I whispered, “I am too young,”
And then, “I am old enough”;
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
“Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.”
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.
— William Butler Yeats
I absolutely love the second verse of this poem , it’s musicality and lyric qualities. It has a wonderful throwback quality to nursery rhyme with its rhythm and how ‘the stars had run away, and the shadows eaten the moon.’
Makes me gentle. Not a bad accomplishment Mr Yeats, for a string of words.
Wind from the Sea Andrew Wyeth
I was working earlier this morning at promoting my hand made books on a craft site called Etsy, wherein there are forums which enables the site users to engage with one another, a method of bringing people together in shared endeavour. Mainly the forums ask questions relating to their shops, or customers, or problems or simply to have a chat to break up the day. This morning a question provoked my interest as it broke away from the everyday and asked
“What are you doing when you find yourself truly connected to nature?”
There was a variety of interesting replies, many supporting the view about how nature was a resource for recharging and inspiration. One reply noted how seeing an animal in distress connected her to the immediacy and demands nature sometimes places on us. I thought about it for a few moments and replied. This is my reply,
“nature holds everything , our existence on the planet is all about connection. When we learn how interconnected everything is, we start to take on responsibility in our own lives for how we choose to live. I am beginning to feel that life is about understanding that interconnection, and living fully within that realisation. It is lifelong learning full of challenges and deep joys. The journey toward Truth and Beauty is the totality of our lives, we determine how far we proceed on that journey. “
I am loving how rich that journey is, and how important my decisions are everyday, every moment as to how satisfying my brief encounter on this planet is. At the same time I face the constant reminders that the human experience is very different depending what situations we are born into. My responsibility is not only to myself and my immediate family, it extends to all living matter.
I am sending my thoughts out in the hope that they resonate and that as companions in time, we all respect our individual journeys.
The beautiful image is by Monet, an artist who worked tirelessly at his vision of truth and beauty.
to Plato’s shadows
playing on the wall.
We’re living lives
in half light,
of their own
of the fire as potent
as fear of
extinguishment.The poetry is mine (!) ,the illustration has a far more illustrious background being from Joris Hoefnagel, 16th century flemish artist.
throughout his poetry, Yeats works with the inescapable polarities
inherent in being human. One is the gap created
by our ability to imagine perfection, to dream , to pass
into a world of mystery and magic, to imagine a life better
than we know — and the mundanity of everyday life.
We feel the pain when the imagined life makes the life we lead seem desolate, when the ordinary everyday is our only reality. It behoves us to allow our real lives to support our dreams and vice versa. This is how Yeats expresses the task, of living in hope of a dreamt possibility, forever.
These are my digital paintings inspired by the 30000 year old drawings at Chauvet, discovered only last century and now under wraps to maintain them. Other paintings at Lascaux were disfigured by fungi once the caves were opened.
Noone can be sure about the motivation behind the painter(s). We don”t know if they were capturing images of the animals they saw, or using them as representations of something important to their culture. They may have been honouring life force or strength, we just do not know. What we can say is that they are remarkable examples of very early humans choosing to show parts of their experience, and this is interesting. We don’t get representations of humans, Although there are human parts shown, hands, genitals, but not people. Interesting. And no birds, no fishes, no trees, no clouds, no grass. Is there something ‘sacred’ in showing what could be described as ‘upper mammals’ – lions, bisons, rhinos. Worth consideration. These are amazing forerunners of how human beings turn towards the creation of art as expression. The top image is clearly a bison and the second image shows lions.. Remember how far back in time we are looking – 30000 years – we are still piecing together what humans were about at that time. these images could demonstrate a human impulse to create art as symbolic representations , or show a mind that was intent on creating a record for future generations. Amazing , read all about it here http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/chauvet/chauvet_cave_paintings.php
Somewhere there must be a Venn diagram that shows people who read, and people who don’t, well I am in the section where they live to read. Is that strange to you? Possibly not, since you are reading this blog post. Lately my time has been increasingly devoted to my hobby (illustration), since I am getting used to the new freedom that a woman without a real job but with a family begins to enjoy on the imminent stretching of wings by the adult offspring. I say that with tongue partly in cheek, since I worked full time in a very busy environment with a responsible paid job which I eschewed in favour of bringing up a family. I never regretted a moment, though sometimes I would have like to have gone back to work for a) recognition of my talents b) a rest and c) some of that dirty lucre. Oh well, we are where we are, self respect diminished to non-existence, a rubbish wardrobe and a knackered spirit. Boys are good though. I digress, this is about reading, or what happens when the lights go out? My reading gene has been hijacked by some monstrous atrocity, and I want it back. I’m not saying I don’t read, just that I struggle to maintain the same enthusiasm for it. I will not give up however, because who am I without a book to shape my thoughts? Beg my affection?
It does occur to me, sometimes, that there are people inhabiting this planet with me who do not care for reading. I know, shocking, it upsets me even to consider. Should I be evangelising reading? Perhaps I should. I have helped out in the local school with the juniors, does that count? I don’t want people to just read, I want them to eulogise about what they read, to fall headlong.
“The reader became the book; and summer night
Was like the conscious being of the book.”
― Wallace Stevens
I am not a preacher though, I have no talent for conscription and fully hold with the idea that the world is improved by diversity as opposed to homogeny. So if those non readers prefer kayaking or climbing mountains, football or the society of naturists, so be it. I shall continue to risk everything in the pursuit of the alchemy of the written word, and hope to be transported to foreign landscapes and impossible times by wizards and wordsmiths. See you there.
Image is Bartheleme d’Eyck c 1442 , courtesy of the Rijks Museum.
If you are interested in owning a reproduction of his beautiful painting, it is incorporated into a variety of products on my Society 6 site, which is linked on my home page.
‘There is nothing stable in the world; uproar’s your only music.’ Keats
Sometimes its all a bit too much
Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 5
Heaven and earth are ruthless;
They see the ten thousand things as dummies.
The wise are ruthless;
They see the people as dummies.
The space between heaven and earth is like a bellows.
The shape changes but not the form;
The more it moves, the more it yields.
More words count less.
Hold fast to the center.
(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)
You think, you like to think
home is where you began;
but home is not always
at the beginning.
the journey home begins
in ummarked territory.
The familiar is just- that,
but it is not home. The
heart knows it, the blood knows it,
skin knows it.
Desole, desole -
you are homeless, not
understanding that stationary and
rooted is not the same thing. The
heart hunts a home, it stalks in
unsavoury places , attempts
ingratiation, will accept
stopping stages until
it makes it mark.
Home is not a hearth,
not a mother, nor a father, sister,
brother. It is sensate, innate, lacking the
cognition of recent evolutionary
progress. Home is prehistoric,
a reaction in the gut. You cannot
My words, William Hazlitts cosmography.