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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

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

standinghorsestudy

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

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Image-Text-Music, 9.13.14 — Tyrannical Beauty

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Eugene Delacroix, “Study for the Painting Women of Algiers

***
“Eros Turranos,” by Edward Arlington Robinson

She fears him, and will always ask
What fated her to choose him;
She meets in his engaging mask
All reasons to refuse him;
But what she meets and what she fears
Are less than are the downward years,
Drawn slowly to the foamless weirs
Of age, were she to lose him.

Between a blurred sagacity
That once had power to sound him,
And Love, that will not let him be
The Judas that she found him,
Her pride assuages her almost,
As if it were alone the cost.—
He sees that he will not be lost,
And waits and looks around him.

A sense of ocean and old trees
Envelops and allures him;
Tradition, touching all he sees
Beguiles and reassures him;
And all her doubts of what he says
Are dimmed with what she knows of days—
Till even prejudice delays
And fades, and she secures him.

The falling leaf inaugurates
The reign of her confusion;
The pounding wave reverberates
The dirge of her illusion;
And home, where passion lived and died,
Becomes a place where she can hide,
While all the town and harbor side
Vibrate with her seclusion.

We tell you, tapping on our brows,
The story as it should be,—
As if the story of a house
Were told, or ever could be;
We’ll have no kindly veil between
Her visions and those we have seen,—
As if we guessed what hers have been,
Or what they are or would be.

Meanwhile we do no harm; for they
That with a god have striven,
Not hearing much of what we say,
Take what the god has given;
Though like waves breaking it may be,
Or like a changed familiar tree,
Or like a stairway to the sea
Where down the blind are driven.

***
Wye Oak, “Shriek

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Image-Text-Music, 9.9.14

Demon

(“Demon,” painting by Zichy Mihály, 1878)

***

“I Heard an Angel,” by William Blake

 

I heard an Angel singing

When the day was springing

Mercy Pity Peace

Is the worlds release

 

Thus he sung all day

Over the new mown hay

Till the sun went down

And haycocks looked brown

 

I heard a Devil curse

Over the heath & the furze

Mercy could be no more

If there was nobody poor

 

And pity no more could be

If all were as happy as we

At his curse the sun went down

And the heavens gave a frown

 

Down pourd the heavy rain

Over the new reapd grain

And Miseries increase

Is Mercy Pity Peace

 

***

Modest Moussorgsky, “Pictures at an Exhibition: Gnomus”

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Image-Music-Text, 9.8.14: Keats, Chopin, Cartier-Bresson

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(Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson)

***

“To —-,” (What Can I Do To Drive Away), by John Keats

 

What can I do to drive away

Remembrance from my eyes? for they have seen,

Aye, an hour ago, my brilliant Queen!

Touch has a memory. O say, love, say,

What can I do to kill it and be free

In my old liberty?

When every fair one that I saw was fair

Enough to catch me in but half a snare,

Not keep me there:

When, howe’er poor or particolour’d things,

My muse had wings,

And ever ready was to take her course

Whither I bent her force,

Unintellectual, yet divine to me; —

Divine, I say! — What sea-bird o’er the sea

Is a philosopher the while he goes

Winging along where the great water throes?

 

How shall I do

To get anew

Those moulted feathers, and so mount once more

Above, above

The reach of fluttering Love,

And make him cower lowly while I soar?

Shall I gulp wine? No, that is vulgarism,

A heresy and schism,

Foisted into the canon law of love; —

No, — wine is only sweet to happy men;

More dismal cares

Seize on me unawares, —

 

Where shall I learn to get my peace again?

To banish thoughts of that most hateful land,

Dungeoner of my friends, that wicked strand

Where they were wreck’d and live a wrecked life;

That monstrous region, whose dull rivers pour

Ever from their sordid urns unto the shore,

Unown’d of any weedy-haired gods;

Whose winds, all zephyrless, hold scourging rods,

Iced in the great lakes, to afflict mankind;

Whose rank-grown forests, frosted, black, and blind,

Would fright a Dryad; whose harsh herbag’d meads

Make lean and lank the starv’d ox while he feeds;

There flowers have no scent, birds no sweet song,

And great unerring Nature once seems wrong.

 

O, for some sunny spell

To dissipate the shadows of this hell!

Say they are gone, — with the new dawning light

Steps forth my lady bright!

O, let me once more rest

My soul upon that dazzling breast!

Let once again these aching arms be plac’d,

The tender gaolers of thy waist!

And let me feel that warm breath here and there

To spread a rapture in my very hair, —

O, the sweetness of the pain!

Give me those lips again!

Enough! Enough! it is enough for me

To dream of thee!

****

Frederick Chopin, Nocturne in E flat Major Op. 9 No. 2

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Thinking about the US Supreme Court’s Crusade for Chastity

“Planetarium,” by Adrienne Rich

Thinking of Caroline Herschel (1750—1848)
astronomer, sister of William; and others.

A woman in the shape of a monster   
a monster in the shape of a woman   
the skies are full of them

a woman      ‘in the snow
among the Clocks and instruments   
or measuring the ground with poles’

in her 98 years to discover   
8 comets

she whom the moon ruled   
like us
levitating into the night sky   
riding the polished lenses

Galaxies of women, there
doing penance for impetuousness   
ribs chilled   
in those spaces    of the mind

An eye,

          ‘virile, precise and absolutely certain’
          from the mad webs of Uranusborg

                                                            encountering the NOVA   

every impulse of light exploding

from the core
as life flies out of us

             Tycho whispering at last
             ‘Let me not seem to have lived in vain’

What we see, we see   
and seeing is changing

the light that shrivels a mountain   
and leaves a man alive

Heartbeat of the pulsar
heart sweating through my body

The radio impulse   
pouring in from Taurus

         I am bombarded yet         I stand

I have been standing all my life in the   
direct path of a battery of signals
the most accurately transmitted most   
untranslatable language in the universe
I am a galactic cloud so deep      so invo-
luted that a light wave could take 15   
years to travel through me       And has   
taken      I am an instrument in the shape   
of a woman trying to translate pulsations   
into images    for the relief of the body   
and the reconstruction of the mind.
 
***
Image
 
A paper-cut out by Kara Walker, “Burn” (1998)
 
***
PJ Harvey, “Man-Size
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“Meeting Point,” by Louis MacNeice

 

Time was away and somewhere else,

There were two glasses and two chairs

And two people with the one pulse

(Somebody stopped the moving stairs)

Time was away and somewhere else.  

 

And they were neither up nor down;

The stream’s music did not stop

Flowing through heather, limpid brown,

Although they sat in a coffee shop

And they were neither up nor down.  

 

The bell was silent in the air

Holding its inverted poise –

Between the clang and clang a flower,

A brazen calyx of no noise:

The bell was silent in the air.  

 

The camels crossed the miles of sand

That stretched around the cups and plates;

The desert was their own, they planned

To portion out the stars and dates:

The camels crossed the miles of sand.  

 

Time was away and somewhere else.

The waiter did not come, the clock

Forgot them and the radio waltz

Came out like water from a rock:

Time was away and somewhere else.  

 

Her fingers flicked away the ash

That bloomed again in tropic trees:

Not caring if the markets crash

When they had forests such as these,

Her fingers flicked away the ash.  

 

God or whatever means the Good

Be praised that time can stop like this,

That what the heart has understood

Can verify in the body’s peace

God or whatever means the Good.  

 

Time was away and she was here

And life no longer what it was,

The bell was silent in the air

And all the room one glow because

Time was away and she was here.

 Image

Edward Hopper, “Automat” (1927)

***

Leonard Cohen, “Coming Back To You

Aside