Summer officially came to an end at 10:21 Eastern Daylight Time this morning. Welcome Autumn with a poem by William Wordsworth.
I’ve watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless!—not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again !
This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister’s flowers;
Here rest your wing when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We’ll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.
Although it’s still summer, the first of September feels like a turning of the year, a return to school and schedules, and a farewell to cicadas and the least possible clothing. In parting I celebrate the day with a watercolor of Duck, NC, where the family just spent an idyllic week, and, attesting to the season’s ambivalence, a poem by A.E. Housman.
XXXIX (from Last Poems)
When summer’s end is nighing
And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
And all the feats I vowed
When I was young and proud.
The weathercock at sunset
Would lose the slanted ray,
And I would climb the beacon
That looked to Wales away
And saw the last of day.
From hill and cloud and heaven
The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
And hushed the countryside,
But I had youth and pride.
And I with earth and nightfall
In converse high would stand,
Late, till the west was ashen
And darkness hard at hand,
And the eye lost the land.
The year might age, and cloudy
The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
Breathed from beyond the snows,
And I had hope of those.
They came and were and are not
And come no more anew;
And all the years and seasons
That ever can ensue
Must now be worse and few.
So here’s an end of roaming
On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
For summer’s parting sighs,
And then the heart replies.
“Landschap” (Landscape), a new exhibit at the Art League Gallery at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, opens this Thursday evening. My painting (Buoyant) has been given the Chameli & Amiya Bose Saha Memorial Award/Best in Show for Oil and Acrylic. Maybe I will see you at the opening reception.
For the first of July, a painting and a poem.
In western lands beneath the Sun
The flowers may rise in Spring,
The trees may bud, the waters run,
The merry finches sing.
Or there may be ‘tis cloudless night,
And swaying branches bear
The Elven-stars as jewels white
Amid their branching hair.
Though here at journey’s end I lie
In darkness buried deep,
Beyond all towers strong and high,
Beyond all mountains steep,
Above all shadows rides the Sun
And Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the Stars farewell.
—J R R Tolkien
I have a painting in this group show, curated by Eric Denker of the NGA. Opening reception is June 29th and maybe I will see some of you there! It’s Metro-accessible. You can see the list of exhibiting artists here.
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
For Christmas Day, a painting and a poem. Merry Christmas, everyone, as we go onward together holding hands, listening for angels.
A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye
Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves,
And also the partridge in a pear tree
And the golden rings and the turtle doves.
In the dark streets, red lights and green and blue
Where the faithful live, some joyful, some troubled,
Enduring the cold and also the flu,
Taking the garbage out and keeping the sidewalk shoveled.
Not much triumph going on here—and yet
There is much we do not understand.
And my hopes and fears are met
In this small singer holding onto my hand.
Onward we go, faithfully, into the dark
And are there angels hovering overhead? Hark.
— Gary Johnson
In celebration of this shortest day, this longest night of the year, a poem by May Sarton, and a chair in the National Cathedral Bishop’s Garden, painted during a snowier winter than this one looks to be.
Before going to bed
After a fall of snow
I look out on the field
Shining there in the moonlight
So calm, untouched and white
Snow silence fills my head
After I leave the window.
Hours later near dawn
When I look down again
The whole landscape has changed
The perfect surface gone
Criss-crossed and written on
Where the wild creatures ranged
While the moon rose and shone.
Why did my dog not bark?
Why did I hear no sound
There on the snow-locked ground
In the tumultuous dark?
How much can come, how much can go
When the December moon is bright,
What worlds of play we’ll never know
Sleeping away the cold white night
After a fall of snow.
The lovely village of St. Cyprien-Dordogne is where we were living last Thanksgiving, celebrating quietly and far from home. This year, back in our native land, and happy and thankful for the beloved company of family and old friends, we’re also grateful for those we came to know in our adopted land and anxious about the recent attacks on this spirited, creative, humorous and resilient people. I look forward to a day (probably centuries beyond my lifetime) when we might celebrate in harmony a universal Thanksgiving in appreciation for our beautiful world and everyone in it.
Below, a poem for this day.
Not because of victories
but for the common sunshine,
the largess of the spring.
Not for victory
but for the day’s work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.
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: