Image-Text-Music: Anna Atkins, Louise Glück, SOAK

Papaver rhoeas

Anna Atkins, Papaver rhoeas. Paper watermarked 1845. Cyanotype from the Atkins-Dixon album presented by Anne Dixon to her nephew in 1861.

Field Flowers,” by Louise Glück

What are you saying? That you want

eternal life? Are your thoughts really

as compelling as all that? Certainly

you don’t look at us, don’t listen to us,

on your skin

stain of sun, dust

of yellow buttercups: I’m talking

to you, you staring through

bars of high grass shaking

your little rattle—- O

the soul! the soul! Is it enough

only to look inward? Contempt

for humanity is one thing, but why

disdain the expansive

field, your gaze rising over the clear heads

of the wild buttercups into what? Your poor

idea of heaven: absence

of change. Better than earth? How

would you know, who are neither

here nor there, standing in our midst?


SOAK, “Sea Creatures”:


Image-Text-Music, 11.6.14 — Arkhip Kuindzhi, Emily Dickinson, Lucinda Williams

“Moonlight on the Dnieper,” by Arkhip Kuindzhi (1880)

“Moonlight on the Dnieper,” by Arkhip Kuindzhi (1880)

“From Blank to Blank–,” by Emily Dickinson (J# 761, Fr# 484)

From Blank to Blank—-

A Threadless Way

I pushed Mechanic feet—-

To stop—-or perish—-or advance—-

Alike indifferent—-

If end I gained

It ends beyond

Indefinite disclosed—-

I shut my eyes—-and groped as well

‘Twas lighter—-to be Blind—-


Lucinda Williams, “I Envy the Wind


Image-Text-Music, 11.5.14 — John Adams Whipple, Sylvia Plath, the Waterboys

“The Moon and the Yew Tree,” by Sylvia Plath

This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God
Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility
Fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place.
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,
White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet
With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky —
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection
At the end, they soberly bong out their names.

The yew tree points up, it has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness –
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering
Blue and mystical over the face of the stars
Inside the church, the saints will all be blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness – blackness and silence.


The Waterboys, “The Whole of the Moon


Image-Text-Music, 11.4.14 — Jacques Callot, Walt Whitman, Patti Smith


Study of a Horse (recto); Study of a Standing Horse (verso), by Jacques Callot
(French, Nancy 1592–1635 Nancy)


from “Song of Myself,” by Walt Whitman

# 32


I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,

I stand and look at them long and long.


They do not sweat and whine about their condition,

They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,

They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,

Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,

Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,

Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.


So they show their relations to me and I accept them,

They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession.


I wonder where they get those tokens,

Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently drop them?


Myself moving forward then and now and forever,

Gathering and showing more always and with velocity,

Infinite and omnigenous, and the like of these among them,

Not too exclusive toward the reachers of my remembrancers,

Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him on brotherly terms.


A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses,

Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,

Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground,

Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving.


His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,

His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return.


I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,

Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them?

Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you.




Patti Smith, “Land


Image-Text-Music, 10.13.14 — Joseph Cornell, Sylvia Plath, Ryan Adams

Joseph Cornell shadow-box, "Untitled (Bebe Marie)" (early 1940s)

Joseph Cornell shadow-box, “Untitled (Bebe Marie)” (early 1940s)

“The Arrival of the Bee Box,” by Sylvia Plath

I ordered this, clean wood box
Square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift.
I would say it was the coffin of a midget
Or a square baby
Were there not such a din in it.

The box is locked, it is dangerous.
I have to live with it overnight
And I can’t keep away from it.
There are no windows, so I can’t see what is in there.
There is only a little grid, no exit.

I put my eye to the grid.
It is dark, dark,
With the swarmy feeling of African hands
Minute and shrunk for export,
Black on black, angrily clambering.

How can I let them out?
It is the noise that appalls me most of all,
The unintelligible syllables.
It is like a Roman mob,
Small, taken one by one, but my god, together!

I lay my ear to furious Latin.
I am not a Caesar.
I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.
They can be sent back.
They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.

I wonder how hungry they are.
I wonder if they would forget me
If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree.
There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades,
And the petticoats of the cherry.

They might ignore me immediately
In my moon suit and funeral veil.
I am no source of honey
So why should they turn on me?
Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free.

The box is only temporary.


Ryan Adams, “Sylvia Plath


Image-Text-Music, 10.8.14 — Marian Drew, Ted Hughes, Patti Smith

Painting is by Marian Drew, “Crow with Salt” from her series “Still Life/Australiana (2003 – 2009)

Photograph is by Marian Drew, “Crow with Salt” from her series “Still Life/Australiana (2003 – 2009)”

“Crow’s Theology,” by Ted Hughes

Crow realized God loved him-
Otherwise, he would have dropped dead.
So that was proved.
Crow reclined, marvelling, on his heart-beat.

And he realized that God spoke Crow-
Just existing was His revelation.

But what Loved the stones and spoke stone?
They seemed to exist too.
And what spoke that strange silence
After his clamour of caws faded?

And what loved the shot-pellets
That dribbled from those strung-up mummifying crows?
What spoke the silence of lead?

Crow realized there were two Gods-

One of them much bigger than the other
Loving his enemies
And having all the weapons.


Patti Smith, “Wing


Image-Text-Music, 10.6.14 — Kobayashi Kiyochika, Joseph Ceravolo, Anna Von Hausswolff

Kobayashi Kiyochika, Japanese, 1847–1915; Scouting Party near Niuzhuang on a Snowy Night, 1894; color woodblock print.

Kobayashi Kiyochika, Japanese, 1847–1915; Scouting Party near Niuzhuang on a Snowy Night, 1894; color woodblock print.

“Cross Fire,” by Joseph Ceravolo


This is the second day without anyone.

I am chinning against a dark sky

to strengthen my arms.

A picture of everyone I love passes through me.


No clear light streams thru this cell.

There’s no dawn.

What have I gained

by lying in this abyss,

waiting for the masonry

to show a little slit

for my soul to get through?



Anna Von Hausswolff, “Track of Time