Wandering in Woodacre – 7 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 7 April 1938 – Suzanne Valadon, a French painter and the first woman painter admitted to the Societe Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

Below – “The Blue Room”; “La rose au miroir”; “Madame au petit chien”; “The Abandoned”; “Casting the Net”; “The Joy of Life.”

This Date in Movie History: Born 7 April. 1939 – Francis Ford Coppola, an award-winning American film director, producer, and screenwriter. Coppola is responsible for three of the greatest films in the history of cinema: “The Godfather,” “The Godfather: Part II,” and “Apocalypse Now.”

Some quotes from Francis Ford Coppola:

“The things you get fired for when you’re young are the same things that you get lifetime achievement awards for when you’re old.”
“You have to really be courageous about your instincts and your ideas. Otherwise you’ll just knuckle under, and things that might have been memorable will be lost.”
“Although knowledge of structure is helpful, real creativity comes from leaps of faith in which you jump to something illogical. But those leaps form the memorable moments in movies and plays.”
“The whole reason one wants to do lower budget films is because the lower the budget, the bigger the ideas, the bigger the themes, the more interesting the art.”
“Drinking wine is just a part of life, like eating food.”
“Most directors have one masterpiece by which they are known. Kurosawa has at least eight or nine.”


Contemporary Nigerian Art – Damola Ayegbayo

Below – “Purpose of existence”; “Care giver”; “The girl with a pearl earring”; “Isolation 2”; “Culture I”; “Culture II.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 7 April 1931 – Donald Barthelme, an American short story writer, novelist, author of “Snow White,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Donald Barthelme:

“There was no particular point at which I stopped being promising.”
“The aim of literature … is the creation of a strange object covered with fur which breaks your heart.”
“There is no moment that exceeds in beauty that moment when one looks at a woman and finds that she is looking at you in the same way that you are looking at her. The moment in which she bestows that look that says, ‘Proceed with your evil plan, sumbitch.’”
“How can you be alienated without first having been connected?”
“The privileged classes can afford psychoanalysis and whiskey. Whereas all we get is sermons and sour wine. This is manifestly unfair. I protest, silently.”
“I believe that because I had obtained a wife who was made up of wife-signs (beauty, charm, softness, perfume, cookery) I had found love.”
“Goals incapable of attainment have driven many a man to despair, but despair is easier to get to than that — one need merely look out of the window, for example.”


Contemporary Dutch Art -Nynke Kuipers

Below – “Hungry birds II”; “Moss forest”; “The robin in the birch”; “Ice in the forest”; “Heron”; “Cranes”; “Scarlet ibis.”

A Poem for Today

Haiku
by Mizuta Masahide

Barn’s burnt down–
now
I can see the moon.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 6 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 6 April 1826 – Gustave Moreau, a French painter of mythological figures.

Below – “Oedipus and the Sphinx”; “Venus Rising from the Sea”; “Perseus and Andromeda”; “La chimere”; “Europa and the Bull”; “Orpheus.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 6 April 2012 – Reed Whittemore, an American poet and critic.

“Thoughts of the California Desert”
by Reed Whittemore

Under palm trees, oranges, olives and pears
The indolent desert slouches, half an eye closed
And half an eye out for men of affairs whose cares
Keep them from keeping their gaudy gardens hosed.

Slouches and yawns, that clown.  Leaves in disdain
Gaseous dragons their nauseous knights to nettle.
Flips his tail coyly, rolls over, says he would fain
Die a dry death.  Haw! browning a petal.

Has it too good, too good.  Is vastly diverted
Watching his merchants and bankers stumble out doors.
Parries their blows, says he loves, loves to be squirted
As at him they fiercely empty their reservoirs.

Sleeps a great deal, drinks deep, drinks deep and makes hay,
Thinking he’ll swallow the bankers and all one day.

Below – Kevin Lynch: “El Mirage 2, Mojave Desert, California” (photograph)

This Date in Art History: Born 6 April 1857 – Arthur Wesley Dow, an American painter, printmaker, and photographer.

Below – “Crater Lake”; “View of Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada”; “The Clam House” (woodblock print); “Landscape”; “Moonrise” (woodblock print); “Ipswich Landscape” (woodblock print).

This Date in Literary/Cultural History: Born 6 April 1931 – Ram Dass (born Richard Alpert), an American spiritual teacher, psychologist, and author of “Be Here Now.”

Some quotes from the work of Ram Dass:

“We’re all just walking each other home.”
“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion–and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.”
“In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight.”
“The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back.”
“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is.”
“Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.”
“Let’s trade in all our judging for appreciating. Let’s lay down our righteousness and just be together.”
“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
“Be here now.”

Contemporary American Art – Howard Newman

Below – “Brooklyn Heights Brownstones”; “Coney Island in Oil”; “Main Beach, East Hampton”; “Mountain Landscape”; “Peaceful Pasture”; “Stream In The Forest.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 6 April 1935 – Edwin Arlington Robinson, an American Poet, playwright, and three-time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

“The House on the Hill”
by Edwin Arlington Robinson

They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one to-day
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away,

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.

Below – Leslie Dannenberg: “This Old Abandoned House #2”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 5 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1906 – Eastman Johnson, an American painter.

Below – “The Nantucket School of Philosophy”; “Ruth”; “The Girl I Left Behind Me”; “Winter, Portrait of a Child”; “Not at Home (An Interior of the Artist’s House)”; “The Old Stagecoach.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2005 – Saul Bellow, a Canadian-American novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist, author of “The Adventures of Augie March” and “Humboldt’s Gift,” recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, three-time recipient of the National Book Award for Fiction, and recipient of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Saul Bellow:

“A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
“People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.”
“Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.”
“Boredom is the conviction that you can’t change … the shriek of unused capacities.”
“Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.”
“You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half.”
“People don’t realize how much they are in the grip of ideas. We live among ideas much more than we live in nature.”
“She was what we used to call a suicide blonde– dyed by her own hand.”

This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1950 – Hiroshi Yoshida, a Japanese painter: Part I of II.

Below – “Kumoi Cherry Trees”; “Glittering Sea”; “Spring in a Hot Spring”; “Bamboo Grove”; “View from Komagatake”; “Sailing Boats.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2017 – Makoto Ooka, an award-winning Japanese poet and literary critic.

“The Tale of a Star #1”
by Makoto Ooka

A star is
an infinitely
and slowly
collapsing
being

My favorite star
scrawls graffiti
all over the sky and
never bothers to
read them back

Now there’s someone
I can take off my hat to!

This Date in Art History: Died 5 April 1950 – Hiroshi Yoshida, a Japanese painter: Part II of II.

Below – “Climbing Snow Valley”; “Edo Castle”; “Carp in a Pond”; “The Fuji New Grand Hotel”; “The Cherry tree in Kawagoe”; “Atami Hot Spring.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 1997 – Allen Ginsberg, an American poet, author of “Howl,” and recipient of the National Book Award for poetry.

“A Supermarket in California”
by Allen Ginsberg

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in an hour. Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?


This Date in Art History:Died 5 April 1958 – Asgrimur Jonsson, an Icelandic landscape painter.

Below – “Strúttur and Eiríksjökull, Iceland”; “Landscape, Iceland”; “Landscape, Iceland”; “Icelandic Landscape”; “View of Mount Strutur from Husafell with the glacier Eriksjokull in the background”; “Scenery from Husafell, Iceland.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 5 April 2014 – Peter Matthiessen, an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, author of “The Snow Leopard,” and three-time recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Peter Matthiessen:

“The secret of the mountain is that the mountains simply exist, as I do myself: the mountains exist simply, which I do not. The mountains have no ‘meaning,’ they are meaning; the mountains are. The sun is round. I ring with life, and the mountains ring, and when I can hear it, there is a ringing that we share. I understand all this, not in my mind but in my heart, knowing how meaningless it is to try to capture what cannot be expressed, knowing that mere words will remain when I read it all again, another day.”
“When we are mired in the relative world, never lifting our gaze to the mystery, our life is stunted, incomplete; we are filled with yearning for that paradise that is lost when, as young children, we replace it with words and ideas and abstractions – such as merit, such as past, present, and future – our direct, spontaneous experience of the thing itself, in the beauty and precision of this present moment.”
“The concept of conservation is a far truer sign of civilization than that spoilation of a continent which we once confused with progress.”
“The sun is roaring, it fills to bursting each crystal of snow. I flush with feeling, moved beyond my comprehension, and once again, the warm tears freeze upon my face. These rocks and mountains, all this matter, the snow itself, the air- the earth is ringing. All is moving, full of power, full of light.”
“There’s an elegiac quality in watching [American wilderness] go, because it’s our own myth, the American frontier, that’s deteriorating before our eyes. I feel a deep sorrow that my kids will never get to see what I’ve seen, and their kids will see nothing; there’s a deep sadness whenever I look at nature now.”
“And as the wary dogs skirt past, we nod, grimace, and resume our paths to separate destinies and graves.”
“I grow into these mountains like a moss. I am bewitched. The blinding snow peaks and the clarion air, the sound of earth and heaven in the silence, the requiem birds, the mythic beasts, the flags, great horns, and old carved stones, the silver ice in the black river, the Kang, the Crystal Mountain. Also, I love the common miracles-the murmur of my friends at evening, the clay fires of smudgy juniper, the coarse dull food, the hardship and simplicity, the contentment of doing one thing at a time… gradually my mind has cleared itself, and wind and sun pour through my head, as through a bell. Though we talk little here, I am never lonely; I am returned into myself. In another life-this isn’t what I know, but how I feel- these mountains were my home; there is a rising of forgotten knowledge, like a spring from hidden aquifers under the earth. To glimpse one’s own true nature is a kind of homegoing, to a place East of the Sun, West of the Moon- the homegoing that needs no home, like that waterfall on the supper Suli Gad that turns to mist before touching the earth and rises once again to the sky.”
“Zen has been called the ‘religion before religion,’ which is to say that anyone can practice, including those committed to another faith. And that phrase evokes that natural religion of our early childhood, when heaven and a splendorous earth were one. But soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions and abstractions. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines, and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, at the bottom of each breath, there is a hollow place filled with longing. We become seekers without knowing that we seek, and at first, we long for something “greater” than ourselves, something apart and far away. It is not a return to childhood, for childhood is not a truly enlightened state. Yet to seek one’s own true nature is ‘a way to lead you to your long lost home.’ To practice Zen means to realize one’s existence moment after moment, rather than letting life unravel in regret of the past and daydreaming of the future. To ‘rest in the present’ is a state of magical simplicity…out of the emptiness can come a true insight into our natural harmony all creation. To travel this path, one need not be a ‘Zen Buddhist’, which is only another idea to be discarded like ‘enlightenment,’ and like ‘the Buddha’ and like ‘God’.”
“Indicating his twisted legs without a trace of self-pity or bitterness, as if they belonged to all of us, he casts his arms wide to the sky and the snow mountains, the high sun and dancing sheep, and cries, ’Of course I am happy here! It’s wonderful! Especially when I have no choice!’ In its wholehearted acceptance of what is;I feel as if he had struck me in the chest. Butter tea and wind pictures, the Crystal Mountain, and blue sheep dancing on the snow-it’s quite enough!
Have you seen the snow leopard?
No! Isn’t that wonderful?”


Contemporary Indian Art – Shabana Godhrawala

Below – “The Library”; “The Chandelier”; “The Wall Of Flowers”; “The Kitchen”; “The Room”; “Tranquil.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 5 April 1904 – Richard Eberhart, an American poet and recipient of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

“The Eclipse”
by Richard Eberhart

I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.

I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As mans hope of light in the face of darkness.

Below – Allison Bagg: “Total Eclipse Of The House” (photograph)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 4 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 4 April 1843 – William Henry Jackson, an American photographer and painter. In the words of one writer, Jackson was a “geological survey photographer and an explorer famous for his images of the American West.”

Below – Survey Camp, Yellowstone National Park, 1871; Restored photochrom print of Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, California, circa 1900; F. V. Hayden Expedition, Wyoming, 1871; Pike’s Peak and Garden of the Gods, circa 1871-1872; The “W,” Pike’s Peak Carriage Road, 1885; The Royal Gorge – Grand Canon of Arkansas, circa 1882.

This Date in American History: Died 4 April 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr., an American minister, civil rights activist, proponent of nonviolence and civil disobedience, and recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Martin Luther King Jr.:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
“We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”
“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”


This Date in Art History: Born 4 March 1876 – Maurice de Vlaminck, a French painter.

Below – “The River Seine at Chatou”; “Barges on the Seine”; “White Sailboat at Chatou”; “Town on the Bank of a Lake”; “Le post de Poissy”; “Village.”

A Poem for Today

“Crying”
by Galway Kinnell

Crying only a little bit
is no use. You must cry
until your pillow is soaked!
Then you can get up and laugh.
Then you can jump in the shower
and splash-splash-splash!
Then you can throw open your window
and, “Ha ha! ha ha!”
And if people say, “Hey
what’s going on up there?”
“Ha ha!“ sing back, “Happiness
was hiding in the last tear!
I wept it! Ha ha!”

Below – Shirley Stoetzer: “Laughing Man”

Contemporary British Art – Miss Aniela

Below (photographs) – “Ode to Shalott”; “Swan Lake”; “Away with the Canaries”; “Kai Face”; “Risen Rose”; “An Impromptu Performance.”


This Date in Literary History: Born 4 April 1929 – Maya Angelou, an award-winning American memoirist, poet, and author of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

Some quotes from the work of Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Contemporary British Art – Jeremy Allan

Below – “Blue Woman and Peaches”; “Resting in an orange field”; “Down by the Tall Grass”; “Weightless”; “Reflections”; “Roman Mirage.”


A Poem for Today

“Someday”
by Mary Oliver

Even the oldest of trees continues its wonderful labor.
Hummingbird lives in one of them.
He’s there for the white blossoms, and the secrecy.
The blossoms could be snow, with a dash of pink.
At first the fruit is small and green and hard.
Everything has dreams, hope, ambition.

If I could I would always live in such shining obedience
where nothing but the wind trims the boughs.
I am sorry for every mistake I have made in my life.
I’m sorry I wasn’t wiser sooner.
I’m sorry I ever spoke of myself as lonely.

Oh, love, lay your hands upon me again.
Some of the fruit ripens and is picked and is delicious.
Some of it falls and the ants are delighted.
Some of it hides under the snow and the famished deer are saved.

Below – Varun Tandon: “Lovers Kissing Under Tree”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 3 April 2021

Contemporary South Korean Art – Jihyeon Choi

Below – “a small garden”; “way home”; “remember now”; “a leisurely mind”; “invitation”; “a small harvest.”


A Poem for Today

“A Note”
by Wislawa Szymborksa

Life is the only way
to get covered in leaves,
catch your breath on sand,
rise on wings;

to be a dog,
or stroke its warm fur;

to tell pain
from everything it’s not;

to squeeze inside events,
dawdle in views,
to seek the least of all possible mistakes;

An extraordinary chance
to remember for a moment
a conversation held with the lamp switched off;

and if only once
to stumble on a stone,
end up soaked in one downpour or another,

mislay your keys in the grass;
and to follow a spark on the wind with your eyes;

and to keep on not knowing
something important

Below – Halyna Kirichenko: “Walking in the frosty grass”



Contemporary Belgian Art – Matthew Frock

Below – “Trail Head”; “Backyard Flowers No. 10”; “Pink and Rose”; “The Isle of Skye in Moonlight”; “The Garden Gate”; “Medea no. 1.”

This Dare in Literary/Journalistic History: Born 3 April 1916 – Herb Caen, an American journalist, essayist, humorist, author of “Baghdad by the Bay,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. Caen’s columns have been described as “A continuous love affair with San Francisco.”

Some quotes from the work of Herb Caen:

“A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he bites off more than he can chew.”
“I sometimes worry about my short attention span, but not for long.”
“A city is not gauged by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams.”
“Martinis are like breasts, one isn’t enough, and three is too many.”
“Isn’t it nice that people who prefer Los Angeles to San Francisco live there?”
“It is better to have loved and lost, but only if you have a good attorney.”
“One day if I do go to heaven…I’ll look around and say, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.”
“I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.”
“A city is where you can sign a petition, boo the chief justice, fish off a pier, gaze at a hippopotamus, buy a flower at the corner, or get a good hamburger or a bad girl at 4 A.M. A city is where sirens make white streaks of sound in the sky and foghorns speak in dark grays. San Francisco is such a city.”
“A city is a state – of mind, of taste, of opportunity. A city is a marketplace – where ideas are traded, opinions clash and eternal conflict may produce eternal truths.”
“The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain the second time around.”

Contemporary German Art – Christine Olbrich

Below – “In The Coffeehouse”; “The Pause”; “Near the little lake”; “Covered Stranded”; “In the Mountains of Bavaria – 1”; “Taking a Bath.”

A Poem for Today

“Death Again”
by Jim Harrison

Let’s not get romantic or dismal about death.
Indeed it’s our most unique act along with birth.
We must think of it as cooking breakfast,
it’s that ordinary. Break two eggs into a bowl
or break a bowl into two eggs. Slip into a coffin
after the fluids have been drained, or better yet,
slide into the fire. Of course it’s a little hard
to accept your last kiss, your last drink,
your last meal about which the condemned
can be quite particular as if there could be
a cheeseburger sent by God. A few lovers
sweep by the inner eye, but it’s mostly a placid
lake at dawn, mist rising, a solitary loon
call, and staring into the still, opaque water.
We’ll know as children again all that we are
destined to know, that the water is cold
and deep, and the sun penetrates only so far.

Below – Maurice Sapiro: “Blue Lake”

Contemporary American Art – Afekwo N

Below – “Moving Landscape VI”; “Artist Garden II”; “To The North – The Red Boat”; “Beach Day II”; “Gold in a pond”; “Summer.”


A Poem for Today

“Morning”
by Sara Teasdale

I went out on an April morning
All alone, for my heart was high,
I was a child of the shining meadow,
I was a sister of the sky.

There in the windy flood of morning
Longing lifted its weight from me,
Lost as a sob in the midst of cheering,
Swept as a sea-bird out to sea.

Below – Aria Saatchi: “Sara in meadow”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 2 April 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 2 April 1827 – William Holman Hunt, an English painter and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Below – “The Lady of Shalott”; “Our English Coasts”; “The Birthday”; “Amaryllis”; “Portrait of Fanny Holman Hunt”; “Isabella and the Pot of Basil.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 April 1929 – Ed Dorn, an American poet.

“There’s only one natural death, and that’s Bedcide For the post-mortem amusement of Richard Brautiigan”
by Ed Dorn

ABHORENCES
November 10, 1984

Death by over-seasoning: Herbicide
Death by annoyance: Pesticide
Death by suffocation: Carbon monoxide
Death by burning: Firecide
Death by falling: Cliffcide
Death by hiking: Trailcide
Death by camping: Campcide
Death by drowning:       Rivercide
Lakecide
Oceancide
Death from puking: Curbcide
Death from boredom: Hearthcide
Death at the hands of the medical profession: Dockcide
Death from an overnight stay: Inncide
Death by suprise: Backcide
Death by blow to the head: Upcide
Death from delirious voting: Rightcide
Death from hounding: Leftcide
Death through war: Theircide & Ourcide
Death by penalty: Offcide
Death following a decision: Decide

Below – Natasha Nord: “Death By Thousand Cuts”

This Date in Art History: Died 2 April 1896 – Theodore Robinson, an American painter and one of the first American artists to take up impressionism.

Below – “La Debacle”; “In the Sun”; “By the River”; “Pere Trognon and His Daughter at the Bridge”; “The Layette”; “La Vachere.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 April 1946 – Sue Townsend, an award-winning English novelist, playwright, essayist, humorist, an author of “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4.”

Some quotes from the work of Sue Townsend:

“There’s only one thing more boring than listening to other people’s dreams, and that’s listening to their problems.”
“She liked people. Me, I can take them or leave them, but mostly leave them.”
“Now I know I am an intellectual. I saw Malcolm Muggeridge on the television last night, and I understood nearly every word. It all adds up. A bad home, poor diet, not liking punk. I think I will join the library and see what happens.”
“The monarchy is finished. It was finished a while ago, but they’re still making the corpses dance.”
“I’ve always loved books. I’m passionate about them. I think books are sexy. They are smooth and solid and contain delightful surprises. They smell good. They fit into a handbag and can be carried around and opened at will. They don’t change. They are what they are and nothing else. One day I want to own a lot of books and have them nbear to me in my house, so that I can stroll to my bookshelves and choose what I fancy. I want a harem. I shall keep my favourites by my bed.”
“I don’t know why women are so mad about flowers. Personally, they leave me cold. I prefer trees.”
“Adrian Mole’s father was so angry that so many people got divorced nowadays. HE had been unhappily married for 30 years, why should everybody else get away?”
“I am from the working class. I am now what I was then. No amount of balsamic vinegar and Prada handbags could make me forget what it was like to be poor.”
“I asked Mr. Vann which O levels you need to write situation comedy for television. Mr. Vann said that you don’t need qualifications at all, you just need to be a moron.”
“Yes, I hate it when people call me a ‘national treasure’. It takes away your bite and makes you feel like a harmless old golden Labrador.”

Contemporary Russian Art – Tatiana Bugaenko

Below – “Hello San-Francisco”; “Blue umbrellas”; “After rain”; “Between the columns”; “Redwoods”; “Nu.”


A Poem for Today

“Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist After the Death of the English Language”

by Billy Collins

I’m not going to put a lot of work into this
because you won’t be able to read it anyway,
and I’ve got more important things to do
this morning, not the least of which
is to try to write a fairly decent poem
for the people who can still read English.

Who could have foreseen English finding
a place in the cemetery of dead languages?

I once imagined English placing flowers
at the tombstones of its parents, Latin and Anglo-Saxon,
but you people can actually visit its grave,
on a Sunday afternoon if you still have days of the week.

I remember the story of the last speaker
of Dalmatian being tape-recorded in his hut
as he was dying under a horsehair blanket.
But English? English seemed for so many of us
the only true way to describe the world
as if reality itself were English
and Adam and Eve spoke it in the garden
using words like s’nake’, ‘apple’, and ‘it’s all your fault’.

Of course, there are other words for things
but what could be better than ‘boat’,
‘pool’, ‘swallow’ (both the noun and the verb),
‘statuette’, ‘tractor’, ‘squiggly’, ‘surf’, and ‘underbelly’?

I’m sorry.
I’ve wasted too much time on this already.
You carry on however you do
without the help of English, communicating
with dots in the air or hologram hats or whatever.

You’re just like all the ones who say
they can’t understand poetry
but at least you poor creatures have an excuse.

So I’m going to turn the page
and not think about you and your impoverishment.
Instead, I’m going to write a poem about red poppies
waving by the side of the railroad tracks,
and you people won’t even know what you’re missing.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 1 April 2021

Greeting April

Below – Lara Vald: “April”


Art for April – Ivan Didovodiuk: “April”


A Poem for April

from “The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue”
by Geoffrey Chaucer

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye,
So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

Below – William Blake: “Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims”


Art for April – Uladzimir Urodnich: “April”

A Poem for April

“Sonnet 98”
by William Shakespeare

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue,
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew:
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight
Drawn after you, – you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.

Below – Alexandra Higgins: “Shadows”


Art for April – Gritsenko Olga: “April morning”


A Poem for April

“Home-Thoughts, from Abroad”
by Robert Browning

Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge—
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
—Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Below – Gillian Cooper: “Buttercup Meadow”


Art for April – Jeanette Lafontine: “April Song”


A Poem for April

from “The Waste Land”
by T. S. Eliot

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Below – Stefano Pallara: “April Is the Cruellest Month”


Art for April – Brian Smyth: “April shower”


A Poem for April

“April”
by Sara Teasdale

The roofs are shining from the rain.
The sparrows tritter as they fly,
And with a windy April grace
The little clouds go by.

Yet the back-yards are bare and brown
With only one unchanging tree–
I could not be so sure of Spring
Save that it sings in me.

Below – Yichan Li: “Singing Bird in Spring”


Art for April – Tiffany Pugmire: “Treat Farm in April 2019”

A Poem for April

“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.


Art for April – Igor Nekraha: “April sunset”

Welcome, Wonderful April

Below – Anastasiya Popova: “Neon april”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 31 March 2021

This Date in Art History: Born 31 March 1885 – Jules Pascin, a Bulgarian-French painter and illustrator.

Below – “Mija”; “Portrait of Mimi Laurent”; “Portrait of Lucy Krohg”; “Portrait de nu”; “Little American Girls”; “Model in Front of Mirror.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 31 March 1855 – Charlotte Bronte, an English novelist, poet, and author of “Jane Eyre.”

Some quotes from the work of Charlotte Bronte:

“I would always rather be happy than dignified.”
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”
“The trouble is not that I am single and likely to stay single, but that I am lonely and likely to stay lonely.”
“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”
“Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilised by education: they grow there, firm as weeds among stones.”
“I can live alone, if self-respect, and circumstances require me so to do. I need not sell my soul to buy bliss. I have an inward treasure born with me, which can keep me alive if all extraneous delights should be withheld, or offered only at a price I cannot afford to give.”

This Date in Art History: Died 32 March 2012 – Alberto Sughi, an Italian painter.

Below – “Wind”; “Woman with pink and black dress”; “Portrait of a young woman”; “Conversation”; “Naufragio”; Untitled.


This Date in Literary History: Born 31 March 1936 – Marge Piercy, an award-winning American poet and novelist.

“More Than Enough”
by Marge Piercy

The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.

The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly

new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.

Below – Valerie Leri: “Silent Season”

This Date in Art History: Died 31 March 2014 – Roger Somville, a Belgian painter.

Below – “Portrait of a woman”; “Three faces”; “Standing Nude”; “La toilette”; “L’apres-midi”; “The bathers.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 31 March 1926 – John Fowles, an English novelist and author of “The Magus” and “The French Lieutenant’s Woman.”

Some quotes from the work of John Fowles:

“The most important questions in life can never be answered by anyone except oneself.”
“The profoundest distances are never geographical.”
“There are only two races on this planet – the intelligent and the stupid.”
“That was the tragedy. Not that one man had the courage to be evil. But that millions had not the courage to be good.”
“The price of tapping water into every house is that no one values water any more.”
“Time is not a road – it is a room.”
“You come to the United States not knowing what to expect. Then all your worst prejudices are confirmed.”

Contemporary French Art – Golnaz AFRAZ

Below – “Blue time”; “Yellow dream”; “Summer picnic”; “Suddenly orange”; “Boat”; “..and then i saw.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 31 March 1914 – Octavio Paz, a Mexican poet and recipient of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Literature.

“No More Cliches”

by Octavio Paz
Beautiful face
That like a daisy opens its petals to the sun
So do you
Open your face to me as I turn the page.

Enchanting smile
Any man would be under your spell,
Oh, beauty of a magazine.

How many poems have been written to you?
How many Dantes have written to you, Beatrice?
To your obsessive illusion
To you manufacture fantasy.

But today I won’t make one more Cliché
And write this poem to you.
No, no more clichés.

This poem is dedicated to those women
Whose beauty is in their charm,
In their intelligence,
In their character,
Not on their fabricated looks.

This poem is to you women,
That like a Shahrazade wake up
Everyday with a new story to tell,
A story that sings for change
That hopes for battles:
Battles for the love of the united flesh
Battles for passions aroused by a new day
Battle for the neglected rights
Or just battles to survive one more night.

Yes, to you women in a world of pain
To you, bright star in this ever-spending universe
To you, fighter of a thousand-and-one fights
To you, friend of my heart.

From now on, my head won’t look down to a magazine
Rather, it will contemplate the night
And its bright stars,
And so, no more clichés.

Below – Alex Grear: “On the Sunset” (photograph)

Contemporary American Art – Carlos Antonio Rancano

Below – “On My Mind”; “When You Speak (2 Monarch Butterflies)”; “Domesticated #2”; “Portrait in Blue”; “Afro Nieve”; “Bare Truths (or Wild Things).”


A Poem for Today

“On the Death of Friends in Childhood”
by Donald Justice

We shall not ever meet them bearded in heaven,
Nor sunning themselves among the bald of hell;
If anywhere, in the deserted schoolyard at twilight,
Forming a ring, perhaps, or joining hands
In games whose very names we have forgotten.
Come, memory, let us seek them there in the shadows.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 30 March 2021

This Dare in Art History: Born 30 March 1853 – Vincent van Gogh, a Dutch painter.

Below – “The Starry Night”; “Wheatfield with Crows”; “Bedroom in Arles”; “Starry Night Over the Rhone”; “The Red Vineyard”; “Sunflowers.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 30 March 1970 – Tobias Hill, an award-winning English poet, essayist, short story writer, and novelist.

“Drunk Autumn Midnight Below Victoria Embankment”
by Tobias Hill

And the sky wet as a loose tarpaulin.
I’m walking but not home.

I’m taking the air. It tastes
sweet, like rust. The tide is out

and the mud is thick as meat
over the inner city’s chalk.

Here are the broken fingerbones
of clay pipes. Traffic cones. The imprint

of my own feet, walking back.
Here is a seed stained black.

Live as a fist, but all I want
is somewhere to sit down a minute,

tomorrow’s newspaper (the pages
hot with fish and vinegar)

and the watermark of London sky
green as old money all over the river.

Below – Andrew Hird: “Victoria Embankment, winter”

This Date in Art History: Died 30 March 1966 – Maxfield Parrish, an American painter and illustrator.

Below – “The Lantern Bearers”; “Daybreak”; “Ecstasy”; “The Dinky Bird”; “The Mill Pond”; “Village School House.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 30 March 2005 – Robert Creeley, an award-winning American poet.

“The Rain”
by Robert Creeley

All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it

that never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent–
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.

Below -Serguei Borodouline: “Dusk Rain”

Contemporary Czech Art – Ivana Vostrakova

Below (photographs) – “Sky full of stars”; “Own way”; “Hope”; “Parting”; “Sunset lover”; “Fullmoon.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 30 March 1986 – John Ciardi, an award-winning American poet.

“The Catalpa”
by John Ciardi

The catalpa’s white week is ending there
in its corner of my yard. It has its arms full
of its own flowering now, but the least air
spills off a petal and a breeze lets fall
whole coronations. There is not much more
of what this is. Is every gladness quick?
That tree’s a nuisance, really. Long before
the summer’s out, its beans, long as a stick,
will start to shed. And every year one limb
cracks without falling off and hangs there dead
till I get up and risk my neck to trim
what it knows how to lose but not to shed.
I keep it only for this one white pass.
The end of June’s its garden; July, its Fall;
all else, the world remembering what it was
in the seven days of its visible miracle.

What should I keep if averages were all?

Below – Holly Winters: “Catalpa Tree Blossoms” (photograph)

Contemporary Polish Art – Julita Malinowska

Below – “Girls and a wave”; “Friends”; “Venus with a smartphone II”; “Solitude II”; “Girls just wanna have fun III”; “Fulfilled II.”


This Date in Literary History: Died 30 March 2013 – Daniel Hoffman, an award-winning American poet.

“Yours”
by Daniel Hoffman

I am yours as the summer air at evening is
Possessed by the scent of linden blossoms,

As the snowcap gleams with light
Lent it by the brimming moon.

Without you I’d be an unleafed tree
Blasted in a bleakness with no Spring.

Your love is the weather of my being.
What is an island without the sea?

Below – Anastasia Grace: “Island”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 29 March 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 29 March 1891 – Georges Seurat, a French painter.

Below – “Bathers at Asnieres”; “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”; “Woman Powdering Herself”; “The Circus”; “Flowers in a Vase”; “Models.”

A Poem for Today

“The Light Presses Down”
by Frank O’Hara

The light presses down
in an empty head the trees
and bushes flop like
a little girl imitating
The Dying Swan the stone
is hot the church is a
Russian oven and we
arc traveling still
you come by to type
your poems and write a
new poem instead on my
old typewriter while I sit
and read a novel about
a lunatic’s analysis of
a poem by Robert Frost
it is all suffocating
I am still traveling
with Belinda Lee where
does she take me Africa
where it is hot enough
even to make the elephant
angry and the grass is
all withered and TV color

why do I always read
Russian exile novels in
summer I guess because
they’re full of snow
and it is good to cry a
little to match your sweat
and sweat a little
to match their tears

Below – Elena Morozova: “Hot Summer Evening”

Contemporary Belgian Art – vanessa van meeraeghe

Below – “The Road”; “Almost cooked”; “There’s no grapes here”; “A Heron’s Place”; “Skyline”; “The tourists.”

A Poem for Today

“Sonnet LXXIX”
by Pablo Neruda

Tie your heart at night to mine, love,
and both will defeat the darkness
like twin drums beating in the forest
against the heavy wall of wet leaves.

Night crossing: black coal of dream
that cuts the thread of earthly orbs
with the punctuality of a headlong train
that pulls cold stone and shadow endlessly.

Love, because of it, tie me to a purer movement,
to the grip on life that beats in your breast,
with the wings of a submerged swan,

So that our dream might reply
to the sky’s questioning stars
with one key, one door closed to shadow.

Below – Sandra Woerner: “love”


Contemporary Greek Art – Michel Devanakis

Below – “After the rain”; “Indian Laundry”; “Solukhumbu”; “Esoterica”; “Lady with veil 2”; “Ephemeral Self-Portrait.”

A Poem for Today

“Here in Katmandu”
by Donald Justice

We have climbed the mountain.
There’s nothing more to do.
It is terrible to come down
To the valley
Where, amidst many flowers,
One thinks of snow,

As formerly, amidst snow,
Climbing the mountain,
One thought of flowers,
Tremulous, ruddy with dew,
In the valley.
One caught their scent coming down.

It is difficult to adjust, once down,
To the absence of snow.
Clear days, from the valley,
One looks up at the mountain.
What else is there to do?
Prayer wheels, flowers!

Let the flowers
Fade, the prayer wheels run down.
What have they to do
With us who have stood atop the snow
Atop the mountain,
Flags seen from the valley?

It might be possible to live in the valley,
To bury oneself among flowers,
If one could forget the mountain,
How, never once looking down,
Stiff, blinded with snow,
One knew what to do.

Meanwhile it is not easy here in Katmandu,
Especially when to the valley
That wind which means snow
Elsewhere, but here means flowers,
Comes down,
As soon it must, from the mountain.

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