Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987)
Additional color combinations! Incuding RED!
Study for Warhol Flowers (1965)
Sturtevant (1924 – 2014)
Even more beautiful renditions,
mostly by Sturtevant
Sturtevant & Warhol
"The Infinity of Your Interiority. The human person is a threshold where many infinities meet. There is the infinity of space that reaches out into the depths of the cosmos; the infinity of time reaching back over billions of years. There is the infinity of the microcosm: one little speck on the top of your thumb contains a whole inner cosmos, but it is so tiny that it is not visible to the human eye. The infinity in the microscopic is as dazzling as that of the cosmos. However, the infinity which haunts everyone and which no-one can finally quell, is the infinity of their own interiority. A world lies hidden behind each human face. . . .
Another infinity, as yet unborn, is dimly present. . . . It is such a privilege to be embodied. You have a relationship to place through the body, it is no wonder that humans have always been fascinated by place. Place offers us a home here; without place we would literally have no where. Landscape is the ultimate where; and in landscape the house that we call home is our intimate place. The home is decorated and personalized; it takes on the soul of the person who lives there and becomes the mirror of the spirit" (41 - 44).
"Before Winter or never. There are some things in this life which will never get done if they are not done before Winter. Certain doors are now open that Winter will close for ever; certain voices to which we can now respond which Winter may silence for ever.
For instance, there is the voice of friendship and affection. . . . It is this certainty that Winter will come which injects urgency into our human relationships. . . . Whenever for our peace of mind or our conscience's sake there is something to be said or done for another human being and we decide we will get around to it tomorrow or next week or next month -- better think again do it now, before Winter.
. . . if you are going to make a fresh start, do it now -- before Winter" -- intervenes.
"It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence . . .
"It is not only the leader of men, statesman, philosopher, or poet, that owes this duty to mankind. Every rustic who delivers in the village ale-house his slow, infrequent sentences, may help to kill or keep alive the fatal superstitions which clog his race. Every hard-worked wife of an artisan may transmit to her children beliefs which shall knit society together, or rend it in pieces. No simplicity of mind, no obscurity of station, can escape the universal duty of questioning all that we believe."
"Moral means that everything can be used for someone's good or for someone's ill, to bring about life or to cause death, to help or to hurt. Moral means that nothing is neutral. Moral means that nothing exists apart from its purpose, apart from the will that participates in it. All actions, feelings, and thoughts become creative or destructive when combined with our intentions, shaped by love or hatred. All power is moral; all conversation is moral; all work is moral. Everything either builds up or tears down. As human beings we can choose love or hatred. We can choose building up or tearing down. As Christians we cannot choose to be neutral."
"Two days ago I acknowledged the end of summer; Fall, with its ominous name, has been looming and lurking. With our backs turned, with our eyes fixed on new books, in the delusion of days without meetings or grading papers, suddenly the Fall leaps out and can't be shaken off any more. I posted the syllabuses to my course site. The books for my 'Representations of Exile' class are stacked on my desk (this time Conrad, Danticat, Cristina Garcia, Nabokov, Sebald, and Viet Thanh Nguyen). For the rest of the night: free reading."Len's ode to Fall (ominous yet seductive) reminded me of many a paragraph in The Street of Crocodiles, eerie and lyrical. For example:
"Oh the skies of those days, skies of luminous signals and meteors, covered by the calculations of astronomers, copied a thousand times, numbered, marked with the watermarks of algebra! With faces blue from the glory of those nights, we wandered through space pulsating from the explosions of distant suns, in a sidereal brightness . . . The houses, wide open at night during that time, remained empty in the light of violently flickering lamps. The curtains blew out far into the night and the rows of rooms stood in an all - embracing, incessant draft, which shot through them in violent, relentless alarm." (Bruno Schulz, 155 - 56)If the approaching autumn season seems too sinister, I find that a little lace -- black or white or some of each -- helps to soften the worrisome edges. For over twenty - years now, a delicate lace ghost has appeared to gently haunt us in honor of the previous residents of our various historical homes. Every year, as the October light works its magic, my mother and my friend Victoria never fail to inquire, "Is the ghost up yet?" My sweet sister Di had some kind words for this year's emanation: "That is the fanciest ghost I have ever seen. When I get home I will dig out my tablecloths and see what I can do!"
Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.
Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.
Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,
Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We
Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!
We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,
Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:
We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.
American poet, Sylvia Plath (1932 - 1963)
Many thanks to Barbara McFadden for reminding me
-- see "October Light, October Heavy" ~ 2017 --
to re - read Frost's reflective poem,
in conjunction with Thomson's painting:
When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.[emphasis added]
by Robert Frost, 1874 - 1963
Four-time Pulitzer Prize winner
Well - loved American poet
And for a bit of fun, amusing wordplay, and sly truth,
starting with Robert Frost's conclusion and finishing
with a timely political nod in the "right" direction:
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches
For example, one could be a slinger of burgers at McDonald's.
Or one could be a bringer of frivolous lawsuits.
Or one could be a flinger of gossipy dirt
for The New York Post.
Or one could be a singer of inane songs on MTV for pre - teens.
Or one could be a clinger of apron strings.
Or one could be a dead-ringer for one
of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted.
Or one could be a hunch-backed ringer of French church bell.
Or one could be a second-stringer on a last place minor league baseball team.
Or one could be a stringer for a newspaper in the sticks.
Or one could be a finger man for the mafia.
Or one could be a dinger of car fenders on the parking lot of Walmart.
Or one could be a left-winger for a last place minor league hockey team.
Or one could be a right-winger of any country's politics.
Or one could be a jingler of idiotic jingles on the radio for
pre - teens.
Or one could be a malingerer.
J. R. Solonche, Contemporary American
We've been trying to branch out when grocery shopping and try some experimental foods, as displayed above on my tropical serving plate. In addition to novelty fruits and vegetables in the produce department, I was so excited to see this flavor in the frozen dairy case, something truly out of the ordinary: Thai Green Tea Ice Cream!
Imagine my dismay when Gerry took it out of the freezer and read aloud, "That Green Nut." What? I had managed to completely misread "That" as "Thai" and "Nut" as "Tea." Wishful thinking, I guess! Here I thought I was bringing home something exotic, but it was just artificially flavored pistachio, apparently designed to appeal to shoppers who can't even remember the word pistachio. Tasty enough, but not exactly what I had in mind.
I thought I was bringing home something along the lines of the "green tea custard" featured here. Maybe one day it will appear at the supermarket, but for now, we will just have to enjoy it as a treat from the specialty ice cream store.
This really happened: At the Post Office, the line is short but only two cashiers are open, and both clerks have disappeared into the back room, so all the customers are just standing idly / oddly looking around. It's like a Bunuel film -- are we in charge now? Should I step behind the register and start helping people? How long will we all stand here with nothing happening? Existential Crisis!
Speaking of the Post Office, why not take a few moments to reread Eudora Welty's droll little story "Why I Live at the P.O."? [also, see earlier post]
from The Journals of Andre Gide: "One should want only one thing and want it constantly. Then one is sure of getting it. But I desire everything and consequently get nothing. Each time I discover, and too late, that one thing had come to me while I was running after another."
Stephane Moses [writing about Kafka's Parables]: "Certain situations are so desperate that the only way to escape them is through total ingenuousness."
Uh - oh, I've done it again, written down the passage but not the source. Does anyone recognize? If only I could remember who wrote these words . . .
"I devoted myself to my business to the best of my ability -- not taking much pleasure in it, but hoping by this semblance of work to give some stability to my disintegrated life.
Perhaps it was because the day had begun so badly that I felt so anguished. Oh, I thought, without doubt, everything in my life is falling to pieces. Nothing that my hand grasps can my hand hold."
"Although speakers and listeners, writers and readers, are in one sense engaged in a cooperative effort to understand one another, they are also in conflict over the amount of effort that each will expend on the other. That is, the speaker or writer wants to say what he has to say with as little energy as possible and the reader or listener wants to understand with as little energy as possible. . . . Thus anything that facilitates the transfer of meaning is important in this tight economy of energy."
from Errors & Expectations, pp 11 - 12]
by Mina P, Shaughnessy (1924 - 1978)
Innovative and Inspiring Teacher of Writing
See also ~ Mina P. Shaughnessy: Her Life and Work
“The high-school English [or college composition] teacher will be fulfilling her responsibility if she furnishes the student a guided opportunity, through the best writing of the past, to come, in time, to an understanding of the best writing of the present. She will teach literature, not social studies or little lessons in democracy or the customs of many lands. And if the student finds that this is not to his taste? Well, that is regrettable. Most regrettable. His taste should not be consulted; it is being formed.”
by Flannery O'Connor (1925 – 1964)
American novelist, short story writer and essayist
Ode to some yellow flowers
Rolling its blues against another blue,
the sea, and against the sky
some yellow flowers.
October is on its way.*
the sea may well be important, with its unfolding
myths, its purpose and its risings,
when the gold of a single
in the sand
to the soil.
They flee the wide sea and its heavings.
We are dust and to dust return.
In the end we're
neither air, nor fire, nor water,
neither more nor less, just dirt,
some yellow flowers.
Pablo Neruda (1904 - 1973)
found in Neruda's Odes to Common Things
translated by Ken Krabbenhoft; Bulfinch Press, 1994
(other ~ translations)
The Ad-dressing of Cats
You’ve read of several kinds of Cat,
And my opinion now is that
You should need no interpreter
To understand their character.
You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.
For some are sane and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse —
But all may be described in verse.
You’ve seen them both at work and games,
And learnt about their proper names,
Their habits and their habitat:
How would you ad-dress a Cat?
So first, your memory I’ll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.
Now Dogs pretend they like to fight;
They often bark, more seldom bite;
But yet a Dog is, on the whole,
What you would call a simple soul.
Of course I’m not including Pekes,
And such fantastic canine freaks.
The usual Dog about the Town
Is much inclined to play the clown,
And far from showing too much pride
Is frequently undignified.
He’s very easily taken in —
Just chuck him underneath the chin
Or slap his back or shake his paw,
And he will gambol and guffaw.
He’s such an easy-going lout,
He’ll answer any hail or shout.
Again I must remind you that
A Dog’s a Dog — A CAT’S A CAT.
With Cats, some say, one rule is true:
Don’t speak till you are spoken to.
Myself, I do not hold with that –
I say, you should ad-dress a Cat.
But always keep in mind that he
I bow, and taking off my hat,
Ad-dress him in this form: O CAT!
But if he is the Cat next door,
Whom I have often met before
(He comes to see me in my flat)
I greet him with an OOPSA CAT!
I’ve heard them call him James Buz-James —
But we’ve not got so far as names.
Before a Cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some caviar, or Strasbourg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste —
He’s sure to have his personal taste.
(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he’s finished, licks his paws
So’s not to waste the onion sauce.)
A Cat’s entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his NAME.
So this is this, and that is that:
And there’s how you AD-DRESS A CAT.
by T. S. Eliot (1888 - 1965)
from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats
A few years ago, I made a couple of nests in the basement for Pine and younger, rambunctious Fuqua. Pine always picked the Florida Orange box, and Fuqua always took the other one, filled with toys. See how chubby Pine was in 2016? As she got thinner, Fuqua got plumper. He still looks like a little kid two years ago, but now, in 2018, he's a grown up cat. Here they are just a couple of months ago, still choosing the same boxes. (Hmmm . . . it almost looks as if I never sweep or vacuum down there! How could those boxes remain in practically the same spots for two years without moving?)
Fuqua has never seemed to us like a very sentimental cat, but the first week that Pine was gone, he spent hours in the basement, sitting in her favorite box, just missing her, I guess. He seemed very sad and, in his mysterious, non - verbal, pantherlet way, must have been pining for his Pine after all.