Wandering in Woodacre – 7 June 2021

Contemporary American Art – Sue Graef

Below – “Barricades and Ducks”; “Haddonfield House”; “Armadillo at the Pond”; “Backstreet”; “Downtown Clearwater”; “Opal.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 7 June 1970 – E. M. Forster, an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, literary critic, travel writer, and author of “A Room with a View” and “A Passage to India.”

Some quotes from the work of E. M. Forester:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
“It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”
“We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won’t do harm – yes, choose a place where you won’t do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.”
“Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice.”
“Long books, when read, are usually overpraised, because the reader wishes to convince others and himself that he has not wasted his time.”
“You confuse what’s important with what’s impressive.”
Adventures do occur, but not punctually.”
“Mistrust all enterprises that require new clothes.”
“‘Life’ wrote a friend of mine, ‘is a public performance on the violin, in which you must learn the instrument as you go along.’”

Contemporary Indian Art – Ganesh K

Below (drawings) – “Soondari_20”; “Soondari_28”; “Soondari_26”; “Soondari_17”; “Soondari_15”; “Alagi 31.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 7 June 1917 – Gwendolyn Brooks, an American poet and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

“The Crazy Woman”
by Gwendolyn Brooks

I shall not sing a May song.
A May song should be gay.
I’ll wait until November
And sing a song of gray.

I’ll wait until November
That is the time for me.
I’ll go out in the frosty dark
And sing most terribly.

And all the little people
Will stare at me and say,
“That is the Crazy Woman
Who would not sing in May.”

Below – Marshall Lee: “Maybe Crazy Woman at Clear Lake”

Contemporary Czech Art – Marek Hospodarsky

Below – “Winter lucid”; “Maol”; “Silence 2”; “Fairytale”; “Stigma”; “Intention.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 7 June 1967 – Dorothy Parker, an American essayist, short story writer, poet, critic, and satirist.

Some quotes from the work of Dorothy Parker:

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”
“Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.”
“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”
“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”
“Brevity is the soul of lingerie.”
“Take me or leave me; or, as is the usual order of things, both.”
“That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment.”

Contemporary British Art – Simon Hopkinson

Below – “Downward Direction”; “Alone With Phone four”; “Night Of The Variants”; “Festive Blues”; “Police Presence three”; “Ground Subsided.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 7 June 1954 – Louise Erdrich, an American novelist, poet, two-time recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award (for “Love Medicine” and “LaRose”), and recipient of the National Book Award (for “The Round House”).

Some quotes from the work of Louise Erdrich:

“When we are young, the words are scattered all around us. As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape.”
“What happens when you let an unsatisfactory present go on long enough? It becomes your entire history.”
“When every inch of the world is known, sleep may be the only wilderness that we have left.”
“Things which do not grow and change are dead things.”
“So what is wild? What is wilderness? What are dreams but an internal wilderness and what is desire but a wildness of the soul?”
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and being alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You have to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes too near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.”
“Ravens are the birds I’ll miss most when I die. If only the darkness into which we must look were composed of the black light of their limber intelligence. If only we did not have to die at all. Instead, become ravens.”

Contemporary Italian Art – Alessio Mazzarulli

Below (collage) – “No, I’ll not die (n.567)”; “Don’t you see that face? (n.566); “Do let me feel it (n.563)”; “She paused (n.557)”; “Walking by the river (n.521); “Mannequins – 07 – (n.5130”; “It was Monday evening (n.540).”

A Poem for Today

“Stolen Glances”
By John Thornberg

Every time I turn to peer
at my reflection in the mirror,

a cruel bargain comes in play:
the glass takes off another day

from my expected living span.
It’s vanity’s fair payment plan.

Each time I look I pay, alas.
I see already how the glass

has laced its silver in my hair,
my youth was stolen unaware.

The real me just fades away,
glance by glance, day by day,

until too late I’ll turn to see
the mirror has stolen off with me!

Below – Flora Borsi: “See me!” (Photograph)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 6 June 2021

Contemporary Spanish Art – Laura Tietjens

Below – “Sweet times”; “Glory”; “Cat song”; “Ethereal”; “Tattoo girl.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 6 June 1925 – Maxine Kumin, an American poet, novelist, essayist, and memoirist.

“After Love”
by Maxine Kumin

Afterward, the compromise.
Bodies resume their boundaries.

These legs, for instance, mine.
Your arms take you back in.

Spoons of our fingers, lips
admit their ownership.

The bedding yawns, a door
blows aimlessly ajar

and overhead, a plane
singsongs coming down.

Nothing is changed, except
there was a moment when

the wolf, the mongering wolf
who stands outside the self

lay lightly down, and slept.

Below – Henry Glover: “Held”

Contemporary Dutch Art – Axel Saffran

Below – “Glance I”; “Desert Woman”; “Sunlight I”; “Gaze II (Medusa)”; “Gaze II”; “Garden.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 6 June 1875 – Thomas Mann, a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, essayist, author of “The Magic Mountain” and “Death in Venice,” and recipient of the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Thomas Mann:

“In books we never find anything but ourselves. Strangely enough, that always gives us great pleasure, and we say the author is a genius.”
“Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.”
“War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”
“A harmful truth is better than a useful lie.”
“Art is the funnel, as it were, through which spirit is poured into life.”
“Technology and comfort – having those, people speak of culture, but do not have it.”
“He thought what a fine thing it was that people made music all over the world, even in the strangest settings – probably even on polar expeditions.”
“Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul.”

Contemporary Spanish Art – Jesus Manuel Moreno Montero

Below – “To the wedding marking”; “Does anyone know where we are going?’; “When balloons were still being sold”; “Tourist group”; “Strolling along the beach”: “Let’s go to the water!.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 6 June 1962 – Kenneth Rexroth, an American poet, essayist, and translator: Part I of III.

by Kenneth Rexroth

A thing unknown for years,
Rain falls heavily in June,
On the ripe cherries, and on
The half cut hay.
Above the glittering
Grey water of the inlet,
In the driving, light filled mist,
A blue heron
Catches mice in the green
And copper and citron swathes.
I walk on the rainy hills.
It is enough.

Contemporary Filipino Art – Michael Vincent Manalo

Below (photographs) – “Let’s go and sleep in the clouds tonight”; “The Unveiling II”; “Crescendo of Silence”; “Gentle Dreams of Going Home II”; “Early morning at Dajia”; “Contrast.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 6 June 1982 – Kenneth Rexroth, an American poet, essayist, and translator: Part II of III. Below are three of Rexroth’s translations of the work of Japanese poets.

by Shami Mansei (8th century)

This world of ours,
To what shall I compare it?
To the white wake of a boat
That rows away in the early dawn.

by Hitomaro (8th century)

A strange old man
Stops me,
Looking out of my deep mirror.

by Murasaki Shikibu (974-1031)

This life of ours would not cause you sorrow
if you thought of it as like
the mountain cherry blossoms
which bloom and fade in a day.

Below – Utagawa Kuniyoshi: From the Series “One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets: Poem by Empress Jito”

Contemporary French Art – Solveiga Chastres

Below – “Indochine”; “Windy skyline”; “Trocadero”; “Brooklyn view”; “My Paradise”; “Water Lilies.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 6 June 1982 – Kenneth Rexroth, an American poet, essayist, and translator: Part III of III. Below are three of Rexroth’s translations of the work of Chinese poets.

“Winter Dawn”
by Tu Fu (713-770)

The men and beasts of the zodiac
Have marched over us once more.
Green wine bottles and red lobster shells,
Both emptied, litter the table.
“Should auld acquaintance be forgot?” Each
Sits listening to his own thoughts,
And the sound of cars starting outside.
The birds in the eaves are restless,
Because of the noise and light. Soon now
In the winter dawn I will face
My fortieth year. Borne headlong
Towards the long shadows of sunset
By the headstrong, stubborn moments,
Life whirls past like drunken wildfire.

“Moon, Flowers, Man”
by Su Tung P’o (1036-1101)

I raise my cup and invite
The moon to come down from the
Sky. I hope she will accept
Me. I raise my cup and ask
The branches, heavy with flowers,
To drink with me. I wish them
Long life and promise never
To pick them. In company
With the moon and the flowers,
I get drunk, and none of us
Ever worries about good
Or bad. How many people
Can comprehend our joy? I
Have wine and moon and flowers.
Who else do I want for drinking companions?

“Married Love”
by Kuan Tao-Shen (1262-1319)

You and I
Have so much love,
That it
Burns like a fire,
In which we bake a lump of clay
Molded into a figure of you
And a figure of me.
Then we take both of them,
And break them into pieces,
And mix the pieces with water,
And mold again a figure of you,
And a figure of me.
I am in your clay.
You are in my clay.
In life we share a single quilt.
In death we will share one bed.

Below – Shen Zhou: “Poet on a Mountaintop”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 5 June 2021

This Date in Art History: Died 5 June 1930 – Jules Pascin, a Bulgarian painter.

Below – “Portrait of Mimi Laurent”; “Deux Danseuses du Chatelet”; “Les Femmes au parc”; “Jeune femme”; “Portrait of Lucy Krohg”; “Genevieve with a Garland of Flowers.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 5 June 1910 – O. Henry (pen name of William Sydney Porter), an American short story writer.

Some quotes from the work of O. Henry:

“The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate. ”
“He seemed to be made of sunshine and blood-red tissue and clear weather.”
“Pull up the shades so I can see New York. I don’t want to go home in the dark.”
“There are stories in everything. I’ve got some of my best yarns from park benches, lampposts, and newspaper stands.”
“Life is full of sniffles sobs and smiles. With sniffles predominating.”

Contemporary Slovakian Art – Sylvia Fuzik

Below – “This is quite enough #5”; “Trust in Opacity”; “First and Second Light”; “Horizon with Faded Clouds”; “Troubled Sky I”; “I came to far to see the end now.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 5 June 2012 – Ray Bradbury, an award-winning American novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, and author of “Fahrenheit 451.”

Some quotes from the work of Ray Bradbury:

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
“With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.”
“If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: ‘It’s gonna go wrong.’ Or ‘She’s going to hurt me.’ Or,’I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . .’ Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
“There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”
“I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”
“We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.”

Contemporary Belgian Art – Hildegarde Handsaeme

Below – “Lacomplexite”; “Composition Musicale II”; “Konexioa”; “Reciproco”; “Un moment decontracte”; “The black swan.”

This Date in Literary/Entertainment History: Born 5 June 1941 – Spalding Gray, an American writer, actor, monologuist, author of “Monster in a Box,” and recipient of the National Book Award.

Some quotes from the work of Spalding Gray:

“I knew I couldn’t live in America and I wasn’t ready to move to Europe so I moved to an island off the coast of America – New York City .”
“Psychoanalysis is the transformation of hysterical misery into common unhappiness.”
“One of the ways to reincarnate is to tell your story.
“How therapeutic it is to surround yourself with people stranger than yourself.”
“Real life has always let me down. That’s why I do the monologues. I have always said I would rather tell a life than live a life. But I have to live a life in order to tell one.”
“I refer to jet lag as ‘jet-psychosis’ – there’s an old saying that the spirit cannot move faster than a camel.”
“He won’t fly on the Balinese airline, Garuda, because he won’t fly on any airline where the pilots believe in reincarnation.”
“When I was in therapy about two years ago, one day I noticed that I hadn’t had any children. And I like children at a distance. I wondered if I’d like them up close. I wondered why I didn’t have any. I wondered if it was a mistake, or if I’d done it on purpose, or what. And I noticed my therapist didn’t have any children either. He had pictures of his cats on the wall. Framed.”

Contemporary Israeli Art – Yossi Kotler

Below – “complexity”; “breaking the patterns”; “in the forest”; “embrace the outsider”; “deep look”; “Inner growth.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 5 June 1939 – Margaret Drabble, an award-winning English novelist, biographer, critic, and author of “The Millstone.”

Some quotes from the work of Margaret Drabble:

“Perhaps the rare and simple pleasure of being seen for what one is compensates for the misery of being it.”
“There would be more genuine rejoicing at the discovery of a complete new novel by Jane Austen than any other literary discovery, short of a new major play by Shakespeare.”
“I don’t see how you can go too far, in the right direction”
“I’d rather be at the end of a dying tradition, which I admire, than at the beginning of a tradition which I deplore.”
“Happiness is for those who can live in a warm climate.”
“Auntie Phyl’s last months in the care home were extra pieces. Age is unnecessary. Some of us, like my mother, are fortunate enough to die swiftly and suddenly, in full possession of our faculties and our fate, but more and more of us will be condemned to linger, at the mercy of anxious or indifferent relatives, careless strangers, unwanted medical interventions, increasing debility, incontinence, memory loss. We live too long, but, like the sibyl hanging in her basket in the cave at Cumae, we find it hard to die.”
“Because if one has an image, however dim and romantic, of a journey’s end, one may, in the end, surely reach it, after no matter how many detours and deceptions and abandonings of hope. And hope could never have been entirely abandoned, even in the worst days.”
“I actually remember feeling delight, at two o’clock in the morning, when the baby woke for his feed, because I so longed to have another look at him.”

Contemporary Hungarian Art – Szabolcs Szolnoki

Below – “White Cat From The Past”; “Cold hands”; “Room”; “Red Sofa”; “Another Afternoon”; “Voyeur.”

A Poem for Today

by Barbara Schmitz

It comes in deepest dark, riding
a nightmare. You wake yelping,
you think from your fear, but discover
this distress is caused by pain.
The migraine descends, an unwished-
for gift, like a not-very-pleasant
prediction from a fortune-telling gypsy.

Pleading for it to depart never works.
Better to invoke blessing, welcome
the unbidden guest—it’ll get worse
before it gets better. Then finally,
as Emily was wise enough to foresee,
“After great pain, a formal feeling comes.”

When relief blossoms so sweet, so
unassuming, you wonder why
the rest of humanity isn’t spinning
in ecstasy for the opportunity to
feel like this. Just ordinary.

Below – Donald McPartland: “Migraine”

Contemporary American Art – Ruth Franklin

Below – “LA”; “Silk Road”; “Kent”; “Suffragettes”; “Working Girls”; “Lake of Fire.”

A Poem for Today

“Everywhere a River”
by Emily Randall

I do remember darkness, how it snaked
through the alders, their ashen flanks
in our high-beams the color of stone.
That hollow slap as floodwater hit
the sides of the car. Was the radio on?
Had I been asleep?
Sometimes you have to tell a story
your entire life to get it right.

Twenty-two and terrified, I had married you
but barely knew you. And for forty years
I’ve told this story wrong. In my memory
you drove right through it, the river
already rising on the road behind us,
no turning around.
But since your illness I recall it
differently. Now that I know it’s possible
to lose you, I’m finally remembering
it right. That night,
you threw that car in reverse,
and gunned it. You found us
another way home.

Below – Joy Parks Coats: “Patterns of Reflections”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 4 June 2021

Contemporary British Art – Francis Reynolds

Below – “Solicitude”; “Oblivious”; “Reminisce”; “Look Away”; “Through to the Other Side”; “Forcing Squares Through Circles.”

A Poem for Today

“Art and Life”
by Henry Taylor

In the Portland Museum of Art’s snack bar
one July morning, a young woman worked
at the board that lists the specials of the day.
From her little stepladder she leaned in

with various colored chalks, using both point
and edge, adjusting with her fingertips,
experimenting with size and color, print
and script, once or twice stepping down and back,

then homing in on what was to be solved.
The whole thing might have taken her ten minutes.
At last she moved a little farther back
to see how what she’d done had changed the room,

while we, who had the good luck to be there
at the beginning of her day, beheld
the change she couldn’t know that she had wrought
merely by how her red hair caught the light.

Below – Margarita Felis: “Woman with red hair”

Contemporary Russian Art – Elena Sivoplyasova

Below – “Still life with pomegranates”; “Set in stone”; “Italian morning”: “Wild roses in the hair”; “All mundane must perish”; “Mysterious nude woman.”

A Poem for Today

“Blue Work Shirt”
by Gail Mazur

I go into our bedroom closet
with its one blue work shirt, the cuffs

frayed, the paint stains a loopy non-
narrative of color, of spirit.

Now that you are bodiless
and my body’s no longer the body you knew,

it’s good to be reminded every morning
of the great mess, the brio of art-making.

On the floor, the splattered clogs
you called your “Pollock shoes.”

Contemporary French Art – Trapaidze Nina

Below – “The Dust Of Time”; “The Woman With Freckles”; “The Woman with red hair”; “An Origami Woman”; “The woman with blue skin”; “Reminiscence.”

A Poem for Today

“Red Stilts”
byTed Kooser

Seventy years ago I made a pair of stilts
from six-foot two-by-twos, with blocks
to stand on nailed a foot from the bottom.

If I was to learn to walk on stilts I wanted
them red and I had to wait almost forever
for the paint to dry, laid over the arms

of a saggy, ancient Adirondack chair
no longer good for much but holding hoes
and rakes and stakes rolled up in twine,

and at last I couldn’t wait a minute longer
and took the stilts into my hands and stepped
between them, stepped up and stepped out,

tilted far forward, clopping fast and away
down the walk, a foot above my neighborhood,
the summer in my hair, my new red stilts

stuck to my fingers, not knowing how far
I’d be able to get, and now, in what seems
just a few yards down the block, I’m there.

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Wandering in Woodacre – 3 June 2021

Contemporary British Art – Lorna Scheepers

Below – “Long way home (The Swan)”; “Underneath The Frozen River, The Water Still Flows”; “The Nature of Memory”; “My heart is like a tree with its flowers ablaze”; “Follow the yellow wood road”; “I Dreamed in a Dream.”

This Date in Literary History: Died 3 June 1924 – Franz Kafka, a Czech-Austrin novelist, short story writer, and author of “The Metamorphosis,” “The Trial,” and “The Castle.”

Some quotes from the work of Franz Kafka:

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.”
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
“I am a cage, in search of a bird.”
“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.”
“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”
“I am free and that is why I am lost.”
“All language is but a poor translation.”
“It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.”
“Paths are made by walking”

Contemporary American Art – Carolina Alcocer

Below – “Wheat”; “Escape to Space”; “Girl on Fire”; “UFO”; “Wooden Horse”; “Pool.”

A Poem for Today

“Sheltered in Place”
by Richard Levine

You watch your boy struggle with giving
up the turtle, returning it to the pond
where he’d found it on a walk—
first time you’d all been out in days.

How thoughtful he thought he’d been,
making it a home in the home
where the family sheltered in place.
How he cared for his armored friend.

Having picked flowers, knowing they’d die,
you understand the urge to pluck
the exotic, the beautiful—any diversion
from fear, which is in itself a disease.

That morning, you helped your boy
give up the idea of living forever.

Below – Corbyn Rhodes: “Van Gogh, All Things Come To and End”

Contemporary Croatian Art – Mihael Kolaric

Below – “Portrait of a Woman”; “Metamorphosis”; “Young Girl”; “Portrait of a Woman”; “Transience”; “Act in motion.”

A Poem for Today

by Barbara Crooker
“And Now It’s September”

and the garden diminishes: cucumber leaves rumpled
and rusty, zucchini felled by borers, tomatoes sparse
on the vines. But out in the perennial beds, there’s one last
blast of color: ignitions of goldenrod, flamboyant
asters, spiraling mums, all those flashy spikes waving
in the wind, conducting summer’s final notes.
The ornamental grasses have gone to seed, haloed
in the last light. Nights grow chilly, but the days
are still warm; I wear the sun like a shawl on my neck
and arms. Hundreds of blackbirds ribbon in, settle
in the trees, so many black leaves, then, just as suddenly,
they’re gone. This is autumn’s great Departure Gate,
and everyone, boarding passes in hand, waits
patiently in a long, long line.

Below – Sergey Komorny: “autumn garden”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 2 June 2021

Contemporary Norwegian Art – June Sira

Below – “Dusk”; “Cherry Blossom”; “A Girl With Flowers On Her Dress”; “Oreo”; “Girl under a tree”; “A Girl With A Red Shirt.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 June 1935 – Carol Shields, an American-born Canadian novelist, short story writer, author of “The Stone Diaries,” and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Carol Shields:

“Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve.”
“This is why I read novels: so I can escape my own unrelenting monologue.”
“There are chapters in every life which are seldom read, and certainly not aloud.”
“The larger loneliness of our lives evolves from our unwillingness to spend ourselves, stir ourselves. We are always damping down our inner weather, permitting ourselves the comforts of postponement, of rehearsals”
“Happiness is the lucky pane of glass you carry in your head. It takes all your cunning just to hang on to it, and once it’s smashed you have to move into a different sort of life.”
“Dreaming her way backward in time, resurrecting images, the young girl realized, with wonder, that the absent are always present, that you don’t make them go away simply because you get on a train and head off in a particular direction.”
“When we think of the past we tend to assume that people were simpler in their functions, and shaped by forces that were primary and irreducible. We take for granted that our forbears were imbued with a deeper purity of purpose than we possess nowadays, and a more singular set of mind, believing, for example, that early scientists pursued their ends with unbroken ‘dedication’ and that artists worked in the flame of some perpetual ‘inspiration’. But none of this is true. Those who went before us were every bit as wayward and unaccountable and unsteady in their longings as people are today. The least breeze, whether it be sexual or psychological – or even a real breeze, carrying with it the refreshment of oxygene and energy – has the power to turn us from our path.”
“Anyone’s childhood can be an act of disablement if rehearsed and replayed and squinted at in a certain light.”
“In one day I had altered my life; my life, therefore, was alterable. This simple axiom did not call out for exegesis; no, it entered my bloodstream directly, as powerful as heroin. I could feel it pump and surge, the way it brightened my veins to a kind of glass. I had wakened that morning to narrowness and predestination and now I was falling asleep in the storm of my own free will.”
“Here’s to another year and let’s hope it’s above ground.”

Contemporary American Art – Joe Bednarski

Below – “Afternoon Coffee”; “Starry Night Girl”; “Cowboy”; “Vase of Sunflowers”; “Le Poulet Blanc”; ”Monika.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 2 June 1899 – Edwin Way Teale, an American naturalist, photographer, writer, author of the four-part series “The American Seasons” (“North with the Spring,” “Journey into Summer,” “Autumn Across America,” “Wandering Through Winter”), and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

Some quotes from the work of Edwin Way Teale:

“Our minds, as well as our bodies, have need of the out-of-doors. Our spirits, too, need simple things, elemental things, the sun and the wind and the rain, moonlight and starlight, sunrise and mist and mossy forest trails, the perfumes of dawn and the smell of fresh-turned earth and the ancient music of wind among the trees.”
“It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it.”
“Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals ‘love’ them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.”
“Nature is shy and noncommittal in a crowd. To learn her secrets, visit her alone or with a single friend, at most. Everything evades you, everything hides, even your thoughts escape you, when you walk in a crowd.”
“It is those who have compassion for all life who will best safeguard the life of man. Those who become aroused only when man is endangered become aroused too late. We cannot make the world uninhabitable for other forms of life and have it habitable for ourselves. It is the conservationist who is concerned with the welfare of all the land and life of the country, who, in the end, will do most to maintain the world as a fit place for human existence.”
“Time is the river. We are the islands. Time washes around us and flows away and with it flow fragments of our lives. So, little by little, each island shrinks….But where, who can say, down the long stream of time, are our eroded days deposited?”

Contemporary American Art – Sara Fletcher

Below – “Afternoon”; “Mother of the Bride”; “Garden”; “Makers”; “Card game with a unicorn”; “The Dreamer”; “Preparing the bride.”

A Poem for Today

“Monarchs, Viceroys, Swallowtails”
by Robert Hedin

For years they came tacking in, full sail,
Riding the light down through the trees,
Over the rooftops, and not just monarchs,
But viceroys, swallowtails, so many
They became unremarkable, showing up
As they did whether we noticed them or not,
Swooping and fanning out at the bright
Margins of the day. So how did we know
Until it was too late, until they quit coming,
That the flowers in the flower beds
Would close their shutters, and the birds
Grow so dull they’d lose the power to sing,
And how later, after the river died,
Others would follow, admirals, buckeyes,
All going off like some lavish parade
Into the great overcrowded silence.
And no one bothered to tell the trees
They wouldn’t be coming back any more,
The huge shade trees where they used
To gather, every last branch and leaf sagging
Under the bright freight of their wings.

Below – Gino Belassen: “Before It Fades” (collage)

Contemporary American Art – David Jackson

Below – “Rinse, Repeat”; “Elusive”; “Tidepool”; “Santa Monica, Dusk”; “Mirror Image”; “Afternoon.”

A Poem for Today

“In Passing”
by Lisel Mueller

How swiftly the strained honey
of afternoon light
flows into darkness

and the closed bud shrugs off
its special mystery
in order to break into blossom

as if what exists, exists
so that it can be lost
and become precious

Below – Paula Honsmerk: “Afternoon light”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 1 June 2021

Greeting June

Below – Beta Sudnikowicz: “June afternoon”

Art for June – Jan-Thomas Olund: “road in early June”

A Poem for June

“June Light”
by Richard Wilbur

Your voice, with clear location of June days,
Called me outside the window.You were there,
Light yet composed, as in the just soft stare
Of uncontested summer all things raise
Plainly their seeming into seamless air.

Then your love looked as simple and entire
As that picked pear you tossed me, and your face
As legible as pearskin’s fleck and trace,
Which promise always wine, by mottled fire
More fatal fleshed than ever human grace.

And your gay gift—Oh when I saw it fall
Into my hands, through all that naïve light,
It seemed as blessed with truth and new delight
As must have been the first great gift of all.

Below – Rob van Hoek: “The June light sun”

Art for June – Elena Sokolova: “June”

A Poem for June

“All in June”
by Henry Davies

A week ago I had a fire
To warm my feet, my hands and face;
Cold winds, that never make a friend,
Crept in and out of every place.
Today the fields are rich in grass,
And buttercups in thousands grow;
I’ll show the world where I have been–
With gold-dust seen on either shoe.

Till to my garden back I come,
Where bumble-bees for hours and hours
Sit on their soft, fat, velvet bums,
To wriggle out of hollow flowers.

Below – Ali Moshiri: “june meadow”

Art for June – Anne Baudequin: “June 6, clouds over the mount Jalore”

A Poem for June

“Dusk in June”
by Sara Teasdale

Evening, and all the birds
In a chorus of shimmering sound
Are easing their hearts of joy
For miles around.

The air is blue and sweet,
The few first stars are white,–
Oh let me like the birds
Sing before night.

Below – Sergey Kudrin: “June”

Art for June – Simon Jones: “June Sunset 6”

Welcome, Wonderful June

Below – Carmelita Iezzi: “June” (collage)

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Wandering in Woodacre – 31 May 2021

Memorial Day 2021

Below – John Cunnane: “Flag in the Sky”

Contemporary Latvian Art – Jana Jevsejeva

Below – “woman with umbrella”; “Over the Mountains”; “evening on the lake”; “June”; “men and boats”; “African dance.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 31 May 1948 – Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian journalist, essayist, investigative reporter, author of “Voices From Chernobyl: An Oral History Of A Nuclear Disaster,” and recipient of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some quotes from the work of Svetlana Alexievich:

“‘Come get your apples! Chernobyl apples!’’ Someone told her not to advertise that, no one will buy them. ‘Don’t worry!’ she says. ‘They buy them anyway. Some need them for their mother-in-law, some for their boss.’”
“Death is the fairest thing in the world. No one’s ever gotten out of it. The earth takes everyone – the kind, the cruel, the sinners. Aside from that, there’s no fairness on earth.”
“Show me a fantasy novel about Chernobyl–there isn’t one! Because reality is more fantastic.”
“It’s certainly true that Chernobyl, while an accident in the sense that no one intentionally set it off, was also the deliberate product of a culture of cronyism, laziness, and a deep-seated indifference toward the general population. The literature on the subject is pretty unanimous in its opinion that the Soviet system had taken a poorly designed reactor and then staffed it with a group of incompetents. It then proceeded, as the interviews in this book attest, to lie about the disaster in the most criminal way. In the crucial first ten days, when the reactor core was burning and releasing a steady stream of highly radioactive material into the surrounding areas, the authorities repeatedly claimed that the situation was under control. . . In the week after the accident, while refusing to admit to the world that anything really serious had gone wrong, the Soviets poured thousands of men into the breach. . . The machines they brought broke down because of the radiation. The humans wouldn’t break down until weeks or months later, at which point they’d die horribly.”
“Reality has always attracted me like a magnet, tortured and hypnotized me, and I wanted to capture it on paper. So I immediately appropriated this genre of actual human voices and confessions, witness evidences and documents. This is how I hear and see the world—as a chorus of individual voices and a collage of everyday details. In this way all my mental and emotional potential is realized to the full. In this way I can be simultaneously a writer, reporter, sociologist, psychologist and preacher.”

Contemporary American Art – David Barba

Below – “Three Glass Milk Bottles”; “Bold Hibiscus – 11”; “Sunny Summer Woods – 2”; “Raspberries On Green Leaves”; “Sunset Behind Winter Trees – 13”; “Yellow Leaf Maple – Purple Background.”

A Poem for Today

“Walking Through A Spider Web”
by Jeff Worley

I believed only air
stretched between the dogwood

and the barberry: another
thoughtless human assumption

sidetracking the best story
this furrow spider knew to spin.

And, trying to get the sticky
filament off my face, I must look,

to the neighbors, like someone
being attacked by his own nervous

system, a man conducting an orchestra
of bees. Or maybe it’s only the dance

of human history I’m reenacting:
caught in his own careless wreckage,

a man trying to extricate himself,
afraid to open his eyes.

Below – Jill Ann Harper: “Spider Web”

Contemporary Russian Art – Natalia Baykalova

Below – “Magically”; “Air”; “Memories of that music”; “Up”; “Mix me with flowers”; “The Neon Hope No. 11.”

A Poem for Today

by Jehanne Dubrow

Now we are here at home, in the little nation
of our marriage, swearing allegiance to the table
we set for lunch or the windchime on the porch,

its easy dissonance. Even in our shared country,
the afternoon allots its golden lines
so that we’re seated, both in shadow, on opposite

ends of a couch and two gray dogs between us.
There are acres of opinions in this house.
I make two cups of tea, two bowls of soup,

divide an apple equally. If I were a patriot,
I would call the blanket we spread across our bed
the only flag—some nights we’ve burned it

with our anger at each other. Some nights
we’ve welcomed the weight, a woolen scratch
on both our skins. My love, I am pledging

to this republic, for however long we stand,
I’ll watch with you the rain’s arrival in our yard.
We’ll lift our faces, together, toward the glistening.

Below – Tatyana Danshina: “Married couple”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 30 May 2021

Contemporary American Art – Robert White

Below – “Slow Creek”; “Sleeping Cats”; “White Swan”; “Central Coast”; “Desert Retreat”; “Girl in kimono”; “Girl with Dove.”

This Date in Literary History: Born 30 May 1955 – Colm Toibin, an award-winning Irish novelist, poet, playwright, critic, and author of “The Master” and “Brooklyn.”

Some quotes from the work of Colm Toibin:

“Dreams belong to each of us alone, just as pain does.”
“She was nobody here. It was not just that she had no friends and family; it was rather that she was a ghost in this room, in the streets on the way to work, on the shop floor. Nothing meant anything. The rooms in the house on Friary Street belonged to her, she thought; when she moved in them she was really there. In the town, if she walked to the shop or to the Vocational School, the air, the light, the ground, it was all solid and part of her, even if she met no one familiar. Nothing here was part of her. It was false, empty, she thought. She closed her eyes and tried to think, as she had done so many times in her life, of something she was looking forward to, but there was nothing. Not the slightest thing. Not even Sunday. Nothing maybe except sleep, and she was not even certain she was looking forward to sleep. In any case, she could not sleep yet, since it was not yet nine o’clock. There was nothing she could do. It was as though she had been locked away.”
“As I settled down to sleep in that new bed in the dark city, I saw that it was too late now, too late for everything. I would not be given a second chance. In the hours when I woke, I have to tell you that this struck me almost with relief.”
“Some of our loves and attachments are elemental and beyond our choosing, and for that very reason they come spiced with pain and regret and need and hollowness and a feeling as close to anger as I will ever be able to imagine.”
“in skies of deepening blue
the moon, heaven’s queen
was now afloat”
“For the first time in years, he felt the deep sadness of exile, knowing that he was alone here, an outsider, and too alert to the ironies, the niceties, the manners, and indeed, the morals to be able to participate.”
“We walk among them sometimes, the ones who have left us. They are filled with something that none of us knows yet. It is a mystery.”
“Memory fills my body as much as blood and bones.”

Contemporary Chilean Art – Veronica Byers

Below – “The invisible”; “Morning carnival”; “The Paper Plane”; “Return”; “Loneliness”; “Meeting Point.”

A Poem for Today

“Nowhere to Nowhere”
by BJ Omanson

When they sold off the farm she took the child
and caught a bus out of town—as for him,
with everyone gone and everything grim,
he opened a pint of bourbon, piled

pictures, letters and clothes in the yard,
doused them with kerosene, struck a match
and watched as they burnt to ashes, watched
and worked on his whiskey, working hard.

The next morning he caught an outbound freight
heading god-knows-where and he didn’t care—
he was down to nothing, a gypsy’s fare—
down to a rusty tin cup and a plate,

dice and a bible, a bedroll and fate,
down to a bone-jarring ride on a train
through country dying and desperate for rain,
running nowhere to nowhere and running late.

Below – Brian Crawford Young: “Night Freight”

Contemporary Lithuanian Art – Justinas Krascuckas: Part I of II.

Below – “Flow”; “Looking for myself”; “In the dark forest”; “Evening”; “Friend”; “Mother of wolves.”

A Poem for Today

“Winter Morning”
by James Crews

When I can no longer say thank you
for this new day and the waking into it,
for the cold scrape of the kitchen chair
and the ticking of the space heater glowing
orange as it warms the floor near my feet,
I know it’s because I’ve been fooled again
by the selfish, unruly man who lives in me
and believes he deserves only safety
and comfort. But if I pause as I do now,
and watch the streetlights outside flashing
off one by one like old men blinking their
cloudy eyes, if I listen to my tired neighbors
slamming car doors hard against the morning
and see the steaming coffee in their mugs
kissing chapped lips as they sip and
exhale each of their worries white into
the icy air around their faces—then I can
remember this one life is a gift each of us
was handed and told to open: Untie the bow
and tear off the paper, look inside
and be grateful for whatever you find
even if it is only the scent of a tangerine
that lingers on the fingers long after
you’ve finished peeling it.

Below – Elvira Kirsch: “Tangerine on blue…”

Contemporary Lithuanian Art – Justinas Krasuckas: Part II of II:

Below – “Fright: Ms Thompson with raincoat in non-existing light”; “Sedona landscape”; “Monument Valley”; “Bryce”; “Foggy day”; “Lost”; “Autumn.”

A Poem for Today

by Linda Parson

I hear before seeing, no need to see
to know morning’s ocarina, plaintive
call, soft strut on leafmeal. It was the first
creature I saw when the needle was done
and my sheepdog limped into last night.
That dove, I thought, will house his sable
spirit, coat feathered like joy in the wind.
Dove comes when my scattered mind

needs herding—bitter anniversaries,
leavings dire as tornadic rumble. Comes
when sky rivers blue, cooing ‘all’s well’
after all. Comes not to forbid mourning,
but trills core deep, beyond the senses,
glances back to make sure I follow
its white-tipped tail. Plaintive ocarina,
call me to bear all the light coming.

Davide Filippo Ceccarossi: “In A Blue Stony Bloom”

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Wandering in Woodacre – 29 May 2021

Contemporary French Art – Helene Vallas Vincent

Below (photographs) – “Breath of fresh air”; “Cuba Life”; “See the sea”; “Skate in Santa Monica”; “Far Away in Big Sur.”

A Poem for Today

by Susanna Brougham

Months later, my father and I
discovered his mother’s last word—
deep in the downstairs freezer,
one loaf of dark rye.

Its thaw slowed the hours.

I could not bear
the thought of eating it.
Then the ice subsided. The bread
was firm, fragrant, forgiving.

My father got the knife,
the butter. The slices
held. Together we ate
that Finnish silence.

Below – Tatiana Kolapaeva: “Still life with rye bread”

Contemporary Puerto Rican Art – Alfredo Machado

Below – “Somewhere”; “Death Valley”; “Wildflowers”; “Puerto Rico Mountain”; “Lonely Place 3”; “Atlas Mountains.”

A Poem for Today

“starry night”
by Jennifer Hambrick

starry night
acorns popping

Below – Tanja Vetter: “Starry night”

Contemporary German Art – Susanne Wind

Below – “The sun tree”; “LLum tundra”; “Morning song”; “hanging the laundry”; “Summer V”; “evening breeze.”

A Poem for Today

by James Crews

To see clearly,
not needing a drink
or pill or puff
of any pipe
to know I’m alive.
To come home,
peel off sandals
and step onto
the cool tile floor
needing only
the rush of water
over strawberries
I picked myself
and then a knife
to trim the dusty
green heads
from each one,
to watch them
gleam cleanly
in a colander
in a patch of sun
near the sink.

Below – Carol King: “Spilling Strawberries”

Contemporary British Art – Jay Seabrook

Below – “Lost for Words”; “A seat reserved for the spirit”; “Somewhere to Swim”; “Night Falls”; “The Wily Fox”; “The Refuge.”

A Poem for Today

“Dream Watch”
by Patricia Frolander

I softly call your name as I slip into the stand of wheat,
fifty-five acres of gold.
Careful not to shell the seed, my aged hands
push ripened stems aside.

You must be here for you love the fullness of a crop.
Yards farther, I call again.
The hawk above must wonder
at the trails through the field.

Did you leave with the winnowing scythe,
the burning heat of August?
For some good reason, I cannot find you here,
amid the nightly dreams and tear-damp pillow.

Below – Mark Poss: “Wheat Dream”

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