it was because my father’s library had not contained the right books.”
“When we are not sure, we are alive.”
“Human nature is not black and white but black and grey.”
“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”

Contemporary South Korean Art – Gyunghwa Roh

Below – “Indeterminacy And Uncertainty”; “The woman who doesn’t breathe, And landscapes”; “A self portrait in a botanical garden.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 October 1941 – Diana Hendry, an English poet and author.

by Diana Hendry

Love should be like nasturtiums
shot through with sunshine and fire,
easily available, simply exuberant.

Love should be like nasturtiums
ignoring the obvious season of spring,
waiting until the summer is almost
over then going for it, rampant
running wild, catching on.

Love should be like nasturtiums
able to flourish on the poorest soil,
useful and beautiful, happy
anywhere. Enduring, common.

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Dmytro Bryzhak

Below – “Sunshine”; “Morn”; “Moonlight”; “Pink”; “Inside look”; “Iris.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 October 1879 – Wallace Stevens, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“The House Was Quiet and The World Was Calm”
by Wallace Stevens

The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night

Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.

The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,

Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.

The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.

And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself

Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.

Below – Karen Whitworth: “Jaidyn Reading a Book”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 1 October 2019

Greeting October

Below- James Tissot: “October”

Art for October – David Snider: “Mid October”

Musings in October: Ken Weber

“October, here’s to you. Here’s to the heady aroma of the frost-kissed apples, the winey smell of ripened grapes, the wild-as-the-wind smell of hickory nuts and the nostalgic whiff of that first wood smoke.”

Below – Aleksandr Kryushyn: “Mountain village: October”

Art for October – Karola Kiss: “October”

A Poem for October

by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

Art for October – Jerome Rochette: “October Field”

Musings in October: Rainbow Rowell

“October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!”

Below – Elizabeth C Grace: “October Snow on Blue Mountain”

Art for October – Blu Smith: “October Rain”

A Poem for October

“A Calendar of Sonnets: October”
by Helen Hunt Jackson

The month of carnival of all the year,
When Nature lets the wild earth go its way,
And spend whole seasons on a single day.
The spring-time holds her white and purple dear;
October, lavish, flaunts them far and near;
The summer charily her reds doth lay
Like jewels on her costliest array;
October, scornful, burns them on a bier.
The winter hoards his pearls of frost in sign
Of kingdom: whiter pearls than winter knew,
Or empress wore, in Egypt’s ancient line,
October, feasting ‘neath her dome of blue,
Drinks at a single draught, slow filtered through
Sunshiny air, as in a tingling wine!

Below – Franklin Carmichael: “October Gold”

Art for October – Mercedes Cecilia: “The Millstream October 2018”

Musings in October: Lucy Maud Montgomery

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”

Below – Green Gables in Autumn.

Art for October – Vern Rollin: “October Rain”

Musings in October: Friedrich Nietzsche

“What I really want from Music: That it be cheerful and profound like an afternoon in October.”

Below – Judith Finch: “October Glory”

Art for October – Serguei Borodouline: “Blue October”

This Date in Art History: Died 1 October 1929 – Antoine Bourdelle, a French sculptor.

Below – “Apollo with three of the nine muses”; “Day and Night”; “Sappho”; “La Liberte”; “Le Grande Penelope”; “Hannibal’s First Victory.”

Art for October – Maksym Mazur: “October”

A Poem for October

“When I Was Asked How I Could Leave Vermont In The Middle of October”
by Grace Paley

I did not want to be dependent on autumn
I wanted to miss it for once dropp into
another latitude where it wasn’t so
well knownI wanted to show that beauty
can be held in the breath just as we breathe
grief and betrayal they don’t always
have to be happening in the living minute

Look there it is now our own golden
wine-colored world-famous Vermont fall green
as summer to begin with and then the sunny
morning draws mist out of the cold night river
the maples are sweetened there’s a certain
skipped beat a scalding as you live that
loyal countryside ablaze trembling
toward its long winter nobody should have
to bear all that death-determined beauty
every single year this aging body knows
it can’t be borne

Below – Cherry Brewer: “October”

Art for October – Valerie Ornstein: “October Birch”

Musings in October: Humbert Wolfe

“Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, we have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”

Below – Bill Bustamante: “October Glows”

Art for October – Diana Prout: “October Excursion”

Musings in October: Hal Borland

“October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen. It is the distant hills once more in sight, and the enduring constellations above them once again.”

Below – The night sky in October.

Art for October – Martin Echtenberg: “Birch. October”

A Poem for October

“The Love for October”
by W.S. Merwin

A child looking at ruins grows younger
but cold
and wants to wake to a new name
I have been younger in October
than in all the months of spring
walnut and may leaves the color
of shoulders at the end of summer
a month that has been to the mountain
and become light there
the long grass lies pointing uphill
even in death for a reason
that none of us knows
and the wren laughs in the early shade now
come again shining glance in your good time
naked air late morning
my love is for lightness
of touch foot feather
the day is yet one more yellow leaf
and without turning I kiss the light
by an old well on the last of the month
gathering wild rose hips
in the sun

Art for October – Claude Monet: “Poplars”

This Date in Art History: Died 1 October 1958 – Robert Falk, a Russian painter.

Below – “Against a Siusane Background”; “Still life: Bottles and a Jug”; “Lisa in the Sunlight”; “Lady in a Yellow Blouse”; “Girl with Braids”; “Oranges in a Basket.”

Art for October – Winslow Homer: “An October Day”

Musings in October: Thomas Wolfe

“All things on earth point home in old October; sailors to sea, travellers to walls and fences, hunters to field and hollow and the long voice of the hounds, the lover to the love he has forsaken.”

Below – Edward Hopper: “Cape Cod in October”

Art for October – Childe Hassam: “Rainy Day, Boston”

Musings in October: David James Duncan

“Then in October, Indian Summer, the air turned so soft, the sunlight so fragile, and each day’s loveliness so poignantly doomed that even self-ignorance and restlessness felt like profound states of being, and he just wandered the empty beaches and misty headlands in a state of serene confusion and awe.”

Below- Roman Bashta: “Indian Summer”

Art for October – William Trost Richards: “October”

A Poem for October

by Louise Gluck

Is it winter again, is it cold again,
didn’t Frank just slip on the ice,
didn’t he heal, weren’t the spring seeds planted

didn’t the night end,
didn’t the melting ice
flood the narrow gutters

wasn’t my body
rescued, wasn’t it safe

didn’t the scar form, invisible
above the injury

terror and cold,
didn’t they just end, wasn’t the back garden
harrowed and planted-

I remember how the earth felt, red and dense,
in stiff rows, weren’t the seeds planted,
didn’t vines climb the south wall

I can’t hear your voice
for the wind’s cries, whistling over the bare ground

I no longer care
what sound it makes

when was I silenced, when did it first seem
pointless to describe that sound

what it sounds like can’t change what it is-

didn’t the night end, wasn’t the earth
safe when it was planted

didn’t we plant the seeds,
weren’t we necessary to the earth,

the vines, were they harvested?

Below – Jozsef Ronal Rippl: “Woman in the Garden”

Art for October – Jennifer Woodburn; “October 2010”

Musings in October: Joy Fielding

“October was always the least dependable of months … full of ghosts and shadows.”

Below – Maurice Sapiro: “The Witching Hour”

Art for October – John Singer Sargent: “The Black Brook”

A Poem for October

“A Letter in October”
by Ted Kooser

Dawn comes later and later now,
and I, who only a month ago
could sit with coffee every morning
watching the light walk down the hill
to the edge of the pond and place
a doe there, shyly drinking,

then see the light step out upon
the water, sowing reflections
to either side—a garden
of trees that grew as if by magic—
now see no more than my face,
mirrored by darkness, pale and odd,

startled by time. While I slept,
night in its thick winter jacket
bridled the doe with a twist
of wet leaves and led her away,
then brought its black horse with harness
that creaked like a cricket, and turned

the water garden under. I woke,
and at the waiting window found
the curtains open to my open face;
beyond me, darkness. And I,
who only wished to keep looking out,
must now keep looking in.

Art for October – Robert McAffee: “Northern Lights”

Welcome, Wonderful October

Below – Franklin Carmichael: “October Gold”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 30 September 2019

Contemporary Canadian Art – Kira Sokolovskaia: Part I of II.

Below – “Pine Under Snow”; “Deer Lake Park Early Spring”; “Schubert’s Concert”; “Lynn Creek in Winter Rocks.”

A Poem for Today

“Autumn Song”
by W. H. Auden

Now the leaves are falling fast,
Nurse’s flowers will not last;
Nurses to the graves are gone,
And the prams go rolling on.

Whispering neighbours, left and right,
Pluck us from the real delight;
And the active hands must freeze
Lonely on the separate knees.

Dead in hundreds at the back
Follow wooden in our track,
Arms raised stiffly to reprove
In false attitudes of love.

Starving through the leafless wood
Trolls run scolding for their food;
And the nightingale is dumb,
And the angel will not come.

Cold, impossible, ahead
Lifts the mountain’s lovely head
Whose white waterfall could bless
Travellers in their last distress.

Below – Photograph by Marcin Jagiellicz

Contemporary Canadian Art – Kira Sokolovskaia: Part II of II.

Below – “Still Life With Apples And A Plate”; “A Couple Of Geese”; “Pink Flowers in a Vase”; “Herring. School Of Fish.”

Musings in Autumn: Leslie Fiedler

“To be an American (unlike being English or French or whatever) is precisely to imagine a destiny rather than to inherit one; since we have always been, insofar as we are Americans at all, inhabitants of myth rather than history.”

Below – John Gast: “American Progress” (1872)

Contemporary Vietnamese Art – Thanh Nhan Ngo: Part I of II.

Below – “The Sea”; “Bamboo in yellow river”; “Ha Long Bay”; “Landscape”; “Ha noi street”; “Tan giang river.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 30 September 1904 – Waldo Williams, a Welsh poet.

“Our Lives”
by Waldo Williams

When they are a baby, can’t wait for them to grow up
From diapers and a bottle, to drinking from a cup
First they say some words, and then they start to talk
Take the first few steps, and then they start to walk
They were just a baby, it seems just like last year
Where has time gone to, rolling down a tear
Pictures tell their story, each one a different age
You can’t get time back, their memories on every page
Every time you turn around, they’re into something new
And suddenly you realize, how fast they really grew
There was kindergarten, helped overcome their fear
Where has time gone to, rolling down a tear
Still get into trouble, they may get out on a limb
Every time you see them, you see yourself in them
Can’t help but love them, to you they are the best
Made you proud, when they got an A on any given test
You wanted to slow down, they shift it up a gear
Where has time gone to, rolling down a tear
The time in the school play, when they were the star
Taught them to ride a bike, now they drive a car
Each day they grow older, now you become older too
You want your babies back, but there’s nothing you can do
Used to want to play, now they’re planning a career
Where has time gone to, it’s rolling down a tear

Below – Richard MacDonald: “Tricycle”

Contemporary Vietnamese Art – Thanh Nhan Ngo: Part II of II.

Below – “Landscape Ha long autumn”; “Lotus”; “Bananas river”; “Village riverside”; “Mid red river”; “Black Rose”; “Sad luna.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 30 September 1927 – W. S. Merwin, an American poet and translator.

“For the Anniversary of My Death”
by W. S. Merwin

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day
When the last fires will wave to me
And the silence will set out
Tireless traveller
Like the beam of a lightless star

Then I will no longer
Find myself in life as in a strange garment
Surprised at the earth
And the love of one woman
And the shamelessness of men
As today writing after three days of rain
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease
And bowing not knowing to what

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 29 September 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 29 September 1910 – Winslow Homer, an American painter, illustrator, and printmaker: Part I of II.

Below – “The Fog Warning”; “Moonlight”; “Girl and Laurel”; “The Gulf Stream”; “The Blue Boy”; “Bo-Peep.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 29 September 1902 – Emile Zola, a French novelist, playwright, and journalist.

Some quotes from the work of Emile Zola:

“Nothing develops intelligence like travel.”
“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”
“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.”
“Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.”
“Man’s highest duty is to protect animals from cruelty.”
“I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul.”
“Governments are suspicious of literature because it is a force that eludes them.”
“The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of men.”
“Respectable people… What bastards!”
“The only basis for living is believing in life, loving it, and applying the whole force of one’s intellect to know it better.”
“I am spending delightful afternoons in my garden, watching everything living around me. As I grow older, I feel everything departing, and I love everything with more passion.”

This Date in Art History: Died 29 September 1910 – Winslow Homer, an American painter, illustrator, and printmaker: Part II of II.

Below – “The Hudson River”; “Summer Night”; “Mink Pond”; “Eagle Head, Manchester, Massachusetts”; “Twilight at Leeds”; “The Green Hill.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 29 September 1864 – Miguel de Unamuno, a Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright, philosopher, professor of Greek and Classics, and author of “The Tragic Sense of Life.”

Some quotes from the work of Miguel de Unamuno:

“Fascism is cured by reading, and racism is cured by traveling.”
“That which the Fascists hate above all else, is intelligence.”
“We should try to be the parents of our future rather than the offspring of our past.”
“My aim is to agitate and disturb people. I’m not selling bread; I’m selling yeast.”
“Only in solitude do we find ourselves; and in finding ourselves, we find in ourselves all our brothers in solitude.”
“The less we read, the more harmful it is what we read.Love is the child of illusion and the parent of disillusion.”
“The skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches, as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found.”
“Men shout to avoid listening to one another.”
“Everything that exalts and expands consciousness is good, while that which depresses and diminishes it is evil.”

This Date in Art History: Died 29 September 2005 – Patrick Caulfield, an English painter.

Below – “After Lunch”; “Pottery”; “Sweet Bowl”; “Still Life Ingredients”; “Still Life: Autumn Fashion”; “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon vues de derrière.”

A Poem for Today

“Car Showroom”
by Jonathan Holden

Day after day, along with his placid
automobiles, that well-groomed
sallow young man had been waiting for
me, as in the cheerful, unchanging
weather of a billboard—pacing
the tiles, patting his tie, knotting, un-
knotting the façade of his smile
while staring out the window.
He was so bad at the job
he reminded me of myself
the summer I failed
at selling ‘Time’ and ‘Life’ in New Jersey.
Even though I was a boy
I could feel someone else’s voice
crawl out of my mouth,
spoiling every word,
like this cowed, polite kid in his tie
and badge that said Greg,
saying ‘Ma’am’ to my wife, calling
me ‘Sir’, retailing the air with such piety
I had to find anything out the window.
Maybe the rain.  It was gray
and as honestly wet as ever.  Something
we could both believe.

Contemporary British Art – James Wallace: Part I of II.

Below – “Ryan and the night voyage of the swans”; “Playing badminton during the eclipse”; “The Moondancers Cafe Brittany France”; “A Summer Breeze”; “Japanese girl in the sun”; “The ballerinas.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 29 September 1967 – Carson McCullers, an American novelist, playwright, essayist, poet, and author of “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.”

Some quotes from the work of Carson McCullers:

“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”
“There is no stillness like the quiet of the first cold nights in the fall.”
“Falling in love is the easiest thing in the world. It’s standing in love that matters.”
“For fear is a primary source of evil. And when the question ‘Who am I?’ recurs and is unanswered, then fear and frustration project a negative attitude. The bewildered soul can answer only: ‘Since I do not understand “Who I am,” I only know what I am not.’ The corollary of this emotional incertitude is snobbism, intolerance and racial hate. The xenophobic individual can only reject and destroy, as the xenophobic nation inevitably makes war.”
“I must go home periodically to renew my sense of horror.”
“Nothing is so musical as the sound of pouring bourbon for the first drink on a Sunday morning. Not Bach or Schubert or any of those masters.”
“I’m a stranger in a strange land.”
“How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?”
“It was better to be in a jail where you could bang the walls than in a jail you could not see.”
“Love is a joint experience between two persons — but the fact that it is a joint experience does not mean that it is a similar experience to the two people involved.”
“To know who you are, you have to have a place to come from.”
“Love is the bridge that leads from the I sense to the We, and there is a paradox about personal love. Love of another individual opens a new relation between the personality and the world. The lover responds in a new way to nature and may even write poetry. Love is affirmation; it motivates the yes responses and the sense of wider communication. Love casts out fear, and in the security of this togetherness we find contentment, courage. We no longer fear the age-old haunting questions: ‘Who am I?’ ‘Why am I?’ ‘Where am I going?’ – and having cast out fear, we can be honest and charitable.”
“The Heart is a lonely hunter with only one desire! To find some lasting comfort in the arms of another’s fire…driven by a desperate hunger to the arms of a neon light, the heart is a lonely hunter when there’s no sign of love in sight!”

Contemporary British Art – James Wallace: Part II of II.

Below – “Misty”; “The Imitator”; “The Sleepwalker”; “The Boy With The Book of Secrets”; “The Haunting of the Topiary Garden”; “Five to Two.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 29 September 1973 – W. H. Auden, an English-American poet, playwright, critic, and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone”
by W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 28 September 2019

This Date in Art History: Died 28 September 1899 – Giovanni Segantini, an Austrian painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Midday in the Alps”; “Return from the Woods”; “Alpine Landscape”; “Idyll”; “Alpine Triptych: Nature”; “The Punishment of Lust.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 28 September 2016 – Gloria Naylor, an American novelist, author of “The Women of Brewster Place,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Gloria Naylor:

“Not only is your story worth telling, but it can be told in words so painstakingly eloquent that it becomes a song.”
“I don’t believe that life is supposed to make you feel good, or to make you feel miserable either. Life is just supposed to make you feel.”
“A loud voice is not always angry; a soft voice not always to be dismissed; and a well-placed silence can be the indisputable last word.”
“Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.”
“In a contest between new technology and old ways of life, it is the traditional rhythms that will hold. Traditional societies make up more than two-thirds of the world, the two-thirds that will not be going online to ‘save’ time but will remain wedded to the knowledge that if the bus doesn’t come that day, it will come someday. After all, there is nothing but time.”
“Spoiled. That’s all it’s about – can’t live without this, can’t live without that. You can live without anything you weren’t born with, and you can make it through on even half of that.”
“Life is accepting what is and working from that.”

This Date in Art History: Died 28 September 1899 – Giovanni Segantini, an Austrian painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Alpine Triptych: Life”; “Love at the Fountain of Life”; “Bagpipers of Brianna”; “Virágcsendélet vázában”; “The Bad Mothers”; “Vanitas.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 28 September 1993 – Peter De Vries, an American novelist, humorist, and editor.

Some quotes from the work of Peter De Vries:

“The difficulty with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but must live with a character.”
“Life is a zoo in a jungle.”
“A hundred years ago Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter was given an A for adultery; today she would rate no better than a C-plus.”
“The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults.”
“The idea of a Supreme Being who creates a world in which one creature is designed to eat another in order to subsist, and then pass a law saying, “Thou shalt not kill,” is so monstrously, immeasurably, bottomlessly absurd that I am at a loss to understand how mankind has entertained or given it house room all this long.”
“Everybody hates me because I’m so universally liked.”
“Life is a crowded superhighway with bewildering cloverleaf exits on which a man is liable to find himself speeding back in the direction he came.”
“He resented such questions as people do who have thought a great deal about them. The superficial and slipshod have ready answers, but those looking this complex life straight in the eye acquire a wealth of perception so composed of delicately balanced contradictions that they dread, or resent, the call to couch any part of it in a bland generalization. The vanity (if not outrage) of trying to cage this dance of atoms in a single definition may give the weariness of age with the cry of youth for answers the appearance of boredom.”
“A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.”
“I was thinking that we all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school.”
“My father hated radio and could not wait for television to be invented so he could hate that too.”
“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.”
“How do you expect mankind to be happy in pairs when it is miserable separately?”
“The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.”

Contemporary British Art – Ruth Mulvie

Below – “Parasols”; “Skate the Rainbow”; “Paradiso”; “The Racers”; “Pool House at the Raleigh.”

A Poem for Today

“Summer Job”
by Richard Hoffman

“The trouble with intellectuals,” Manny, my boss,
once told me, “is that they don’t know nothing
till they can explain it to themselves.  A guy like that,”
he said, “he gets to middle age—and by the way,
he gets there late; he’s trying to be a boy until
he’s forty, forty-five, and then you give him five
more years until that craziness peters out, and now
he’s almost fifty—a guy like that at last explains
to himself that life is made of time, that time
is what it’s all about.  Aha! he says.  And then
he either blows his brains out, gets religion,
or settles down to some major-league depression.
Make yourself useful.  Hand me that three-eights
torque wrench—no, you moron, the other one.”

Contemporary American Art – Charles Wilkin

Artist Statement: “My work is a loose collection of thoughts and observations in many ways and less about one specific theme. I see it as being a reflection of the world we live in, with all its ugliness and cruelty. But from that, I strive to extract the beauty and empathy hidden underneath and within us all, revealing the unknown, the unspoken and intangible things that make us truly human. For me, collage as a medium replicates this frenetic and inherent collision of people, culture, and emotions we all experience. I believe the true meaning of my work is derived directly from the intertwining of these associations, and the spontaneity of my creative process. This gives my work the freedom to live creatively in the moment, and the ability to respond to current events, despite my imagery being derived primarily from vintage magazines.”

Below – “The Wake”; “Hexes”; “Tipping Point”; “In Ruins”; “Color Burns”; “Somewhere, Nowhere.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 28 September 1891 – Herman Melville, an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and author of “Moby Dick.”

Some quotes from the work of Herman Melville:

“Call me Ishmael.”
“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”
“No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses.”
“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”
“As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.”
“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own.”
“There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains; so that even in his lowest swoop the mountain eagle is still higher than other birds upon the plain, even though they soar.”
“Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks. Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began. Consider all this; and then turn to the green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!”
“Queequeg was a native of Kokovoko, an island far away to the West and South. It is not down in any map; true places never are.”

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 27 September 2019

Contemporary British Art – Gary Anderson

Below – “Drifting Home”; “Signing Off”; “Swamping”; “Beyond Green Belt”; “View from my garret”; “Windy over Langshaw.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 27 September 2005 – Mary Lee Settle, an American writer, author of “Blood Tie,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Mary Lee Settle:

“The first time you are reconciled to the terrible unfairness of disappointment, you are getting old.”
“Recorded history is wrong. It’s wrong because the voiceless have no voice in it.”
“To paraphrase Thoreau, it was not sherry I drank nor I who drank sherry; it was the wine of the Hesperides and I was served it by the wind from the west.”
“Having watched herself in the speckled mirror … she was already shocked beyond surprise at what the flat hand of age could do.”
“I start with a question. Then try to answer it.”

Contemporary French Art – Chris Stevens

Below – “Dreaming of the Arc”; “Q & A”; “20 Avenue de L’Abbaye”; “Fuzztone”; “Had a Smoke, Had a Dream”; “Breaking Bad.”

A Poem for Today

“Ode to Marbles”
by Max Mendelsohn

I love the sound of marbles
scattered on the worn wooden floor,
like children running away in a game of hide-and-seek.
I love the sight of white marbles,
blue marbles,
green marbles, black,
new marbles, old marbles,
iridescent marbles,
with glass-ribboned swirls,
dancing round and round.
I love the feel of marbles,
cool, smooth,
rolling freely in my palm,
like smooth-sided stars
that light up the worn world.

Note: Max Mendelsohn wrote this poem when he was twelve years old.

Contemporary Canadian Art – Mitch Davis-Mann

Below – “Gravity”; “Exonerate”; “Inevitable”; “Alone in Nowhere.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 27 September 1906 – William Empson, an English literary critic and poet.

Some quotes from the work of William Empson:

“This world is good enough for me, if only I can be good enough for it.”
“Life involves maintaining oneself between contradictions that can’t be solved by analysis.”
“Proust has listed a great many reasons why it is impossible to be happy, but, in the course of being happy, one finds it difficult to remember them.”
“The difficult part of good temper consists in forbearance, and accommodation to the ill-humors of others.”
“The central function of imaginative literature is to make you realize that other people act on moral convictions different from your own.”

Contemporary British Art – Nigel Sharman

Below – “Prizewinners”; “Still Life With Sliced Apple”; “Still Life With Glass and Bottle”; “Two Fishing Boats With Shadows”; “Japanese Table”; “Skinny Dippers II.”

A Poem for Today

“The Epic Stars”
by Robinson Jeffers

The heroic stars spending themselves,
Coining their very flesh into bullets for the lost battle,
They must burn out at length like used candles;
And Mother Night will weep in her triumph, taking home her heroes.
There is the stuff for an epic poem-
This magnificent raid at the heart of darkness, this lost battle-
We don’t know enough, we’ll never know.
Oh happy Homer, taking the stars and the Gods for granted.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment

Sentient in San Francisco – 26 September 2019

Contemporary Dutch Art – Kay Sleking

Below – “Two Storks”; “Stern”; “Harbor”; “Sterns”; “Sea Sonnet Nr. 6 Birds”; “Sea Sonnet Nr. 5 – View Towards Sea.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 September 1949 – Jane Smiley, an American novelist, author of “A Thousand Acres” (a modernized retelling of Shakespeare’s “King Lear”), and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Jane Smiley:

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
“A child who is protected from all controversial ideas is as vulnerable as a child who is protected from every germ. The infection, when it comes- and it will come- may overwhelm the system, be it the immune system or the belief system.”
“Whatever you love is beautiful; love comes first, beauty follows. The greater your capacity for love, the more beauty you find in the world.”
“But what truly horsey girls discover in the end is that boyfriends, husbands, children, and careers are the substitute-for horses.”
“I was depressed, but that was a side issue. This was more like closing up shop, or, say, having a big garage sale, where you look at everything you’ve bought in your life, and you remember how much it meant to you, and now you just tag it for a quarter and watch ’em carry it off, and you don’t care. That’s more like how it was.”
“I loved the house the way you would any new house, because it is populated by your future, the family of children who will fill it with noise or chaos and satisfying busy pleasures.”
“Men are competent in groups that mimic the playground, incompetent in groups that mimic the family.”
“You know what getting married is? It’s agreeing to taking this person who right now is at the top of his form, full of hopes and ideas, feeling good, looking good, wildly interested in you because you’re the same way, and sticking by him while he slowly disintegrates. And he does the same for you. You’re his responsibility now and he’s yours. If no one else will take care of him, you will. If everyone else rejects you, he won’t. What do you think love is? Going to bed all the time?”

Contemporary British Art – Michael James Talbot: Part I of II.

Below – “Reborn – Lauren Cuthbertson”; “Seraphina”; “Freya”; “Ariadne”; “Heart’s Ease of Pleasure.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 September 1897 – Edwin Keppel Bennett, an English writer and poet.

“The Stranger”
by Edwin Keppel Bennett

The room grows silent, and the dead return:
Whispering faintly in the corridor,
They try the latch and steal across the floor
Towards my chair; and in the hush I turn
Eagerly to the shadows, and discern
The ghosts of friends whom I shall see no more,
Come back, come back from some Lethean shore
To the old kindly life for which they yearn.

How still they are! O, wherefore can I see
No sign of recognition in the eyes
That gaze in mine? Have they forgotten me
Who was their friend? They fade into the gloom;
And on my heart their plaintive murmur dies:
“A stranger now, a stranger fills his room.”

Contemporary British Art – Nicholas Guttridge

Below (photographs) – “Brenda Lee Photographed at Studio Wayne McGregor 2017”; “Oihana Vesga & Photographed at Yuko Shiraishi Installation at Annely Juda Fine Art in 2018”;“Iceberg Swimming Club, Sydney, Australia “; “Nafisah Baba Photographed at Park Village Studios 2019.”; “Paje Campbell Photographed at Studio Wayne McGregor 2019”; “Kyle White Photographed at Studio Wayne McGregor 2019.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 26 September 1904 – Lafcadio Hearn, a Greek-American-Japanese writer and author of “Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things” (four episodes of which were made into a remarkable 1965 movie – “Kwaidan” – “Ghost Stories” -directed by Masaki Kobayashi). In the words of one writer, “In Japan he married a Japanese woman with whom he had four children, and became a naturalized Japanese citizen. His writings about Japan offered the Western world a glimpse into a largely unknown but fascinating culture.”

Some quotes from the work of Lafcadio Hearn:

“No man can possibly know what life means, what the world means, until he has a child and loves it. And then the whole universe changes and nothing will ever again seem exactly as it seemed before.”
“All good work is done the way ants do things: Little by little.”
“In order to comprehend the beauty of a Japanese garden, it is necessary to understand – or at least to learn to understand – the beauty of stone.”
“Times are not good here [New Orleans]. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become a study for archaeologists…but it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio.”
“A great many things which in times of lesser knowledge we imagined to be superstitious or useless, prove today on examination to have been of immense value to mankind.”
“I often imagine that the longer he studies English literature the more the Japanese student must be astonished at the extraordinary predominance given to the passion of love both in fiction and in poetry.”
“Woo the muse of the odd.”
“Japanese affection is not uttered in words; it scarcely appears even in the tone of voice; it is chiefly shown in acts of exquisite courtesy and kindness.”
“The more you wish to be, the wiser you are; while the wish to have is apt to be foolish in proportion to its largeness.”
“Whatever doubts or vexations one has in Japan, it is only necessary to ask one’s self: ‘Well, who are the best people to live with?’”
“How sweet Japanese woman is! All the possibilities of the race for goodness seem to be concentrated in her.”
“The Shadow-maker shapes forever.”

Below – Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo), shown with his wife Koizumi Setsu, whose family name he took.

Contemporary British Art – Michael James Talbot: Part II of II.

Below – “Midday Sun”; “Cortigiana.”“Amethyst”; “Beckoning.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 26 September 1886 – T, S. Eliot, an American-born British poet, playwright, essayist, literary and social critic, and recipient of the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature.

by T. S. Eliot

The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.

And then the lighting of the lamps.

The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.

You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed’s edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.

His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o’clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.

I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

Posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Opinion | Leave a comment