For the first of May, a poem by Moses ibn Ezra (1060-1138), Jewish philosopher, linguist and poet from medieval Andalusia.
The lawn has on embroidered robes,
The trees are wearing checkered shifts,
They show their wonders to every eye,
And every bud renewed by spring
Comes smiling forth to greet his lord.
See! Before them marches a rose,
Kingly, his throne above them borne,
Freed of the leaves that had guarded him,
No more to wear his prison clothes.
—Moses ibn Ezra
Because the weather has been unusually cool, spring is moving in slowly, so it’s not too late to stroll along the gorgeous bluebell walk at Riverbend Park. When we hiked the path Sunday, there were quite a few still in rose-colored-bud stage, and a dozen other less showy wildflowers opening up as well.
Here in Washington, DC, we have the cherry blossoms; last year in the Languedoc, it was the almond trees. Happy First Day of Spring, and happy blossom-walks beneath whatever is blooming in your land.
My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
—Song of Solomon 2:10-13
Lynn & Donald
The first of March is still winter—and yet here are the faithful snowdrops emerging beside the front walk, a perpetually hopeful sign of growing things to come. I had to run and fetch the sketchbook.
Here is a new calendar for 2016, each month featuring one of my seasonal still-lifes. (Unless you prefer to be surprised, you can scroll down to see the twelve still-lifes featured below.) The calendar is 8-1/2″ x 11″ and printed on sturdy satin stock, substantial enough so the images can be saved as prints.
A single calendar is $23; a set of three is $60. Shipping is 3-day Priority Mail, domestic US.
(If you are in my area, you can obtain a calendar from me directly without shipping—just let me know.)
For one calendar:
For a set of three calendars:
On Thursday, October 8th, an exhibition of my paintings will open at the Art League Gallery at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. It will run through November 1st. The show will include the work I did while living in France, as well as before and since. All the information is below. I hope some of you will come to see it—and perhaps even make the opening reception that evening.
For the first of October, a poem by Hilda Doolittle, and a painting of Saturday market pears and calendula (growing wild by the Languedoc vineyards and known locally as souci).
I saw the first pear
as it fell-
the honey-seeking, golden-banded,
the yellow swarm
was not more fleet than I,
(spare us from loveliness)
and I fell prostrate
you have flayed us
with your blossoms,
spare us the beauty
the air thundered their song,
and I alone was prostrate.
god of the orchard,
I bring you an offering–
do you, alone unbeautiful,
son of the god,
spare us from loveliness:
these fallen hazel-nuts,
stripped late of their green sheaths,
dripping with wine,
pomegranates already broken,
and shrunken figs
and quinces untouched,
I bring you as offering.
—H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)
It’s the first of September, which signals, along with the late afternoon singing of cicadas, that, alas, the end of summer draws near. Here are a painting, and a rather melancholy poem, for the day. (There is a cartoon in my sketchbook to accompany the creation of this painting, which I will post eventually.)
Fair Summer Droops
Fair summer droops, droop men and beasts therefore,
So fair a summer look for nevermore:
All good things vanish less than in a day,
Peace, plenty, pleasure, suddenly decay.
Go not yet away, bright soul of the sad year,
The earth is hell when thou leav’st to appear.
What, shall those flowers that decked thy garland erst,
Upon thy grave be wastefully dispersed?
O trees, consume your sap in sorrow’s source,
Streams, turn to tears your tributary course.
Go not yet hence, bright soul of the sad year,
The earth is hell when thou leav’st to appear.
—Thomas Nashe, from Summer’s Last Will and Testament
An outing for the First of May.
When we received this gift two weeks ago, it happened to be the first day that actually smelled like spring, despite the wind rattling the shutters and the fire burning in the fireplace.
Here is a Billy Collins poem to go with the sketch (which is a detail from March 3rd’s post). Happy First Day of Spring, everyone in the Northern Hemisphere.
If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking
a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,
releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage
so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting
into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.
Lynn and Donald