Wandering in Woodacre – 8 January 2021

Art for Today: Born 1 January 1864 – Qi Baishi, a Chinese painter.

Below – “Cicada”; “Preparation”; “Briar”; “Green wine”; “Lotus and Dragonfly”; “Bindweed and grapes.”

A Poem for Today: Born 3 January 1933 – Anne Stevenson, an award-winning British-born American poet.

“Poem for a Daughter”
by Anne Stevenson

‘I think I’m going to have it,’
I said, joking between pains.
The midwife rolled competent
sleeves over corpulent milky arms.
‘Dear, you never have it,
we deliver it.’
A judgement the years proved true.
Certainly I’ve never had you

as you still have me, Caroline.
Why does a mother need a daughter?
Heart’s needle, hostage to fortune,
freedom’s end. Yet nothing’s more perfect
than that bleating, razor-shaped cry
that delivers a mother to her baby.
The bloodcord snaps that held
their sphere together. The child,
tiny and alone, creates the mother.

A woman’s life is her own
until it is taken away
by a first, particular cry.
Then she is not alone
but a part of the premises
of everything there is:
a time, a tribe, a war.
When we belong to the world
we become what we are.

Below – Gustave Klimt: “The mother and the child”

Art for Today: Died 3 January 1965 – Milton Avery, an American painter.

Below – “Green Sea”; “Autumn”; “White Moon”; “Bridge to the Sea”; “Oregon Coast”; “Blue Nude.”

A Poem for Today: Born 3 January 1886 – John Gould Fletcher, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“Chinese Poet Among Barbarians”
by John Gould Fletcher

The rain drives, drives endlessly,
Heavy threads of rain;
The wind beats at the shutters,
The surf drums on the shore;
Drunken telegraph poles lean sideways;
Dank summer cottages gloom hopelessly;
Bleak factory-chimneys are etched on the filmy distance,
Tepid with rain.
It seems I have lived for a hundred years
Among these things;
And it is useless for me now to make complaint against them.
For I know I shall never escape from this dull barbarian country,
Where there is none now left to lift a cool jade winecup,
Or share with me a single human thought.

Below – Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Art for Today – Born 4 January 1884 – Guy Pene du Bois, an American painter.

Below – “An American Oriental”; “Elsa”; “young woman seated on a chair”; “Women in Studio”; “The Couple”; “The Confidence Man.”

A Literary Master: Born 4 January 1940 – Gao Xingjian, a Chinese novelist, playwright, critic, author of “Soul Mountain,” and recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Gao Xingjian:

“If you want to do anything, do it now, without compromise or concession, because you have only one life. Dreams are more real than reality itself, they’re closer to the self.”
“Loneliness is a prerequisite for freedom. Freedom depends on the ability to reflect, and reflection can only begin when one is alone.”
“The human species does not necessarily move in stages from progress to progress … history and civilization do not advance in tandem. From the stagnation of Medieval Europe to the decline and chaos in recent times on the mainland of Asia and to the catastrophes of two world wars in the twentieth century, the methods of killing people became increasingly sophisticated. Scientific and technological progress certainly does not imply that humankind as a result becomes more civilized.”
“Some distance away is a white azalea bush which stuns me with its stately beauty. This is pristine natural beauty. it is irrepressible, seeks no reward, and is without goal, a beauty derived neither from symbolism nor metaphor and needing neither analogies nor associations.”
“To subvert is not the aim of literature, its value lies in discovering and revealing what is rarely known, little known, thought to be known but in fact not very well known of the truth of the human world. It would seem that truth is the unassailable and most basic quality of literature.”
“Truth refuses to be subservient to either politics or the market.”
“You contemplate and you wander without any worries, between heaven and earth, in your own private world, and in this way you acquire supreme freedom.”

Art forToday: Died 6 January 1902 – Lars Hertervig, a Norwegian painter.

Below – “Forest Lake”; “Old Pine Trees”; “Coastal Landscape”; “Borgoy Island”; “View of Tysvaer”; “Summer Landscape, Thunder looms.”

A Poem for Today: Born 5 January 1926 – W. D. Snodgrass, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“April Inventory”
by W. D. Snodgrass

The green catalpa tree has turned
All white; the cherry blooms once more.
In one whole year I haven’t learned
A blessed thing they pay you for.
The blossoms snow down in my hair;
The trees and I will soon be bare.

The trees have more than I to spare.
The sleek, expensive girls I teach,
Younger and pinker every year,
Bloom gradually out of reach.
The pear tree lets its petals drop
Like dandruff on a tabletop.

The girls have grown so young by now
I have to nudge myself to stare.
This year they smile and mind me how
My teeth are falling with my hair.
In thirty years I may not get
Younger, shrewder, or out of debt.

The tenth time, just a year ago,
I made myself a little list
Of all the things I’d ought to know,
Then told my parents, analyst,
And everyone who’s trusted me
I’d be substantial, presently.

I haven’t read one book about
A book or memorized one plot.
Or found a mind I did not doubt.
I learned one date. And then forgot.
And one by one the solid scholars
Get the degrees, the jobs, the dollars.

And smile above their starchy collars.
I taught my classes Whitehead’s notions;
One lovely girl, a song of Mahler’s.
Lacking a source-book or promotions,
I showed one child the colors of
A luna moth and how to love.

I taught myself to name my name,
To bark back, loosen love and crying;
To ease my woman so she came,
To ease an old man who was dying.
I have not learned how often I
Can win, can love, but choose to die.

I have not learned there is a lie
Love shall be blonder, slimmer, younger;
That my equivocating eye
Loves only by my body’s hunger;
That I have forces, true to feel,
Or that the lovely world is real.

While scholars speak authority
And wear their ulcers on their sleeves,
My eyes in spectacles shall see
These trees procure and spend their leaves.
There is a value underneath
The gold and silver in my teeth.

Though trees turn bare and girls turn wives,
We shall afford our costly seasons;
There is a gentleness survives
That will outspeak and has its reasons.
There is a loveliness exists,
Preserves us, not for specialists.

Below – A catalpa tree in bloom.

This Date in Art History: Born 8 January 1836 – Lawrence Alma-Tadema, A Dutch painter who resided in England from 1870 until his death in 1912.

Below – “The Roses of Heliogabalus”; “Sappho and Alcaeus”; “A Dedication to Bacchus”; “Silver Favourites”; “Spring”; “An Eloquent Silence.”

A Poem for Today: Born 6 January 1949 – Carolyn D. Wright, an award-winning American poet.

by Carolyn D. Wright
“Everything Good between Men and Women”

has been written in mud and butter
and barbecue sauce. The walls and
the floors used to be gorgeous.
The socks off-white and a near match.
The quince with fire blight
but we get two pints of jelly
in the end. Long walks strengthen
the back. You with a fever blister
and myself with a sty. Eyes
have we and we are forever prey
to each other’s teeth. The torrents
go over us. Thunder has not harmed
anyone we know. The river coursing
through us is dirty and deep. The left
hand protects the rhythm. Watch
your head. No fires should be
unattended. Especially when wind. Each
receives a free swiss army knife.
The first few tongues are clearly
preparatory. The impression
made by yours I carry to my grave. It is
just so sad so creepy so beautiful.
Bless it. We have so little time
to learn, so much… The river
courses dirty and deep. Cover the lettuce.
Call it a night. O soul. Flow on. Instead.

Below – Raul Lara: “Faces Serie 7”

This Date in Art History: Died 8 January 1925 – George Bellows, an American painter.

Below – “Dempsey and Firpo”; “Cliff Dwellers”; “Men of the Docks”; “Summer Night, Riverside Drive”; “Evening Blue”; “Summer Fantasy.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 8 January 1927 – Charles Tomlinson, an award-winning English poet.

“A Rose for Janet”
by Charles Tomlinson

I know
this rose is only
an ink-and-paper rose
but see how it grows and goes
on growing
beneath your eyes:
a rose in flower
has had (almost) its vegetable hour
whilst my
rose of spaces and typography
can reappear at will
(you will)
whenever you repeat
this ceremony of the eye
from the beginning
and thus
learn how

Below – “Rose,” courtesy of Radhapada.

Contemporary American Art – Jon Christopher Gernon

Below – “The Radiant Sisters”; “Persephone”; “Irezumi Dreams”;”I Am From Elsewhere”; “Metamorphosis”; “Blossom #2.”

A Poem for Today

“Green Pear Tree in September”
by Freya Manfred

On a hill overlooking the Rock River
my father’s pear tree shimmers,
in perfect peace,
covered with hundreds of ripe pears
with pert tops, plump bottoms,
and long curved leaves.
Until the green-haloed tree
rose up and sang hello,
I had forgotten. . .
He planted it twelve years ago,
when he was seventy-three,
so that in September
he could stroll down
with the sound of the crickets
rising and falling around him,
and stand, naked to the waist,
slightly bent, sucking juice
from a ripe pear.

Below – Pierre Auguste Renoir: “The Pear Tree”

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Wandering in Woodacre -21 December 2020: The First Day of Winter

Greeting Winter

Below – Andrew Bret Wallis: “Winter Solstice Two”

Art for Winter – Chelsea Davine: “Blue Mountains”

A Poem for Winter

“Winter Love”
by Linda Gregg

I would like to decorate this silence,
but my house grows only cleaner
and more plain. The glass chimes I hung
over the register ring a little
when the heat goes on.
I waited too long to drink my tea.
It was not hot. It was only warm.

Below – Natalia Baykalova: “Cup of Tea”

Art for Winter – Garry McMichael: “Alone, Winter Solstice”

A Poem for Winter

“Winter Trees”
by William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Below – Peter Christensen: “Trees in Winter”

Art for Winter – Hadley Rampton: “Flowing”

Musings in Winter: John Updike

“The days are short,
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.”

Below – Margarita Ivanova: “Sun, winter and river”

Art for Winter – Natalia Baykalova: “Air”

A Poem for Winter

by Tess Gallagher

I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow
on the mountain. But when I look up,
saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in
the uppermost branches.
I don’t cut that one.
I don’t cut the others either.
Suddenly, in every tree,
an unseen nest
where a mountain
would be.

Art for Winter – Veneta Karamfilova: “Winter Shades” (photograph)

A Poem for Winter

“The Snow Fairy”
by Claude McKay


Throughout the afternoon I watched them there,
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky,
Whirling fantastic in the misty air,
Contending fierce for space supremacy.
And they flew down a mightier force at night,
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot,
And they, frail things had taken panic flight
Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet.
I went to bed and rose at early dawn
To see them huddled together in a heap,
Each merged into the other upon the lawn,
Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep.
The sun shone brightly on them half the day,
By night they stealthily had stol’n away.

And suddenly my thoughts then turned to you
Who came to me upon a winter’s night,
When snow-sprites round my attic window flew,
Your hair disheveled, eyes aglow with light.
My heart was like the weather when you came,
The wanton winds were blowing loud and long;
But you, with joy and passion all aflame,
You danced and sang a lilting summer song.
I made room for you in my little bed,
Took covers from the closet fresh and warm,
A downful pillow for your scented head,
And lay down with you resting in my arm.
You went with Dawn. You left me ere the day,
The lonely actor of a dreamy play.

Below – Izabella Hornung: “Winter Dream”

Art for Winter – Richard Kattman: “Magic Mountain”

Musings in winter: Anamika Mishra

“Winter is not a season, it’s a celebration.”

Below – Olga Kvasha: “Those who rejoice in the snow”

Art for Winter – Matthieu van Riel: “Winter Landscape with Birches”

A Poem for Winter

“Horses in Snow”
by Roberta Hall Whitman

They are a gift I have wanted again.
Wanted: One moment in mountains
when winter got so cold
the oil froze before it could burn.
I chopped ferns of hoarfrost from all the windows
and peered up at pines, a wedding cake
by a baker gone mad. Swirls by the thousand
shimmered above me until a cloud
lumbered over a ridge,
bringing the heavier white of more flurries.

I believed, I believed, I believed
it would last, that when you went out
to test the black ice or to dig out a Volkswagon
filled with rich women, you’d return
and we’d sputter like oil,
match after match, warm in the making.
Wisconsin’s flat farmland never approved:
I hid in cornfields far into October,
listening to music that whirled from my thumbprint.
When sunset played havoc with bright leaves of alders,

I never mentioned longing or fear.
I crouched like a good refugee in brown creeks
and forgot why Autumn is harder than Spring.
But snug on the western slope of that mountain
I’d accept every terror, break open seals
to release love’s headwaters to unhurried sunlight.
Weren’t we Big Hearts? Through some trick of silver
we held one another, believing each motion the real one,
ah, lover, why were dark sources bundled up
in our eyes? Each owned an agate,

marbled with anguish, a heart or its echo,
we hardly knew. Lips touching lips,
did that break my horizon
as much as those horses broke my belief?
You drove off and I walked the old road,
scolding the doubles that wanted so much.
The chestnut mare whinnied a cloud into scrub pine.
In a windless corner of a corral,
four horses fit like puzzle pieces.
Their dark eyes and lashes defined by the white.

The colt kicked his hind, loped from the fence.
The mares and a stallion galloped behind,
lifting and leaping, finding each other
in full accord with the earth and their bodies.
No harm ever touched them once they cut loose,
snorting at flurries falling again.
How little our chances for feeling ourselves.
They vanished so quickly—one flick of a tail.
Where do their mountains and moments begin?
I stood a long time in sharpening wind.

Below – Stu Sporn: “Horses in Snow” (photograph)

Art for Winter – Anastasia Kachina: “Birch grove”

Welcome, Wonderful Winter

Below – Glib Franko: “Winter Garden”

Friends: This is my last post of 2020. I will be spending time with my family during the holiday season. I will resume posting on 8 January 2021. In the meantime, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Kwanzaa, and a Happy New Year.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 20 December 2020

Contemporary British Art – Felicity Gill

Below – “Facet 3”; “Fab”; “Nicole”; “Facet 7”; “Facet 4”; “Embrace II.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 December 2008 – Adrian Mitchell, an English poet, novelist, playwright, and journalist.

“Human Beings”

by Adrian Mitchell

look at your hands
your beautiful useful hands
you’re not an ape
you’re not a parrot
you’re not a slow loris
or a smart missile
you’re human

not british
not american
not israeli
not palestinian
you’re human

not catholic
not protestant
not muslim
not hindu
you’re human

we all start human
we end up human
human first
human last
we’re human
or we’re nothing

nothing but bombs
and poison gas
nothing but guns
and torturers
nothing but slaves
of Greed and War
if we’re not human

look at your body
with its amazing systems
of nerve-wires and blood canals
think about your mind
which can think about itself
and the whole universe
look at your face
which can freeze into horror
or melt into love
look at all that life
all that beauty
you’re human
they are human
we are human
let’s try to be human


Contemporary Turkish Art – A G Ehsan

Below – “Halftone series No:5”; “Halftone series No:4”; “Darkness verse No:4”; “Darkness verse No:1”; Untitled; “Blue.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 20 December 1954 – Sandra Cisneros, an award-winning American Chicana novelist, poet, and author of “The House on Mango Street.”

Some quotes from the work of Sandra Cisneros:

“You can’t erase what you know. You can’t forget who you are.”
“If you know two cultures and two languages, that intermediate place, where the two don’t perfectly meet, is really interesting.”
“The beauty of literature is you allow readers to see things through other people’s eyes. All good books do this.”
“The most powerful speaking you can do is the speaking that comes from your heart and your love.”
“Maybe all pain in the world requires poetry.”
“You can never have too much sky . You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it.”
“Once you can open yourself to joy, you feel as if you’ve transformed your sadness into illumination, which is really all that art is. All we want to do is transform the negative emotions into light. We want to compost them into light.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Matvey Dergachev

Below – “Open window”; “1/4 of the year”; “Portrait in the shadows”; “Ball”; “Mouse.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 December 1954 – James Hilton, an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and author of “Lost Horizon” and “Goodbye, Mr. Chips.”

Some quotes from the work of James Hilton:

“I dislike organized games, swimming pools, fashionable resorts, night clubs, music in restaurants, and political manifestoes; I enjoy driving from coast to coast, good food and drink, a few friends, dogs, the theatre, long walks, music and free conversation.”
“What a host of little incidents, all deep-buried in the past — problems that had once been urgent, arguments that had once been keen, anecdotes that were funny only because one remembered the fun. Did any emotion really matter when the last trace of it had vanished from human memory; and if that were so, what a crowd of emotions clung to him as to their last home before annihilation? He must be kind to them, must treasure them in his mind before their long sleep.”
“When it comes to believing things without actual evidence, we all incline to what we find most attractive.”
“When you are getting on in years (but not ill, of course), you get very sleepy at times, and the hours seem to pass like lazy cattle moving across a landscape.”
“The first quarter-century of your life was doubtless lived under the cloud of being too young for things, while the last quarter-century would normally be shadowed by the still darker cloud of being too old for them; and between those two clouds, what small and narrow sunlight illumines a human lifetime!”

Contemporary British Art – Pippa Young

Below – “Self-perpetuating”; “Self-restraint”; “The half truth”; “Self-imposed”; “Self-inflicted”; “Silent memory.”

Died 20 December 1968 – John Steinbeck, an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, author of “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Travels With Charley in Search Of America,” and recipient of the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the Nobel Prize in Literature,

Some quotes from the work of John Steinbeck:

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
“It has always seemed strange to me… the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.”
“Books are the best friends you can have; they inform you, and entertain you, and they don’t talk back.”
“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.”
“To be alive at all is to have scars.”
I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen.”
“It is a time of quiet joy, the sunny morning. When the glittery dew is on the mallow weeds, each leaf holds a jewel which is beautiful if not valuable. This is no time for hurry or for bustle. Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.”

Contemporary Macedonian Art – Mirko Vujisic

Below – “Behind the Cloud”; “Unfinished Dream”; “Soul”; “Nostalgia”; “Interior Portrait”; “Julia’s Letter.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 20 December 1997 – Denise Levertov, an award-winning British-born American poet.

“Losing Track”
by Denise Levertov

Long after you have swung back
Away from me
I think you are still with me:

You come in close to the shore
On the tide
And nudge me awake the way

A boat adrift nudges the pier:
Am I a pier
Half-in half-out of the water?

And in the pleasure of that communion
I lose track,
The moon I watch goes down, the

Tide swings you away before
I know I’m
Alone again long since,

Mud sucking at gray and black
Timbers of me,
A light growth of green dreams drying.

Below – Alona Lukianchuk: “Solitude 2” (photograph)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 19 December 2020

This Date in Art History: Died 19 December 1851 – J. M. W. Turner, and English painter, printmaker, and watercolorist.

Below – “Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway”: “The Fighting Temeraire, tugged to her last berth to be broken. up”; “Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth”; “Valley of Aosta: Snowstorm, Avalanche and Thunderstorm”; “Northern Castle, Sunrise”; “The Burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons.”

A Poem for Today

by Sagawa Chika (Japanese, 1911-1936)

Seasons change their gloves
The three o’clock
Trace of sun
Of flower petals that bury the pavement
A black and white screen
Eyes are covered by clouds
Evening sets on some promiseless day

This Date in Art History: Born 19 December 1928 – Nathan Oliveira, an American painter and sculptor.

Below – “Figure with Blue Eyes”; “Blue and White Hawk”; “Pessoa’s Sleigh II”; “Standing Figure”; “Man Walking” ; “Spring Nude.”

A Poem for Today

“The Everything of Everything”
by Shu Cai (Chinese, born 1965)

Slowly. The everything of everything
in the drawers of memory

will find its own place.
After lightning ends, the sky is empty again.

Thunder’s accomplice will perhaps be in the next moment.
The sound of thunder doesn’t necessarily know.

The hand of the river’s flow that Nature extends
is also spinning the prayer wheel for emptiness.

Human beings? They have different worries.
The gaze can never rise beyond the forehead.

Just stitch one good poem, in the heart’s apex—
as good as the six-word mantra.

Our train is the same spring-summer-autumn-winter train,
heading to an unnamed future.

How many peaks as tall as the sky still can’t be climbed?
How many creatures anxiously wish to plunge into the mother’s womb?

Slowly, everything slips toward another everything . . .
and everyone will surely make way for another.

Slowly. The everything
of everything: is nothingness!

Below – Cristina Velina: “Momentum into nothingness” (photograph)

Contemporary Finnish Art – Dasha Pears

Below (photographs) – “Drift”; “Image Music – Blue – Jimmy Sax – Worakls”; “Fiction”; “In and Out”; “Me and Myself”; “Fly.”

A Poem for Today

“My Eyes”
by Anzai Hitoshi (Japanese, 1919 – 1994)

My eyes are the driving-mirror
In the cab of an all-night truck:
They watch time’s headlights
Crowding up behind me.

Contemporary Indian Art – Vasuki Shankar

Below – “First light over Himalaya”; “Himalaya”; “Still life – oranges”; “Ladakh”; “Drang Drung Glacier”; “Himalaya”; “still life – fruits”; “Sunrise over Himalaya.”

A Poem for Today

“78 RPM”
by Jeff Daniel Marion

n the back of the junkhouse
stacked on a card table covered
by a ragged bedspread, they rest,
black platters whose music once
crackled, hissed with a static
like shuffling feet, fox trot or two-step,
the slow dance of the needle
riding its merry-go-round,
my mother’s head nestled
on my father’s shoulder as they
turned, lost in the sway of sounds,
summer nights and faraway
places, the syncopation of time
waltzing them to a world
they never dreamed, dance
of then to the dust of now.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 18 December 2020

This Date in Art History – Died 18 December 1939 – Ernest Lawson, a Canadian-American painter.

Below – “Approaching Storm”; “New England Birches”; “Spring Night, Harlem River”; “Landscape”; “Excavation – Penn Station”; “Artist’s Wife and Daughter on a Porch.”

A Poem for Today

by Pablo Neruda

From the window I saw the horses.

I was in Berlin, in winter. The light
had no light, the sky had no heaven.

The air was white like wet bread.

And from my window a vacant arena,
bitten by the teeth of winter.

Suddenly driven out by a man,
ten horses surged through the mist.

Like waves of fire, they flared forward
and to my eyes filled the whole world,
empty till then. Perfect, ablaze,
they were like ten gods with pure white hoofs,
with manes like a dream of salt.

Their rumps were worlds and oranges.

Their color was honey, amber, fire.

Their necks were towers
cut from the stone of pride,
and behind their transparent eyes
energy raged, like a prisoner.

There, in silence, at mid-day,
in that dirty, disordered winter,
those intense horses were the blood
the rhythm, the inciting treasure of life.

I looked. I looked and was reborn:
for there, unknowing, was the fountain,
the dance of gold, heaven
and the fire that lives in beauty.

I have forgotten that dark Berlin winter.

I will not forget the light of the horses.

Below – Ramprakash A B: “Stallions at Golden Dawn”

This Date in Art History: Born 18 December 1879 – Paul Klee, a Swiss-born German painter.

Below – “Nocturnal Festivity”; “Fohn in Marc’schen Garten”; Untitled; “Heroic Roses”; “Fire at Full Moon”; “Castle and Sun.”

A Poem for Today

“The Clocks of the Dead”
by Charles Simic

One night I went to keep the clock company.
It had a loud tick after midnight
As if it were uncommonly afraid.
It’s like whistling past a graveyard,
I explained.
In any case, I told him I understood.

Once there were clocks like that
In every kitchen in America.
Now the factory’s windows are all broken.
The old men on night shift are in Charon’s boat
The day you stop, I said to the clock,
The little wheels they keep in reserve
Will have rolled away
Into many hard-to-find places.

Just thinking about it,
I forgot to wind the clock.
We woke up in the dark.
How quiet the city is, I said.
Like the clocks of the dead, my wife replied.
Grandmother on the wall,
I heard the snows of your childhood
Begin to fall.

Below – B M Noskowski: “Time collage” (photograph)

Contemporary French Art – Cecile Duchene Malissin

Below – “Reflection XII”; “Vanishing VI”; “Reflection XIII”; “Psychedelic camouflage”; “Proliferation”; “Metamorphosis III.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 18 December 1985 – Xuan Dieu, a Vietnamese poet.

“Autumn Landscape”
by Xuan Dieu

Drop by drop rain slaps the banana leaves.
Praise whoever sketched this desolate scene:

the lush, dark canopies of the gnarled trees,
the long river, sliding smooth and white.

I lift my wine flask, drunk with rivers and hills.
My backpack, breathing moonlight, sags with poems.

Look, and love everyone.
Whoever sees this landscape is stunned.

Below – Steven Plount: “White Hill and River”

Contemporary Ukrainian Art – Aryana Dzhul

Below (photographs) – “Soul of artist”; “Soul of tree”; “In search of happiness”; “Soul of tree”; “Unbroken”; “Soul of tree.”

A Poem for Today

“Not Only The Eskimos”
by Lisel Mueller

Not only the Eskimos
We have only one noun
but as many different kinds:

the grainy snow of the Puritans
and snow of soft, fat flakes,

guerrilla snow, which comes in the night
and changes the world by morning,

rabbinical snow, a permanent skullcap
on the highest mountains,

snow that blows in like the Lone Ranger,
riding hard from out of the West,

surreal snow in the Dakotas,
when you can’t find your house, your street,
though you are not in a dream
or a science-fiction movie,

snow that tastes good to the sun
when it licks black tree limbs,
leaving us only one white stripe,
a replica of a skunk,

unbelievable snows:
the blizzard that strikes on the tenth of April,
the false snow before Indian summer,
the Big Snow on Mozart’s birthday,
when Chicago became the Elysian Fields
and strangers spoke to each other,

paper snow, cut and taped,
to the inside of grade-school windows,

in an old tale, the snow
that covers a nest of strawberries,
small hearts, ripe and sweet,
the special snow that goes with Christmas,
whether it falls or not,

the Russian snow we remember
along with the warmth and smell of furs,
though we have never traveled
to Russia or worn furs,

Villon’s snows of yesteryear,
lost with ladies gone out like matches,
the snow in Joyce’s “The Dead,”
the silent, secret snow
in a story by Conrad Aiken,
which is the snow of first love,

the snowfall between the child
and the spacewoman on TV,

snow as idea of whiteness,
as in snowdrop, snow goose, snowball bush,

the snow that puts stars in your hair,
and your hair, which has turned to snow,

the snow Elinor Wylie walked in
in velvet shoes,

the snow before her footprints
and the snow after,

the snow in the back of our heads,
whiter than white, which has to do
with childhood again each year.

Below – Dyanne Wilson: “Snow Falling on Cedars No2” (photograph)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 17 November 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 17 December 1859 – Paul Cesar Helleu, a French painter and illustrator.

Below – “Young woman in white (Mrs. Helleu)”; “Le Joueur de flute”; “Hydrangeas”; “Lady with Flowers”; “On the sofa”; “Trois femmes dans le parc de Versailles.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 December 1916 – Penelope Fitzgerald, an award-winning British novelist, poet, essayist, biographer, and author of “The Blue Flower” and “The Book Shop.”

Some quotes from the work of Penelope Fitzgerald:

“A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life, and as such it must surely be a necessary commodity.”
“Courage and endurance are useless if they are never tested.”
“To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is – in other words, not a thing, but a think.”
“But time given to wishing for what can’t be is not only spent, but wasted, and for all that we waste we shall be accountable.”
“There’s two ways to be selfish. You can think too much about yourself, or you can think too little about others. You’re selfish both ways.”
“There isn’t one kind of happiness, there’s all kinds. Decision is torment for anyone with imagination. When you decide, you multiply the things you might have done and now never can.”

Contemporary Polish Art – Pawel Orlowski

Below (sculptures – paint on steel) – “Cutour, February 17”; “Cutout, January 17”; “Cutout, 4 November”; “Cutout, 13 September”; “Cutout, September 7.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 17 December 1937 – John Kennedy Toole, and American novelist, author of “A Confederacy of Dunces,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of John Kennedy Toole:

“I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”
“Apparently I lack some particular perversion which today’s employer is seeking.”
“‘Employers sense in me a denial of their values.’ He rolled over onto his back. ‘They fear me. I suspect that they can see that I am forced to function in a century I loathe. This was true even when I worked for the New Orleans Public Library.’”
“‘I suspect that beneath your offensively and vulgarly effeminate façade there may be a soul of sorts. Have you read widely in Boethius?’’
‘Who? Oh, heavens no. I never even read newspapers.’
‘Then you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age,’ Ignatius said solemnly. ‘Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That is mostly dangerous propaganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books.’
‘You’re fantastic.’
‘I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he’s found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.’”
“Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins.”
“The only excursion of my life outside of New Orleans took me through the vortex to the whirlpool of despair: Baton Rouge. . . . New Orleans is, on the other hand, a comfortable metropolis which has a certain apathy and stagnation which I find inoffensive.”
“You could tell by the way he talked, though, that he had gone to school a long time. That was probably what was wrong with him.”

Contemporary Canadian Art – Elizabeth Lennie

Below – “First Light”; “Dreaming”; “Time Travel”; “Halcyon Days”; “Australia”; “Katie.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 17 December 1935 – Lizette Woodworth Reese, an American poet.

by Lizette Woodworth Reese

It is too early for white boughs, too late
For snows. From out the hedge the wind lets fall
A few last flakes, ragged and delicate.
Down the stripped roads the maples start their small,
Soft, ’wildering fires. Stained are the meadow stalks
A rich and deepening red. The willow tree
Is woolly. In deserted garden-walks
The lean bush crouching hints old royalty,
Feels some June stir in the sharp air and knows
Soon ’twill leap up and show the world a rose.

The days go out with shouting; nights are loud;
Wild, warring shapes the wood lifts in the cold;
The moon’s a sword of keen, barbaric gold,
Plunged to the hilt into a pitch black cloud.

Below – Sandy Feder: “Swept Away”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 16 December 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 16 December 1866 – Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter.

Below – “The Blue Rider”; “Couple on Horseback”; “Blue Mountain”; “Houses in Munich”; “Landscape with Two Poplars”; “Lyrical.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 16 December 1968 – W. Somerset Maugham, an English playwright, novelist, short story writer, and author of “Of Human Bondage” and “The Moon and Sixpence.”

Some quotes from the work of W. Somerset Maugham:

“Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”
“It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”
“The secret to life is meaningless unless you discover it yourself.”
“Only a mediocre person is always at his best.”
“An unfortunate thing about this world is that the good habits are much easier to give up than the bad ones.”
“Why should you think that beauty, which is the most precious thing in the world, lies like a stone on the beach for the careless passer-by to pick up idly? Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul. And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know it. To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist. It is a melody that he sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination.”
“The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee of its truth.”
“The complete life, the perfect pattern, includes old age as well as youth and maturity. The beauty of the morning and the radiance of noon are good, but it would be a very silly person who drew the curtains and turned on the light in order to shut out the tranquillity of the evening. Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than the pleasures of youth.”

This Date in Art History: Born 16 December 1937 – Edward Ruscha, an American painter, printmaker, and photographer.

Below – “Hollywood Study”; “Coyote”; “Mocha Standard”; “Ship”; “Burning Gas Station”; “Blue Collar Tires.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 6 December 1863 – George Santayana, an award-winning Spanish-born American philosopher, poet, essayist, novelist, and author of “The Life of Reason: The Phases of Human Progress.”

Some quotes from the work of George Santayana:

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
“A country without a memory is a country of madmen.”
“What religion a man shall have is a historical accident, quite as much as what language he shall speak.”
“Does the thoughtful man suppose that…the present experiment in civilization is the last world we will see?”
“Those who speak most of progress measure it by quantity and not by quality.”
“The dreamer can know no truth, not even about his dream, except by awaking out of it.”
“There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar: it keeps the mind nimble, it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.”
“Wisdom comes by disillusionment.”
“There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Mila Kochneva

Below – “Girl With Yellow Lilies”; “Girl With Dalmatian Dog on a Blue Sofa”; “Girl With Rowanberry”; “Chilling Dalmatian”; “Fashionista. Prada Marfa, Texas”; “By the Swimming Pool.”

This Date in Entertainment/Cultural History: Born 16 December 1961 – Bill Hicks, an American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, musician, and one of the stars of the martial arts movie parody “Ninja Bachelor Party.”

Some quotes from the work of Bill Hicks:

“This is where we are at right now, as a whole. No one is left out of the loop. We are experiencing a reality based on a thin veneer of lies and illusions. A world where greed is our God and wisdom is sin, where division is key and unity is fantasy, where the ego-driven cleverness of the mind is praised, rather than the intelligence of the heart.”
“If you want to understand a society, take a good look at the drugs it uses. And what can this tell you about American culture? Well, look at the drugs we use. Except for pharmaceutical poison, there are essentially only two drugs that Western civilization tolerates: Caffeine from Monday to Friday to energize you enough to make you a productive member of society, and alcohol from Friday to Monday to keep you too stupid to figure out the prison that you are living in.”
“If you are living for tomorrow, you will always be one day behind.”
“No one can give you any answers. There aren’t any. You have to discover for yourself-you must learn to navigate the mystery.”
“It’s all about money, not freedom. If you think you’re free, try going somewhere without money, okay?”
“And on the seventh day, god stepped back and said and said, ‘This is my creation, perfect in every way… oh, dammit I left all this pot all over the place. Now they’ll think I want them to smoke it… Now I have to create Republicans.’”
“When you’re…stepping over a guy on the sidewalk…does it ever occur to you to think, ‘Wow. Maybe our system doesn’t work?’”
“It has become more and more obvious that there is one political party in America, and that is The Business Party.”
“Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves. Here’s Tom with the Weather.”
“The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it you think it’s real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly coloured and it’s very loud and it’s fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question: ‘Is this real, or is this just a ride?’ And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, ‘Hey, don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride.’ And we kill those people.”

Contemporary French Art – Cecile Duchene Malissin

Below – “A shadow in my memoires III”; “Disappearance VII”; “Solitary Tree”; “Fragile memory II”; “Reflection 10”; “In my memories.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 16 December 2012 – Jake Adam York, an award-winning American poet.

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- Ram Kuman: Untitled (Man and Woman Holding Hands)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 15 December 2020

Contemporary American Art – Shih Ma

Below – “moon night waves”; “snow mountain”; “Lake Nita”; “Night at Fenghuang”; “Twilight at Kumukea Beach”; “Spring at river bank.”

This Date in Tea History: In the words of one writer, “An International Tea Day has been celebrated on December 15, since 2005, in tea producing countries like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda and Tanzania.”
I’ll be celebrating International Tea Day in Woodacre, California.

Contemporary Spanish Art – Marina del Pozo: Part I of II

Below – “Dama series N 12”; “Gheisa serie 7”; “Ink gneiss n 4”; “Joven gheisa N 7”; “Gheisa serie 4”; “La sospecha.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 15 December 1896 – Betty Smith, an American novelist, playwright, and author of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”

Some quotes from the work of Betty Smith:

“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”
“Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words.”
“I came to a clear conclusion, and it is a universal one: To live, to struggle, to be in love with life–in love with all life holds, joyful or sorrowful–is fulfillment. The fullness of life is open to all of us.”
“Who wants to die? Everything struggles to live. Look at that tree growing up there out of that grating. It gets no sun, and water only when it rains. It’s growing out of sour earth. And it’s strong because its hard struggle to live is making it strong. My children will be strong that way.”

Contemporary Spanish Art – Marina del Pozo: Part II of II

Below – “Summer”; “Young Gheisa”; “La ola”; “Time 1”; “Gheisa series N 2”; “Time 2.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 15 December 1930 – Edna O’Brien, an award-winning Irish novelist, playwright, poet, short story writer, and author of “The Country Girls” and “Saints and Sinners.”
Following its publication in Ireland in 1960, “The Country Girls” was banned, burned, and denounced from the pulpit. It’s that good.

Some quotes from the work of Edna O’Brien:

“In a way Winter is the real Spring – the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.”
“Ordinary life bypassed me, but I also bypassed it. It couldn’t have been any other way. Conventional life and conventional people are not for me.”
“It is increasingly clear that the fate of the universe will come to depend more and more on individuals as the bungling of bureaucracy permeates every corner of our existence.”
“When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.”
“To live with the work and the letters of James Joyce was an enormous privilege and a daunting education. Yes, I came to admire Joyce even more because he never ceased working, those words and the transubstantiation of words obsessed him. He was a broken man at the end of his life, unaware that Ulysses would be the number one book of the twentieth century and, for that matter, the twenty-first.”
“A country encapsulates our childhood and those lanes, byres, fields, flowers, insects, suns, moons and stars are forever reoccurring.”
“I always want to be in love, always. It’s like being a tuning fork.”
“Love . . . is like nature, but in reverse; first it fruits, then it flowers, then it seems to wither, then it goes deep, deep down into its burrow, where no one sees it, where it is lost from sight, and ultimately people die with that secret buried inside their souls.”
“What makes us so afraid is the thing we half see, or half hear, as in a wood at dusk, when a tree stump becomes an animal and a sound becomes a siren. And most of that fear is the fear of not knowing, of not actually seeing correctly.”

Contemporary American Art – Debra Bretton Robinson

Below – “Jackson Waterfall”; “Blessed by the Zest”; “Salt Island Sun Porch”; “The Amber Acre”; “Red Winged”; “Frozen.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 15 December 1913 – Muriel Rukeyser, an award-winning American poet and playwright.

“The Speaking Tree”
by Muriel Rukeyser

for Robert Payne

Great Alexander sailing was from his true course turned
By a young wind from a cloud in Asia moving
Like a most recognizable most silvery woman;
Tall Alexander to the island came.
The small breeze blew behind his turning head.
He walked the foam of ripples into this scene.

The trunk of the speaking tree looks like a tree-trunk
Until you look again. Then people and animals
Are ripening on the branches; the broad leaves
Are leaves; pale horses, sharp fine foxes
Blossom; the red rabbit falls
Ready and running. The trunk coils, turns,
Snakes, fishes. Now the ripe people fall and run,
Three of them in their shore-dance, flames that stand
Where reeds are creatures and the foam is flame.

Stiff Alexander stands. He cannot turn.
But he is free to turn : this is the speaking tree,
It calls your name. It tells us what we mean.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 14 December 2020

This Date in Art History: Born 14 December 1824 – Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, a French painter and illustrator.

Below – “Hope”; “Meditation”; “Homer: Epic Poetry”; “The Balloon”: “Young Girls by the Sea”; “The Happy Land.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 14 November 1941 – Ellen Willis, an American essayist, journalist, activist, feminist, and pop music critic.

Some quotes from the work of Ellen Willis:

“My deepest impulses are optimistic; an attitude that seems to me as spiritually necessary and proper as it is intellectually suspect.”
“Whatever their limitations, Freud and Marx developed complex and subtle theories of human nature grounded in their observation of individual and social behavior. The crackpot rationalism of free-market economics merely relies on an abstract model of how people ‘must’ behave.”
“Some conservatives have expressed outrage that the views of professors are at odds with the views of students, as if ideas were entitled to be represented in proportion to their popularity and students were entitled to professors who share their political or social values. One of the more important functions of college is that it exposes young people to ideas and arguments they have not encountered at home.”
“The goal of the right is not to stop abortion but to demonize it, punish it and make it as difficult and traumatic as possible. All this it has accomplished fairly well, even without overturning Roe v. Wade.”
“Under present conditions, people are preoccupied with consumer goods not because they are brainwashed but because buying is the one pleasurable activity not only permitted but actively encouraged by our rulers. The pleasure of eating an ice cream cone may be minor compared to the pleasure of meaningful, autonomous work, but the former is easily available and the latter is not. A poor family would undoubtedly rather have a decent apartment than a new TV, but since they are unlikely to get the apartment, what is to be gained by not getting the TV?”
“What turns me on is erotica; what turns you on is pornographic.”
“For democrats, it’s as crucial to defend secular culture as to preserve secular law. And in fact the two projects are inseparable: When religion defines morality, the wall between church and state comes to be seen as immoral.”
“A triumphalist corporate capitalism, free at last of the specter of Communism, has mobilized its economic power to relentlessly marginalize all non-market values; to subordinate every aspect of American life to corporate efficiency and the bottom line; to demonize not only government but the very idea of public service and public goods.”

Contemporary British Art – Geoff Greene

Below – “Large Peaceful Forest”; “Succulent Cascade”; “Echevera Perla”; ““Yoga Room Two”; “Yoga in the Desert”; “Yoga Moontide.”

A Poem for Today

“Mother Washing Dishes”
by Susan Myers

She rarely made us do it—
we’d clear the table instead—so my sister and I teased
that some day we’d train our children right
and not end up like her, after every meal stuck
with red knuckles, a bleached rag to wipe and wring.
The one chore she spared us: gummy plates
in water greasy and swirling with sloughed peas,
globs of egg and gravy.

Or did she guard her place
at the window? Not wanting to give up the gloss
of the magnolia, the school traffic humming.
Sunset, finches at the feeder. First sightings
of the mail truck at the curb, just after noon,
delivering a note, a card, the least bit of news.

Below – Maciek Jozefowicz: “Woman Washing Dishes”

Contemporary Israeli Art – Jonathan Liron

Below – “Longing in time”; “A port tale”; “The slide”; “The moment before”; “Beauty session.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 14 December 2001 – W. G. Sebald, a German novelist, poet, essayist, and author of “On The Natural History Of Destruction.”

Some quotes from the work of W. G. Sebald:

“It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane.”
“We learn from history as much as a rabbit learns from an experiment that’s performed upon it.”
“In my photographic work I was always especially entranced… by the moment when the shadows of reality, so to speak, emerge out of nothing on the exposed paper, as memories do in the middle of the night, darkening again if you try to cling to them.”
“One has the impression that something is stirring inside [photographs] – it is as if one can hear little cries of despair, gémissements de désespoir… as if the photographs themselves had a memory and were remembering us and how we, the surviving, and those who preceded us, once were.”
“I have always kept ducks, even as a child, and the colours of their plumage, in particular the dark green and snow white, seemed to me the only possible answer to the questions that are on my mind.”
“We all have appointments with the past.”
“I suppose it is submerged realities that give to dreams their curious air of hyper-reality. But perhaps there is something else as well, something nebulous, gauze-like, through which everything one sees in a dream seems, paradoxically, much clearer. A pond becomes a lake, a breeze becomes a storm, a handful of dust is a desert, a grain of sulphur in the blood is a volcanic inferno. What manner of theater is it, in which we are at once playwright, actor, stage manager, scene painter and audience?”

Contemporary British Art – Hannah Adamaszek

Below – “Between Sea & Sky”; ““Wild Orchid”; “Paradise Found”; “Northern Lights”; “Seashell”; “Beneath the Sun.”

A Poem for Today

“The Yellow Bowl”
by Rachel Contreni Flynn

If light pours like water
into the kitchen where I sway
with my tired children,

if the rug beneath us
is woven with tough flowers,
and the yellow bowl on the table

rests with the sweet heft
of fruit, the sun-warmed plums,
if my body curves over the babies,

and if I am singing,
then loneliness has lost its shape,
and this quiet is only quiet.

Below – Ivan Clarke: “Still Life with Plums in a Bowl”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 13 December 2020

This Date in Art History: Died 13 December 1922 – Arthur Wesley Dow, an American painter and photographer.

Below – “Crater Lake”; “View of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada”; “The Long Road – Argilla Road, Ipswich”; “Boats at Rest”; “Willows and the Moon”; “The Clam House” (woodblock print).

This Date in Literary History: Born 13 December 1911 – Kenneth Patchen, an award-winning American poet and novelist.

“Fall of the Evening Star”
by Kenneth Patchen

Speak softly; sun going down
Out of sight. Come near me now.

Dear dying fall of wings as birds
complain against the gathering dark…

Exaggerate the green blood in grass;
the music of leaves scraping space;

Multiply the stillness by one sound;
by one syllable of your name…

And all that is little is soon giant,
all that is rare grows in common beauty

To rest with my mouth on your mouth
as somewhere a star falls

And the earth takes it softly, in natural love…
Exactly as we take each other…
and go to sleep…

Below – Yigit Dundar: “Lovers”

This Date in Art History: Born 13 December1871 – Emily Carr Canadian painter and author.

Below- “Above the Gravel Pit”; “Odds and Ends”; “Scorned as Timber”; “Red Cedar”; “Big Raven”; “Blue Sky.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 13 December 1927 – James Wright, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

by James Wright

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
There they are, the moon’s young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.

Below – From the Irish Image Collection: “Wheat Field At Night Under Moon” (photograph)

This Date in Art History: Died 13 December 1947 – Nicholas Roerich, a Russian painter, archaeologist, and philosopher.

Below -“Lamayuru, Ladakh”; “Snow Maiden”; “Kangchenjunga”; “Krishna (Spring in Kulu)”; “Lahaul”; “Star of the Hero.”

A Poem for Today

“The One Certain Thing”
by Peter Cooley

A day will come I’ll watch you reading this.
I’ll look up from these words I’m writing now—
this line I’m standing on, I’ll be right here,
alive again. I’ll breathe on you this breath.
Touch this word now, that one. Warm, isn’t it?

You are the person come to clean my room;
you are whichever of my three children
opens the drawer here where this poem will go
in a few minutes when I’ve had my say.

These are the words from immortality.
No one stands between us now except Death:
I enter it entirely writing this.
I have to tell you I am not alone.
Watching you read, Eternity’s with me.
We like to watch you read. Read us again.

Below – Karoline Kroiß: “Girl reading a letter”

Contemporary American Art – Jung S Kim

Below – “CIRCLE II #3”; A fox aged almost a thousand years old that was eager to be a human being but never could be”; “CIRCLE II #12: A man who is performing Taoist magic”; “CIRCLE II #14; A spirit of a mountain”; “CIRCLE II #15: A boy who saved his fiancé from a corrupt politician”; “CIRCLE II #17; A girl who was murdered by her stepmother”; “CIRCLE II #5: A stepmother.”

A Poem for Today

“The World as It Is”
by Carolyn Miller

No ladders, no descending angels, no voice
out of the whirlwind, no rending
of the veil, or chariot in the sky—only
water rising and falling in breathing springs
and seeping up through limestone, aquifers filling
and flowing over, russet stands of prairie grass
and dark pupils of black-eyed Susans. Only
the fixed and wandering stars: Orion rising sideways,
Jupiter traversing the southwest like a great firefly,
Venus trembling and faceted in the west—and the moon,
appearing suddenly over your shoulder, brimming
and ovoid, ripe with light, lifting slowly, deliberately,
wobbling slightly, while far below, the faithful sea
rises up and follows.

Below -Oliver Pojzman:”Moon Over Ocean”


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