29 November 2014

Saturday Poem

Self-Portrait in Iceland

The face is featureless,
As though bound in tight gauze,
And therefore presents a mien
Of deadly restraint, and for a moment
It terrifies, this visage
Shorn of expression, the first impulse
Is to recoil from what appears
To be willful, if bloodless and unscarred,
Mutilation, but somehow
The set of the head, its angled tilt,
Imparts a liveliness to the sitter
That defies a nullity because it captures
Light from an unseen window
And reflects from an unseen radiance
A sanguine assertion of self
Drawn from tones of glacial tides
And roseate pumice stone.
The hands, extremities at rest
In the sitter’s lap just over the knees
And crossed at the wrists, are nearly convivial,
Inward-cupped, not articulated but nonetheless
Eloquent in their assured capacity
For labor, the lack of delicate modeling
Suggests a readiness
To take hold, to lend themselves
To tasks at hand, but the rudimentary
Aspect reveals no crudeness of character
In the sitter, no vulgarity, on the contrary
The hands are free from guile and coarse use,
They echo the face in elemental probity,
Holding in quick, almost offhand fashion
Gulps of sun,
Chunks of flame
In the shade of bleached volcanoes. 
-- Deborah Pease

25 November 2014

“I need to write down my observations. Even the tiniest ones; they're the most important.”

― Tove Jansson, Art in Nature

22 November 2014

Saturday Poem

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.
Robert Frost

19 November 2014

Wind, Sand and Stars

When the wild ducks or the wild geese migrate in their season, a strange tide rises in the territories over which they sweep. As if magnetized by the great triangular flight, the barnyard fowl leap a foot or two in the air and try to fly. The call of the wild strikes them with the force of a harpoon and a vestige of savagery quickens their blood. All the ducks on the farm are transformed for an instant into migrant birds, and into those hard little heads, till now filled with humble images of pools and worms and barnyards, there swims a sense of continental expanse, of the breadth of the seas and the salt taste of ocean wind. The duck totters to right and left in its wire enclosure, gripped by a sudden passion to perform the impossible and a sudden love whose object is mystery.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars

Photo found here.

amparo de la sota

18 November 2014

Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm.

 I’ve heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity, It asked a crumb of me.
-- Emily Dickinson

Jesse Mockrin

Jesse Mockrin

15 November 2014

Saturday Poem

On The Pulse Of Morning

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,

But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words

Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.

Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The river sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing river and the wise rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew,
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek,

The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the tree.

Today, the first and last of every tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the river.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river.

Each of you, descendant of some passed on
Traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name,
You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca,
You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me,
Then forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of other seekers—
Desperate for gain, starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot…
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru,
Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the tree planted by the river,
Which will not be moved.
I, the rock, I the river, I the tree
I am yours—your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
Into your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

-- Maya Angelou

11 November 2014

(found here)

Two Hands

From the sea came a hand,
ignorant as a penny,
troubled with the salt of its mother,
mute with the silence of the fishes,
quick with the altars of the tides,
and God reached out of His mouth
and called it man.
Up came the other hand
and God called it woman.
The hands applauded
And this was no sin.
It was as it was meant to be.

I see them roaming the streets:
Levi complaining about his mattress,
Sarah studying a beetle,
Mandrake holding his coffee mug,
Sally playing the drum at a football game,
John closing the eyes of the dying woman,
and some who are in prison,
even the prison of their bodies,
as Christ was prisoned in His body
until the triumph came.

Unwind hands,
you angel webs,
unwind like the coil of a jumping jack,
cup together and let yourselves fill up with sun
and applaud, world,

-- Anne Sexton

images found here
"I prefer winter and fall,  you feel the bone structure of the landscape. something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show."

-- Andrew Wyeth

8 November 2014

Saturday Poem

August was foggy,
September dry.
October grew too hot.
Napa and Sonoma grasslands,
In November
We all set back the clock
          and suddenly it rained.

Gary Snyder.

7 November 2014

bone women

1. British Museum
2. from here 3. Artemis Gallery

phosphate of calcium

What reconciles me to my own death more the anything else is the image of a place: a place where your bones and mine are buried, thrown, uncovered, together. They are strewn there pell-mell. One of your ribs leans against my skull. A metacarpal of my left hand lies inside your pelvis. (Against my broken ribs your breast like a flower). The hundred bones of our feet are scattered like gravel. it is strange that this image of our proximity, concerning as it does mere phosphate of calcium, should bestow a sense of peace. Yet is does. With you I could imagine a place where to be phosphate of calcium is enough.
--John Berger
and our faces, my heart, as brief as photos

6 November 2014

not fade away

via Nowness

le livre de la sante

Joseph Handler. Radiographies. Le Livre de la Sante. 1967. The first was made at Hopital des enfants malade (Paris) and shows the bones getting older...
As I explore the wilderness of my own body, I see that I am made of blood and bones, sunlight and water, pesticide residues and redwood humus, the fears and dreams of generations of ancestors, particles of exploded stars. 

~Anne Cushman

4 November 2014

opalized bones

Opal forms in cavities within rocks. If a cavity has formed because a bone, shell or pinecone was buried in the sand or clay that later became the rock, and conditions are right for opal formation, then the opal forms a fossil replica of the original object that was buried.
-- Australian Opal Center via evencleveland

 1. Lot of four opalized clam shells, found at Bonhams.
2. Opal bone fossils 
3. Opalised jaw of Steropodon galmani

and many more here.

3 November 2014

living story

"Skeletons are a sort of "living story" you are continuously writing. bone robusticity is a result not only of genetic data, but of data created via behavior. It is through your choices of movement and the cellular loads these choices create that your body becomes your autobiography."
 -- Katy Bowman: Move your DNA.

Juz Kitson

ceramic bones and other bits by Juz Kitson

1 November 2014

Saturday Poem

Barefoot and Pregnant

So many ladies love you with the innocence of a child
A child who believes in God
You keep 'em in luxury
But it's a luxury in the dark

You walk around with a smile upon your face
But there's something that you don't know
You're luck's run out
And it's a time for you to know

Everybody told me I was crazy
To try to tame such a wild one
Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby

I got myself into this thing
Like I never knew I could an' now
I gotta get away just as fast as I can
I got myself into this thing an' I'll find a way out

You gave me babies, to you that proves your love
Tie my hands with jewels
Barefoot an' pregnant you kept me
You sought to hide me from the truth

But your lady's done bought some shoes
And she's steppin' out on the town
Your lady took herself in hand
And she's spreadin' herself around, alright

I wanted your love but not at any price
You're just the hurtin' kind
Say you want me for yourself
But your deeds deny it

Everybody told me I was crazy
To try to tame such a wild one
Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby

I got myself into this thing
Like I never knew I could an' now
I gotta get away just as fast as I can
I got myself into this thing an' I'll find a way out

--Joan Armatrading and Joan Anita Barbara