Friday, December 31, 2010

The Seventh Day of Christmas


Nativity  Lorenzo the Elder Costa

Matthew 1:22-25
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled 
which was spoken by the Lord 
Dream of St. Joseph  Francisco de Goya
through the prophet, saying: 
“Behold, 
the virgin shall be with child, 
and bear a Son, 
and they shall call His name Immanuel,” 
which is translated, “God with us.” 
Then Joseph, 
being aroused from sleep, 
did as the angel of the Lord commanded him 
and took to him his wife,
and did not know her 
till she had brought forth her firstborn Son.
And he called His name JESUS.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Sixth Day of Christmas

The Dream of St. Joseph  Jacques Stella
Matthew 1:20-21
But while he thought about these things, 
behold, an angel of the Lord 
Joseph's Dream  Gaetano Gandolfi
appeared to him in a dream, saying, 
“Joseph, son of David, 
do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, 
for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 
And she will bring forth a Son, 
and you shall call His name JESUS, 
for He will save His people from their sins.” 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Fifth Day of Christmas

The Anxiety of Saint Joseph  James Tissot
Matthew 1:18-19
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: 
After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, 
before they came together, 
she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 
Then Joseph her husband, 
being a just man,
and not wanting to make her a public example, 
was minded to put her away secretly.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Fourth Day of Christmas


Shepherds  Joachim Wtewaar



Luke 2:17-20
Song of the Angels
William-Adolphe Bougereau
Now when they had seen Him, 
they made widely known 
the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 
And all those who heard it 
Nativity
Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen
marveled at those things 
which were told them 
by the shepherds. 
But Mary kept all these things 
and pondered them in her heart. 
Then the shepherds returned, 
glorifying and praising God 
for all the things 
that they had heard and seen, 
as it was told them.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Third Day of Christmas

The Nativity  William Bell Scott


The Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds
Giotto Di Bondone

Luke 2:15-16
So it was, 
when the angels 
had gone away from them
Adoration of the Shepherds
Gerard van Honthorst
 into heaven, 
that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem
 and see this thing 
that has come to pass, 
which the Lord 
has made known to us.” 
And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, 
and the Babe lying in a manger. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Second Day of Christmas


Angels Announcing Christ's Birth to the Shepherds  Govert Flinck


Angels Announcing the Birth of our Savior
Benjamin West
Luke 2:8-1
Now there were in the same country 
shepherds living out in the fields, 
keeping watch over their flock by night. 
And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were greatly afraid. 
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, 
Nativity Scene  Anton Raphael Mengs
for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  
For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, 
who is Christ the Lord. 
And this will be the sign to you: 
You will find a Babe 
wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 
And suddenly there was with the angel 
a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 
“ Glory to God in the highest, 
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The First Day of Christmas

The Number ing at Bethlehem   Pieter Bruegel the Elder 


St. Joseph Seeks Lodging  James Tissot
Luke 2 1-6 
And it came to pass in those days 
that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus 
that all the world should be registered. 
This census first took place 
while Quirinius was governing Syria. 
So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth,
 into Judea, to the city of David, 
which is called Bethlehem, 
Nativity  Lorenzo Lotto
because he was of the house 
and lineage of David, 
to be registered with Mary, 
his betrothed wife, who was with child. 
So it was, that while they were there, 
the days were completed for her to be delivered. 
And she brought forth her firstborn Son, 
and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, 
and laid Him in a manger, 
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Posting Hiatus

I am taking a brief respite from posting daily.  I have something special planned beginning on Christmas Day, so be sure to check back beginning then.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rehearsal   Edgar Degas
M. Degas Teaches Art and Science 
at Durfee Elementary School, Detroit-1942
by Philip Levine 

He made a line on the blackboard,
one bold stroke from right to left
diagonally downward and stood back
to ask, looking as always at no one
in particular, "What have I done?"
From the back of the room Freddie
shouted, "You've broken a piece
of chalk." M. Degas did not smile.
"What have I done?" he repeated.
The most intellectual students
looked down to study their desks
except for Gertrude Bimmler, who raised
her hand before she spoke. "M. Degas,
you have created the hypotenuse
of an isosceles triangle." Degas mused. 
Everyone knew that Gertrude could not
be incorrect. "It is possible,"
Louis Warshowsky added precisely,
"that you have begun to represent
the roof of a barn." I remember
that it was exactly twenty minutes
past eleven, and I thought at worst
this would go on another forty
minutes. It was early April,
the snow had all but melted on
the playgrounds, the elms and maples
bordering the cracked walks shivered
in the new winds, and I believed
that before I knew it I'd be
swaggering to the candy store
for a Milky Way. M. Degas
pursed his lips, and the room
stilled until the long hand
of the clock moved to twenty one
as though in complicity with Gertrude,
who added confidently, "You've begun
to separate the dark from the dark."
I looked back for help, but now
the trees bucked and quaked, and I
knew this could go on forever.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Maker of Heaven and Earth

The Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo Buonarrati
All Things Bright and Beautiful
by Cecil F. Alexander
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
He made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
To gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Martial Attitude

Napoleon Crossing the Alps  Jacques-Louis David
from Waverly 
by Sir Walter Scott
His heart was all on honour bent,
He could not stoop to love;
No lady in the land had power 
His frozen heart to move.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Earthly Kingdoms

Las Meninas The Family of Philip IV  Diego Velazquez
The Kingdom 
                  by Rudyard Kipling
Now we are come to our Kingdom,
And the State is thus and thus;
Our legions wait at the Palace gate--
Little it profits us.
Now we are come to our Kingdom!

Now we are come to our Kingdom,
And the Crown is ours to take--
With shame and fear for our daily cheer,
And heaviness at night.
Now we are come for our Kingdom!

Now we are come for our Kingdom,
And the Realm is ours by right,
With shame and fear for our daily cheer,
And heaviness at night.
Now we are come to our Kingdom!

Now we are come to our Kingdom,
But my love's eyelids fall.
All that I wrought for, all that I fought for,
Delight her nothing at all.
My crown is of withered leaves,
For she sits in the dust and grieves.
Now we are come for our Kingdom!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Traumgarten  Henri Rousseau
The Young Lady of Niger
by William Cosmo Monkhouse

There was a young lady of Niger
Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
They returned from the ride
With the lady inside,
And the smile on the face of the tiger.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Sea's Appeal


Boats at Anchor on the Lagoons, Venice   John Singer Sargent

A Windy Day
by Winifred Howard


Have you been at sea on a windy day
When the water’s blue
And the sky is too,
And showers of spray
Come sweeping the decks
And the sea is dotted
With little flecks
Of foam, like daisies gay;

When there’s salt on your lips,
In your eyes and hair,
And you watch other ships
Go riding there?
Sailors are happy,
And birds fly low
To see how close they can safely go
To the waves as they heave and roll.

Then wheeling, they soar
Mounting up to the sky,
Where billowy clouds
Go floating by!
Oh, there’s fun for you
And there’s fun for me
At sea
On a windy day!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Earthsleep

Winter Magpie  Claude Monet

from Lines: The Cold Earth Slept Below

By Percy Byssche Shelley

The cold earth slept below;
Above the cold sky shone;
And all around,
With a chilling sound,
From caves of ice and fields of snow
The breath of night like death did flow
Beneath the sinking moon.

The wintry hedge was black;
The green grass was not seen;
The birds did rest
On the bare thorn’s breast,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Had bound their folds o’er many a crack
Which the frost had made between.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mood Change


from Winter Album  Imao Keinen  

Dust of Snow
By Robert Frost


The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Folly



Love in an Italian Theater  Jean Antoine Watteau

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind 

by William Shakespeare 
from As You Like It

Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As a friend remembered not.

Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter's Song

Village at Winter at Midnight  Jacob van Ruisdael
"Be Off!"
 by Victor Hugo

"Be off!" say Winter's snows;
"Now it's my turn to sing!"
So, startled, quivering,
Not daring to oppose

(Our fortitude grows dim in
The face of a Quos ego),
Away, my songs, must we go
Before those virile women!

Rain. We are forced to fly,
Everywhere, utterly.
End of the comedy.
Come, swallows, it's good-bye.

Wind, sleet. The branches sway,
Writhing their stunted limbs,
And off the white smoke swims
Across the heavens' gray.

A pallid yellow lingers
Over the chilly dale.
My keyhole blows a gale
Onto my frozen fingers.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter's Pull

A Snowy Landscape  Cuno Amiet
Spellbound
by Emily Brontë
The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing dear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wintertime Noises



An Old Man's Winter Night 
by Robert Frost

All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.
What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him -- at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off; -- and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.
A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.
He consigned to the moon, such as she was,
So late-arising, to the broken moon
As better than the sun in any case
For such a charge, his snow upon the roof,
His icicles along the wall to keep;
And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt
Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted,
And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept.
One aged man -- one man -- can't keep a house,
A farm, a countryside, or if he can,
It's thus he does it of a winter night.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Wee Bit o' Scotland in the Winter

A Flock of Sheep in a Snowstorm  Joseph Farquharson

A Winter Night

by Robert Burns
When biting Boreas, fell and doure,
Sharp shivers thro' the leafless bow'r;
When Phoebus gies a short-liv'd glow'r,
Far south the lift,
Dim-dark'ning thro' the flaky show'r,
Or whirling drift:

Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi' snawy wreeths upchoked,
Wild-eddying swirl,
Or thro' the mining outlet bocked,
Down headlong hurl.

List'ning, the doors an' winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
O' winter war,
And thro' the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle,
Beneath a scar.

Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing!
That, in the merry months o' spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o' thee?
Whare wilt thou cow'r thy chittering wing
An' close thy e'e?

Ev'n you on murd'ring errands toil'd,
Lone from your savage homes exil'd,
The blood-stain'd roost, and sheep-cote spoil'd
My heart forgets,
While pityless the tempest wild
Sore on you beats.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Nights

Two Venitian Ladies  Vittore Carpaccio
Now Winter Nights Enlarge
by Thomas Campion

Now winter nights enlarge 
This number of their hours; 
And clouds their storms discharge 
Upon the airy towers.
Let now the chimneys blaze 
And cups o'erflow with wine, 
Let well-tuned words amaze 
With harmony divine... 

This time doth well dispense 
With lovers' long discourse; 
Much speech hath some defense, 
Though beauty no remorse. 
All do not all things well:
Some measures comely tread, 
Some knotted riddles tell, 
Some poems smoothly read. 
The summer hath his joys, 
And winter his delights; 
Though love and all his pleasures are but toys 
 They shorten tedious nights.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sleigh Ride

Central Park Winter Skating Pond    Currier and Ives
The First Sleigh-Ride
by Evaleen Stein
O happy time of fleecy rime 
And falling flakes, and O 
The glad surprise in baby eyes 
That never saw the snow!

Down shining ways the flying sleighs 
Go jingling by, and see! 
Beside the gate the horses wait 
And neigh for you and me!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snowdrift   Frederick Judd Waugh
Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winter in the City

Snow in New York   Robert Henri
Winter
                             by Dorothy Aldis
The street cars are
Like frosted cakes --
All covered up
With cold snowflakes.

The horses' hoofs
Scrunch on the street;
Their eyelashes
Are white with sleet.

And everywhere
The people go --
With faces tickled
By the snow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Through the Eyes of Love

A Lady and Two Gentlemen  Johannes Vermeer
Sonnet 100
                  by William Shakespeare
Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget'st so long
To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?
Spend'st thou thy fury on some worthless song,
Darkening thy power to lend base subjects light?
Return, forgetful Muse, and straight redeem
In gentle numbers time so idly spent;
Sing to the ear that doth thy lays esteem
And gives thy pen both skill and argument.
Rise, resty Muse, my love's sweet face survey,
If Time have any wrinkle graven there;
If any, be a satire to decay,
And make Time's spoils despised every where.
Give my love fame faster than Time wastes life;
So thou prevent'st his scythe and crooked knife.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Freedom from Want  Norman Rockwell
Giving Thanks
by an Unknown Poet
For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,
For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,
For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,
For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home--
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,
For the cunning and strength of the workingman's hand,
For the good that our artists and poets have taught,
For the friendship that hope and affection have brought--
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the homes that with purest affection are blest,
For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,
For our country extending from sea unto sea;
The land that is known as the "Land of the Free" --
Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!
~anonymous

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve

Old Woman in Prayer  Nicolaes Maes

Thanksgiving Exhortations  
from Deuteronomy 8:7-18
For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land,
a land of brooks of water, 
of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 
a land of wheat and barley,
of vines and fig trees and pomegranates,
a land of olive oil and honey;  
a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity,
in which you will lack nothing; 
a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.
When you have eaten and are full, 
then you shall bless the LORD your God 
for the good land which He has given you. 

“Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God 
by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes
 which I command you today, 
lest—when you have eaten and are full,
and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 
and when your herds and your flocks multiply, 
and your silver and your gold are multiplied, 
and all that you have is multiplied; 
when your heart is lifted up, 
and you forget the LORD your God
who brought you out of the land of Egypt, 
from the house of bondage; 
who led you through that great and terrible wilderness,
in which were fiery serpents and scorpions
and thirsty land where there was no water; 
who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 
who fed you in the wilderness with manna, 
which your fathers did not know, 
that He might humble you and that He might test you, 
to do you good in the end— 
then you say in your heart, 
‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’  
 “And you shall remember the LORD your God, 
for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, 
that He may establish His covenant
which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snowstorm

The Snowstorm  Francisco DeGoya
It sifts from Leaden Sieves
by Emily Dickinson
It sifts from Leaden Sieves —
It powders all the Wood.
It fills with Alabaster Wool
The Wrinkles of the Road —

It makes an Even Face
Of Mountain, and of Plain —
Unbroken Forehead from the East
Unto the East again —

It reaches to the Fence —
It wraps it Rail by Rail
Till it is lost in Fleeces —
It deals Celestial Vail

To Stump, and Stack - and Stem —
A Summer’s empty Room —
Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,
Recordless, but for them —

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts
As Ankles of a Queen —
Then stills its Artisans — like Ghosts —
Denying they have been —