Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Day for Spooks

The Scream  Edvard Munch
It's Halloween
by Harry Behn
Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen.

Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green.

Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves everywhere,
When ghouls and ghost and goblin host
Dance round their queen.
It's Halloween.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reflections on Reflections

Swans Reflecting Elephants   Salvador Dali
Mirror, Mirror 
by Spike Milligan
A young spring-tender girl
combed her joyous hair
'You are very ugly' said the mirror.
on her lips hung
a smile of dove-secret loveliness,
for only that morning had not
the blind boy said,
'You are beautiful'? 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Love to Read

Rembrandt's Mother as the Biblical Prophetess Hannah  Rembrandt van Rijn
There is no Frigate like a Book
                                          by Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blowsy Weather

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee  Rembrandt van Rijn
A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea 
                             by Allan Cunningham
A wet sheet and a flowing sea,
A wind that follows fast
And fills the white and rustling sail
And bends the gallant mast;
And bends the gallant mast, my boys,
While like the eagle free
Away the good ship flies, and leaves
Old England on the lee.

"O for a soft and gentle wind!"
I heard a fair one cry:
But give to me the snoring breeze
And white waves heaving high;
And white waves heaving high, my lads,
The good ship tight and free—
The world of waters is our home,
And merry men are we.

There's tempest in yon hornèd moon,
And lightning in yon cloud:
But hark the music, mariners!
The wind is piping loud;
The wind is piping loud, my boys,
The lightning flashes free—
While the hollow oak our palace is,
Our heritage the sea.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


The Newborn Lamb  William Bouguereau
The Lamb: Songs of Innocence
           by William Blake
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Take it to the Lord in Prayer

Praying Hands  Albrecht Durer
The Captain's Daughter
                                  by James T. Fields

We were crowded in the cabin,
Not a soul would dare to sleep,
It was midnight on the waters,
And a storm was on the deep.

"Tis a fearful thing in winter
To be shattered by the blast,
And to hear the rattling trumpet
Thunder, "Cut away the mast!"

So we shuddered there in silence,
For the stoutest held his breath,
While the hungry sea was roaring
And the breakers talked with Death.

As thus we sat in darkness,
Each one busy with his prayers,
"We are lost!" the captain shouted
As he staggered down the stairs.

But his little daughter whispered,
As she took his icy hand,
"Isn't God, upon the ocean,
Just the same as on the land?"

Then we kissed the little maiden.
And we spoke in better cheer,
And we anchored safe in harbour
When the morn was shining clear.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Scratching for Supper

Hen and Chicks  William Baptiste Baird
Five Hungry Chicks
                                 Old English Verse
Said the first little chicken,
With a strange little squirm,
"I wish I could find
A fat little worm."

Said the second little chicken,
With an odd little shrug,
"I wish I could find
A fat little bug."

Said the third little chicken,
With a sharp little squeal,
"I wish I could find
Some nice yellow meal."

Said the fourth little chicken,
With a sigh of grief,
"I wish I could find
A little green leaf."

Said the fifth little chicken,
With a faint little moan,
"I wish I could find
A wee gravel stone."

"Now see here," said the mother,
From the green garden patch,
"If you want any breakfast,
Just come here and SCRATCH!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Squeaky Clean

The Bath  Mary Cassatt
Bath Song
             by JRR Tolkein
Sing hey! For the bath at close of day
that washes the weary mud away
A loon is he that will not sing
O! Water Hot is a noble thing!

O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain,
and the brook that leaps from hill to plain;
but better then rain or rippling streams
is Water Hot that smokes and steams.

O! Water cold we may pour at need
down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed
but better is beer if drink we lack,
and Water Hot poured down the back.

O! Water is fair that leaps on high
in a fountain white beneath the sky;
but never did fountain sound so sweet
as splashing Hot Water with my feet!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Road Trip

Gas 1940  Edward Hopper
Song for a Blue Roadster
                     by Rachel Filed
Fly, Roadster, fly!
The sun is high,
Gold are the fields
We hurry by,
Green are the woods
As we slide through
Past harbor and headland,
Blue on blue.

Fly, Roadster, fly!
The hay smells sweet,
And the flowers are fringing
Each village street,
Where carts are blue
And barns are red,
And the road unwinds
Like a twist of thread.

Fly, Roadster, fly!
Leave Time behind;
Out of sight
Shall be out of mind.
Shine and shadow
Blue sea, green bough,
Nothing is real
But Here and Now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Abundant Fruit

Autumn: The Grapes from the Promised Land  Nicolas Poussin
from the Farmer's Almanac, 1818
Autumn arrives, array'd in splendid mein;
Vines, cluster'd full, add to the beauteous scene,
And fruit-trees cloth'd profusely laden, nod,
Complaint bowing to the fertile sod.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Children's Games Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Nurses Song: Songs of Innocence
                                by William Blake
When the voices of children are heard on the green,
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
And everything else is still.

‘Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
And the dews of night arise;
Come, come leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies.’

‘No, no, let us play, for it is yet day,
And we cannot go to sleep;
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly,
And the hills are all cover'd with sheep.’

‘Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
And then go home to bed.’
The little ones leaped, and shouted, and laughed
And all the hills echoèd.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Natural Contradictions

Peacock, Hen and Cock Pheasant in a Landscape  Tobias Strandover

The Peacock
                 by Christina Rossetti
The peacock has a score of eyes,
With which he cannot see;
The cod-fish has a silent sound,
However that may be;
No dandelions tell the time,
Although they turn to clocks;
Cat's-cradle does not hold the cat,
Nor foxglove fit the fox.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Saucy Fellow

A Young Hare  Albrecht Durer
The Rabbit
                      by Edith King

Brown bunny sits inside his burrow
Till everything is still,
Then out he slips along the furrow,
Or up the grassy hill.

He nibbles all about the bushes
Or sits to wash his face,
But at a sound he stamps, and rushes
At a surprising pace.

You see some little streaks and flashes,
A last sharp twink of white,
As down his hidy-hole he dashes
And disappears from sight.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

The Harvesters   Pieter Bruegel the Elder
The Reapers in Autumn
                       by James Thomson

Soon as the morning trembles o'er the sky,
And unperceived, unfolds the spreading day;
Before the ripen'd field the reapers stand,
In fair array.

At once they stoop and swell the lusty sheaves;
While through their cheerful band the rural talk,
The rural scandal, and the rural jest,
Fly harmless, to deceive the tedious time,
And steal unfelt the sultry hours away.
Behind, the master walks, builds up the shocks:
And, conscious, glancing oft on every side
His sated eye, feels his heart heave with joy.
The gleaners spread around, and here and there,
Spike after spike, their scanty harvest pick.
Be not too narrow, husbandman! but fling
From the full sheaf, with charitable stealth,
The liberal handful. Think, oh think!
How good the God of harvest is to you,
Who pours abundance o'er your flowing fields;
While these unhappy partners of your kind
Wide hover round you, like the fowls of heaven,
And ask their humble dole. The various turns
Of fortune ponder; that your sons may want
What now, with hard reluctance, faint, ye give.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A is for Apple

Still Life with Apples and Oranges  Paul Cezanne
After Apple Picking
                     by Robert Frost
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An Autumn Trinket or Two

Autumn Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Nature XXVII, Autumn
                      by Emily Dickinson
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Romp After the Harvest is In

Dance of the Majos at  the Banks of Manzanar  Francisco DeGoya
                      Old English Song

Come, Roger and Nell,
Come, Simpkin and Bell,
Each lad with his lass hither come;
With singing and dancing,
And pleasure advancing,
To celebrate harvest-home!

Our labour is o'er,
Our barns, in full store,
Now swell with rich gifts of the land;
Let each man then take,
For the prong and the rake,
His can and his lass in his hand.

No courtier can be
So happy as we,
In innocence, pastime, and mirth;
While thus we carouse,
With our sweetheart or spouse,
And rejoice o'er the fruits of the earth.

'Tis Ceres bids play,
And keep holiday,
To celebrate harvest-home!
Harvest-home! Harvest-home!
To celebrate harvest-home!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Some Leaves Miss the Fire

Autumn Leaves Georgia O'Keefe
          by Elsie N. Brady

How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What To Do With All Those Leaves?

Autumn Landscape 1885 Vincent Van Gogh
Autumn Fires
                by Robert Lewis Stevenson

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!